Some of Yours - by Greg Steggerda

I once served with a particularly profane officer, both in his language and lifestyle, who frequently said, “I know, you think I’m going to hell but my grandma prays hard for me so I think I’m OK.” It’s one of the more profoundly ignorant theological statements I’ve heard in my life, the idea that your sins can be accounted for by another earthly person.
I thought of this man again for the first time in many years because this morning I was reading the parable of the foolish virgins in Matthew 25. A group of young women were waiting for the bridegroom to start the party, and they fell asleep. The nub of the story comes in verses 6-13: 
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

The foolish women immediately expected their better-prepared peers to cover their own lapse of judgment. Maybe they were preconditioned because their parents and friends had always covered for them. Maybe they were used to being bailed out. It was their first reaction to their problem: let me piggyback on your work!
That was the second foolish thing they did (the first being not having oil in the first place) but it’s often overlooked. Besides, it’s an unimportant point because we don’t think that way, right? We’d never think because Mom and Dad had us baptized that we can behave any way we want. We don’t think that the righteousness of the church we give funds to covers us, or the purity of our religious pedigree. And we’d never look past someone’s obvious sins because some evangelical leader or other vouched for them.
At the end of the night in question, though, the foolish virgins had to get by on only their own actions. They couldn’t lean on anyone else, and found themselves on the outside looking in.
I think that may be part of Jesus’ warning here just as much as the message on preparedness. At the end of it all, we’ll stand alone with only our own words and actions to get us by. Unless, that is, we’ve met Jesus, put our hope in him, and lived accordingly. We can’t lean on any other man or woman, but we can lean on the God who became human on our behalf.
When Jesus redeems us, even the most foolish acts of our lives are covered. But nobody else’s devotion to Jesus can save us.