Thursday, March 9, 2023

Does Matthew 25:24-30 Apply To The Saved Or Unsaved?

Matthew 25:24-30, “Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

I admit that this is an obscure passage of Scripture to interpret. From one perspective it seems to apply to the unsaved, since the unfaithful servant in Verse 30 is cast into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Yet, other servants in previous verses are rewarded, which can only apply to Christian saints. Confused? So are many Bible students.

I have a classic Verse-By-Verse Commentary by Evangelist John R. Rice (1895-1980) of the book of Matthew, which offers these helpful words:
The Parable Of The Talents
This passage should properly be considered along with Luke 19:11-27, where Jesus gives a similar parable. That parable was spoken first on the road approaching Jerusalem (Luke 19:28), a few days before. This parable of the talents is spoken later in Jerusalem. In the Luke parable, we find pounds mentioned instead of talents. Ten pounds were given to ten servants, one each. There, however, only three are mentioned in particular: two are promised a good reward, with commendation, as here, and one unfaithful servant is condemned.

SOURCE: “Matthew: The King Of The Jews” (Verse-By-Verse Commentary), by Evangelist John R. Rice, p. 409; Sword Of The Lord, copyright 1955
And then Dr. Rice says this on page 413:
Both Saved And Lost Warned About Accountability To God
It is noticeable here in this particular case Jesus does not make a distinction between salvation and rewards. We know that salvation is wholly of grace, “Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:9), and “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). But that is not the special truth that Jesus is teaching here. He is teaching accountability to God. However, it is obvious that the men who received the five talents and the two talents, and by loving industry doubled them, represent saved men who work for Christ. The fact that they appropriated the gifts of God, claimed Him as Lord willingly, tried to do His will, brought their fruits back to Him with rejoicing, indicates that they represent saved people. On the other hand, the man who had one talent “went and digged in the earth, and hid his Lord's money” (vs. 18). Verse 24 shows that the one-talent man in this case had no love for his master, no confidence in him, no surrender to his will. This is not a picture of a saved man.
SOURCE: “Matthew: The King Of The Jews” (Verse-By-Verse Commentary), by Evangelist John R. Rice, p. 413; Sword Of The Lord, copyright 1955
I fully agree with Dr. Rice that Jesus is not speaking about salvation in this passage, He is speaking about accountability for the saved and the lost.
The Wicked And Slothful Servant
Consider the judgment of the unfaithful servant. His charges against the master in verses 24 and 25 show his wicked heart. This represents the attitude of unsaved people toward Christ. Hating Him, they accuse Him. Satan always teaches man that God is unjust, that God requires more than is right, that it does not pay to serve the Lord.
SOURCE: “Matthew: The King Of The Jews” (Verse-By-Verse Commentary), by Evangelist John R. Rice, p. 415; Sword Of The Lord, copyright 1955
So we see that this passage from Matthew 25:24-30 applies to both the lost and the saved, depending on whom the shoe fits. The purpose of this parable is accountability. Even the unsaved person has been entrusted with the gift of life. God gives every man a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). You can put that faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, or you can put that faith in man's religion or yourself. Even the unsaved person will be held accountable by God, their Creator, for all that has been entrusted to them. This is what Jesus is teaching in Matthew 25:24-30. All humanity will be held accountable to God.

Every unsaved person must give account to God in eternity (Revelation 20:11-15), just as the saved do (2nd Corinthians 5:9-11). We are all a part of God's creation and we are His creatures. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Pastor Curtis Hutson (1934-1995) and Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980)

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