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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Unprofitable servant

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Joined: 2007/5/22
Posts: 326

 Unprofitable servant

14For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

22He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

23His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24Then 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:

25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26His 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:

27Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29For 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.

30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25 14-30

Does anybody agree that the unprofitable servant was under Law rather than Grace? The Gospel of Matthew is written to the Jew (in the sense that it exalts Christ as King) so this would make sense would it not?

I know this is a difficult passage, but would appreciate any help. Thanks.


 2007/10/30 5:15Profile

 Re: Unprofitable servant

Hi davym,

I have a few thoughts to put into the mix here.

The Gospel of Matthew is written to the Jew

I've heard this and wonder how it is any more to the Jew than say, John's or Mark's? Because the last time I read it, I was struck by how Matthew seems to be drawing on Isaiah's prophecies of how the gentiles are going to be included in the outworking of God's promises to Israel. In that sense, he seemed to be saying to them.... [i]you've missed the boat now! Look at how Jesus came and ministered to you, and you [b]rejected Him![/b][/i]

In that sense, the unprofitable servant is at least an Israelite who is risk-averse. ;-)

This Israelite also seems to lack both understanding and trust towards the Person who gave the instruction.

Does anybody agree that the unprofitable servant was under Law rather than Grace?

Do you mean by this question, that if he had been under 'Grace', the Master would have forgiven him, but the condemnation he receives in the story is because 'Grace' had not yet come... In other words, had a servant behaved like this nowadays, he would have received different treatment from his Master [i]because[/i] forgiveness is now available?

Two further questions arise in my mind if this is so:

wouldn't he have had to understand the concept of service, to have been entrusted with the talent in the first place,


wouldn't he have to be repentant to be forgiven?

I am always struck with how he is paralysed with fear - and yet the other two servants don't seem to be under that cloud. They relish the opportunity to be obedient to the task-in-hand.

It is as if the last servant didn't trust himself, and even when his Master recognised his abilities, he didn't take that as a vote of confidence, but chose rather to believe his own puny version of 'truth'.

 2007/10/30 7:31

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7534

 Re: Unprofitable servant

The context in which this parable was shared is when Jesus just got done telling his disciples to "watch, therefore for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh." (v.13). Then he proceeds to give the story. In the parable the key point is to "Watch, and be busy in the LORD's work."

As I understand it, this is for us today. I understand grace to be enabling power given to us by the Holy Spirit to his children to accomplish his will in and through us. Without it we are totally helpless to be holy, to fight evil or anything he desires of us because the devil is out as a roaring lion seeking to destroy us.

My understanding....hope it helps.


Sandra Miller

 2007/10/31 15:34Profile

Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 1230


davym, I agree with dorcas,but i cant figure out her icon. It looks like a black bear hugging a white teddy bear.


 2007/10/31 18:19Profile

Joined: 2006/12/31
Posts: 44
Loveland, Co. USA

 Re: Unprofitable servant

Any soul which is cast into hell is under the Law...

Charles H Holston

 2007/10/31 22:58Profile

Joined: 2007/5/22
Posts: 326


Thanks for help guys. This parable has puzzled me for years as it seems to contradict the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Romans. However, when Paul's doctrine is balanced with that found in James ('faith without works is dead') I think we get closer to the truth. He was the lord's servant however which makes it reasonable to think he was saved, and then we have verse 30........???

but if he was under the Law......

Dorcas, I liked your analysis. Thanks for that.

I don't know, it's a heavy matter and I trust in time the Lord will explain it to me. I think ultimately it's a call not to waste our own talents in this age. Revival is possible, because we all collectively have the talents needed!

As for dorcas' icon David, I think it's a picture of the crucifixion, but I could be wrong.

God bless.


 2007/11/1 5:12Profile

 Re: Unprofitable servant

davym said

As for dorcas' icon David, I think it's a picture of the crucifixion, but I could be wrong.

That's right, but because it is so small, I can see how David perceived it (though I'd never noticed that before).

Dorcas, I liked your analysis. Thanks for that.

Thanks for saying so. As I was writing it, I knew what I was trying to say but when I re-read it a couple of days later, and in the light of ginnyrose's post, I felt there was more to come.

Now that your point about law and grace has been discussed slightly, I feel I'm very much clearer. I'll explain.

but if he was under the Law......

I would like to challenge this way of thinking - at all - although I realise it is relevant to us, today, understanding the true gospel.

You see, the law was abolished in Christ Jesus, and it was only ever relevant to Jews, not gentiles.

There have been many errors of interpretation of 'their own olive tree' (Rom 11), which have, in varying degrees, been ministered to believers over many centuries. At the same time as this, there has been counter-balancing by other errors which have rejected the Jews altogether, saying that no Jew need even consider turning to Christ, since they rejected Him [i][b]before[/i][/b] His death.

I believe the longevity of some errors persisted because the Roman church prevented the people from having the word of God. And to compound their own fate more conclusively, when they did finally give up the unequal struggle begun by men like Luther, Calvin and Tyndale (and many, many unnamed others who have died for the faith), they presented an altered version of the word, so now it does not communicate God's truth in the fulness which protestants have available.

Going back to 'the Law', I see this as a longstanding heresy towards gentiles, since technically, it has never applied for two reasons.

First, the Law (of Moses) was given to the Hebrews\Israelites as they came out of Egypt (with many non-Hebrews who chose to stay with Hebrew relatives), after God had threatened to leave them all altogether, and was persuaded to stay although He would no longer be visible to them. Thus we have had the ten commandments adopted for civil society, totally bereft of the priesthood, the sacrifices, and the relationship which God which Jews always enjoyed. But, it has [i][b]never[/i][/b] [u]saved[/u] us or them.

Secondly, 'the Law' was brought to an end in Christ Jesus, and instead of keeping it (by faith) in all its fulness, we are called upon to believe in Him. This step requires that we abandon sin (through repentance), counting [u]ourselves[/u] worthy of death for our misdemeanours towards God, and receiving [u]His death[/u] in our place, become (in Him) righteousness through faith, according to God's grace towards man.

So, when Jesus told the story, the Law was in operation .... sort of .... (because the Romans would not allow stoning to death, for instance... which is one of the reasons the religious elite had to do such fancy footwork to manoeuvre Jesus into a position where the Romans were willing to crucify Him) but, when He died, it died.

Thus, I think I was onto something in my earlier post, when I wrote this:

and even when his Master recognised his abilities, he didn't take that as a vote of confidence, but chose rather to believe his own puny version of 'truth'.

I now realise that when the Master (Jesus) gave the third man one talent with an identical instruction to that he gave the man with five, that [u]the instruction[/u] was [b]the creative word[/b], to which if the servant had responded correctly, [u]he would have believed it possible he could multiply his talent[/u].

Thus, this parable is about the operation of [u]faith[/u].

davym said
He was the lord's servant however which makes it reasonable to think he was saved,

This statement shows just how important it is to see things from God's perspective.... When Jesus said 'called his own servants', we have to see that a servant enjoyed certain benefits. For a start, he was counted as part of his Master's household and as such had benefits and an intimacy with him not available to others. Also, he was trusted and would have been party to knowledge deemed private and personal. These qualified him to be given greater responsibility. But, he had brought a wrong attitude into the equation which meant, realisitically, that he [i][b]would not[/b][/i] grow, rather than he [i]could not[/i] grow.

And, even though he knew he might be in trouble (now) if he persisted in that attitude, he [u]consciously chose to retain his unbelief[/u], even though knowing there would be serious consequences.

I'm seeing therefore, that God will bring all of us who will go with Him, to a place where we must excercise faith towards an unknown outcome, or unbelief will condemn us beyond savability.

It is not the outcome of the exercise of faith which is at issue, but the exercise of faith itself, which shows Him whether we believe, or not... whether we trust [u]Him[/u] or not. If we believe Him, then He can use us to accomplish His will on earth. We become sons of the Father.


I wrote that last sentence and then realised... a son is not a servant, because a son abides forever, and, goes free.

Grace is available, but only through faith.

(Not works; (law-keeping).)

 2007/11/1 8:41

Joined: 2003/10/30
Posts: 1554

 Re: Unprofitable servant

Brother davym, hear this sermon by D.Wilkerson, it will give you new perspective over this passage of the Scrpitures.

[url=]Feeding Christ[/url]

 2007/11/1 8:58Profile

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