This saying is also found in Mt 25, Mk 4 and Lu 8 and 19, and to better understand what Jesus means by it we need to study each of the contexts in which He said it (CP Mt 13:10-16; Mk 4:21-25; Lu 8:16-18). The core teaching in those passages is that God will reward or condemn everyone according to how they respond to His word; some will receive more light; others - Christians included - will lose even what little light they have. In fact, the saying has a double application for Christians - present and future - which is highlighted in both Mt 25 and Lu 19 (CP Mt 25:14-30). This is called the parable of the talents. In this context Jesus teaches that what Christians receive in the future eternal kingdom will be in proportion to their dedication and consecration to the service of God in the present earthly aspect of the kingdom. The basic teaching of the parable of the talents is that God has given every believer spiritual gifts and graces according to each believer's ability, and that these gifts and graces must be put to use in God's service (CP Ro 12:3-8; 1Cor 12 :1 -31; 2Cor 5:17-19; Eph 4:7-16; 1Pe 4:7-11). God means us to use these gifts and graces for the extension of His kingdom. They are not given to us for our profit, but for His. The believer who does not use his gift or grace for God's glory is the same as the servant in the parable who hid his talent in the ground (CP Lu 19:11 -27). This is called the parable of the pounds, and while it differs from the parable of the talents in many respects, its core teaching is the same: worthy Christians will be rewarded while unworthy Christians will be punished. Many Bible commentators downplay the punishment the slothful servants in these parables received. They teach that symbolically it compares only to loss of rewards in heaven, but that is not correct. The slothful servants were not punished simply because they failed to return a profit to their masters, but because underlying their failure to return a profit was their prior intention not to even invest their masters' money (CP Mt 25:24-25; Lu 19:20-21). They wilfully disobeyed their masters' commands, and disobedience does not merely merit loss of rewards in heaven, but condemnation to hell (CP Mt 7:21-27; Ro 2:13; Jas 1:22-25; 2:14-26 also Jn 14:15 with 1Jn 2:35). The slothful servants had no intention of putting their masters' money to work and then justified themselves for not doing so by finding fault with their masters. Their own words condemned them (CP Lu 19:22).
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