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Luke 17:5  (King James Version)
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<< Luke 17:4   Luke 17:6 >>


Luke 17:5

The apostles wanted more faith so they could meet the challenges of God's demands, but Jesus knew that it was not quantity they needed but quality. They did not need an increase of faith that would bring some reward following its use, but a faith that, although small like a mustard seed, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). The disciple with this type of living faith is convinced of the fact that God exists (Romans 4:16-22; Hebrews 11:1-3), conscious of his intimate relationship with God (Romans 5:1-2), and concerned about absolute submission to His will (Romans 12:2).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Unprofitable Servants



Luke 17:5-10

Verse 10 contains the key to increased faith: the word "say." The principle boils down to working with a specific attitude. Christ tells us to do everything possible to be as profitable as this servant (verses 7-8), without expecting any recognition for it (verse 9). Then we can present the sincere, humble attitude: "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do."

Humanly, the servant could have taken the attitude, "You owe me! Didn't I go 'above and beyond'?" No! "Above and beyond" is not applicable to our relationship with God. We could never do enough to put God in our debt.

I Corinthians 4:7 asks, "What do you have that you did not receive?" We have no room to boast that we have done anything without God's oversight (Daniel 4:28-35). I Corinthians 6:20 tells us we owe God everything, as He has redeemed us by the most precious blood of His own Son. Paul commands us not to grow weary but do good to all (Galatians 6:9-10). James echoes him: "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). God has backed us into a corner. Where do we have any room for "above and beyond"?

In both the planning and action stages of works of goodness or faith, we decide how much to give, how far to go. But in hindsight, what good thing have we ever done that qualifies for "above and beyond" our duty to God? Whatever it was, the Scriptures plainly show we were commanded to do it! It was our duty because we found it in our power to do it (Proverbs 3:27). We cannot take the attitude that, "We did these good things, so that makes us profitable to God." If we do, we have no basis for faith. Our faith would be in ourselves, not in God.

Staff
Beware of Faith Blockers!



Luke 17:1-10

When God calls us, we may take our newly found power of faith for granted and may be increasingly susceptible to becoming angry at offenses and persecution. Aware of this, Jesus sought to caution His apostles against such pitfalls. In Luke 17:1-6, Jesus sets up the Parable of the Unprofitable Servants with introductory instruction. He warns His disciples of the inevitable attacks on His teaching and on those who proclaim it, pointing out the guilt of those responsible (verses 1-2). Then He admonishes them to value a loving and forgiving attitude and to be ready to pardon when an offender repents. Knowing this is difficult and seeing this weakness in themselves, the apostles feel the need for an increase of faith, an additional amount of spiritual help to aid them in complying with Jesus' requirements.

The lesson in verses 1-6 unites with the parable in verses 7-10, which emphasizes the obligation of each disciple to serve the Master without expectation of release or reward. His followers must give complete obedience to Him no matter what trials come upon them and like Him, they must conquer their own human nature by suffering. Jesus emphasizes the kind of faith His disciples would need to endure coming trials and to obey His commands (I Timothy 1:5). This parable is designed to guard against the subtle danger in the servant who becomes satisfied with his work and expects that the Master will recognize his service with reward. Jesus impresses on His disciples the difficult and continuous service He requires of them and the attitude in which their service should be given.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Unprofitable Servants




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Luke 17:5:

Leviticus 5:15-16
Matthew 17:17-21
Luke 17:1-10
Romans 10:17

 

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