Summary: A look at how knowing more about God without accepting Him worsens your Judgment Day.
AN INITIAL CONFUSION: What do the “many blows” mean for a Christian? Answer: This is for non-believers.
- For me, one of the first places that my mind drifted in thinking about this passage was the idea of purgatory. After all, where else do you get the idea of a believer being beaten with “blows”?
- This passage is not about that, though, because closer study makes it clear that this final portion concerns people who are not believers. Yes, there may have been some outward indication of being a believer, but the words of the master make it clear that is not ultimately true.
- The reference is verse 46 is clearly a reference to hell, so we are dealing with non-believers.
- Yes, he is referred to as a “servant,” but I think that must be taken as someone who outwardly appeared to be a servant but did not actually fulfill the duties of a servant. This points us toward Jesus’ frequent rebuke of the Jewish religious leaders, who had all the outward signs of religious knowledge and authority, but were regularly and vehemently castigated by Jesus.
OVERLOOKED JUDGMENT FACTOR: It’s not just how much sin; it’s also how much you knew of the truth.
- Look up some of the extra passages and unpack them.
- When we think of Final Judgment for non-believers, we tend to that those who have sinned the worst are going to get the worst of it: people like Hitler or people who have done heinous crimes without an ounce of sorrow. And, certainly, those actions are worthy of great punishment.
- This passage reminds us of an additional factor: how much of the truth you were exposed to.
- The gospel is not obvious. It’s not easily and naturally discernable like “the sky is blue and grass is green.” The gospel shares incredible and unexpected truths. Our sins cannot be brushed away, but are serious enough to separate us eternally from God. God is willing to sacrifice for us, even to the point of having His only son die. God desires to personally come and dwell in us, empowering our transformation and witness. Eternity is not “off there somewhere,” but involves the redemption of the earth with us ruling with Christ.
- Because these truths are incredible and enticing, there is great gain in knowing the revelation of God. It opens hearts in ways that our guesses about who God is could not. To know the gospel is, in general, a wonderful opportunity.
- There is a corollary truth, though: to know the truth and not act on it puts one in a hard spot. To have the privilege of getting inside information but then refusing to act on it puts a person in a place of harsher judgment.
1. Some of the most severe punishment in hell will fall on unsaved church attenders.
- This is a stark and unsettling thought.
- We naturally presume the “Well, at least” idea. “It’s too bad they never made a commitment to Christ, but, well, at least they came to church a lot.” As though, in that situation, that’s a good thing.