Matthew 18:32-35 (The Wickedness of Men; The Justice and Mercy of God)

What did the master do after the report of the fellow slaves?  See Mat 18:32.  With what adjective does the master address the slave in this verse?  From the circumstances surrounding this, should we understand that it is necessary to fall into what we consider blatant sins like drug abuse, immorality or murder in order to be considered by the Lord a wicked or evil slave?  Is it even possible to be quite fastidious in the “service” of one’s master—even religious service—by exacting from others what is the legal due, and be considered a wicked slave?  Cf. Mat 23:14, Luk 11:42,46.  Consider that the slave had earlier appeared truly repentant and had even been forgiven his great debt by his lord—just like us—and yet came to be considered wicked again by his master.  What should we learn from this about the common notion that when one says the sinner’s prayer not only are all of his past sins forgiven, but also his future sins, so that he will never again be considered wicked by the Lord because Christ’s righteousness is imputed to him regardless of what he does and he has passed from death to life and cannot lose his salvation?  Cf. Eze 18:21-32.  Quite to the contrary, although the master had earlier forgiven the slave’s debt, what does Mat 18:34 indicate about that debt being imputed back to him?  For what reason was it imputed back to him?  See Mat 18:33.  What does this teach us about the paramount importance of forgiveness as a Christian virtue?  Cf. Mat 6:12-15, Mar 11:25-26, Eph 4:32, Col 3:13.

What one verse in this passage summarizes the main point of the parable and answers Peter’s question from Mat 18:21?  See Mat 18:33.  Earlier, the slave’s master was moved with compassion to forgive his debt; how does Mat 18:34 say the master was moved by the slave’s unforgiveness?  What does this teach us about the law of sowing and reaping?  See Gal 6:7, Mat 7:1-2.  What is the great danger of the Lord being moved to anger against someone?  Cf. Heb 10:26-27,31.  What does Mat 18:34 say that the master, being moved to anger, did to the slave?  What does the Scripture mean that the master handed the slave over to the torturers?  Who do they represent, and what does this teach us about the reality of hell as a place of torment for the wicked?  See Mat 8:6,29, Luk 16:23-28, Rev 9:5, 14:10-11, 18:7,10,15, 20:10 for occurrences of the same word group.  Did the master hand the slave over to the torturers so that in time the slave would be able to earn what was owed and the master would receive back all that was due to him?  Or did he hand him over to the torturers in order to make satisfaction according to the righteous requirements of the law for a debt that materially diminished his kingdom and he had no hope of recovering?  Again, because the debt had grown so large that the slave could not even begin to keep up with the interest owed let alone reduce the principal, how long would it take to make satisfaction and “repay all that was owed”?  In what way are our sins against God like that?  In this light, can we charge as so many do that God is unjust because the eternal punishment inflicted is incommensurate with the temporal debts accumulated?  Think: are such debts really temporal with no eternal implications for the kingdom of God’s righteousness?  Consider that each soul is a unique treasure to God, but of how many souls has His kingdom been deprived because of Adam’s one sin?  Because of our multiple sins?  In the day of judgment will anyone be able to say that God is unjust considering that He sent His only begotten Son to pay an infinite ransom by laying down His eternal life of oneness with the Father (Joh 10:30, 14:8-9, 17:3,22, Mat 27:45-46) in order that He might justly have compassion on the lost and the wicked might be forgiven?  Even when the wicked will not repent but continue in their sins, should we not understand that God is completely just, that even though the sins of the wicked are very great because of the damage and loss to His kingdom, still the Lord is not vindictive but afflicts them with no greater misery than the satisfaction required by the righteous requirements of the law for repayment of their own debt?  If the wicked cannot charge God with being unjust, shall they then charge that He is unmerciful?  See Mat 18:27.  In fact, who is unjust, and who is unmerciful?  See Mat 18:29-30,33.

Shall we suppose that this parable is just hyperbole, an exaggerated story, to emphasize how important it is to forgive, but that God would not really hand one over to “the torturers”?  See Mat 18:35.  Who is the “you” in Mat 18:35?  See Mat 18:1,21.  Would we say the “you” included those who had been forgiven of their sins and were “saved”?  What warning does this offer us as Christians?  See Heb 2:1-3.

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