Luke 16:11 MEANING

Luke 16:11
(11) If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon.--Better, if ye were not, or, became not. Here the "true riches" stand in contrast with the vain, deceitful, unrighteous mammon, and answer to the true spiritual wealth of peace, pardon, wisdom, or, in St. Paul's language, here again coloured by St. Luke's, the "unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8). Our Lord teaches His disciples, what human religious teachers have so often forgotten, that honesty, integrity, and, as implied in faithfulness, benevolence, in the use of this world's goods, be our portion small or great, is an indispensable condition of all spiritual advancement.

The Greek word for "true" may be noticed as being that which is generally characteristic of St. John. (See Notes on John 1:9; John 4:23.) This is the only instance of its use in the three first Gospels; St. Paul uses it once (1 Thessalonians 1:9), and then, after companionship with St. Luke. It is found in three passages of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 9:24; Hebrews 10:22) twenty-three times in the writings of St. John.

Verse 11. - The unrighteous mammon. As above in the parable, "mammon" signifies money. The epithet "unrighteous" is used in the same sense as in ver. 9, where we read of the "mammon of unrighteousness."

16:1-12 Whatever we have, the property of it is God's; we have only the use of it, according to the direction of our great Lord, and for his honour. This steward wasted his lord's goods. And we are all liable to the same charge; we have not made due improvement of what God has trusted us with. The steward cannot deny it; he must make up his accounts, and be gone. This may teach us that death will come, and deprive us of the opportunities we now have. The steward will make friends of his lord's debtors or tenants, by striking off a considerable part of their debt to his lord. The lord referred to in this parable commended not the fraud, but the policy of the steward. In that respect alone is it so noticed. Worldly men, in the choice of their object, are foolish; but in their activity, and perseverance, they are often wiser than believers. The unjust steward is not set before us as an example in cheating his master, or to justify any dishonesty, but to point out the careful ways of worldly men. It would be well if the children of light would learn wisdom from the men of the world, and would as earnestly pursue their better object. The true riches signify spiritual blessings; and if a man spends upon himself, or hoards up what God has trusted to him, as to outward things, what evidence can he have, that he is an heir of God through Christ? The riches of this world are deceitful and uncertain. Let us be convinced that those are truly rich, and very rich, who are rich in faith, and rich toward God, rich in Christ, in the promises; let us then lay up our treasure in heaven, and expect our portion from thence.If therefore ye have not been faithful,.... This is the application of the above proverbial expressions, and seems to be directed to the disciples of Christ, though not without a view to the covetous Scribes and Pharisees, who were in hearing of it, and were disturbed at it, Luke 16:14 and the meaning is, that whereas some of them might have been unfaithful, and have acted the unjust part of gathering of riches, as Matthew, and other publicans, that were now become the followers of Christ; if therefore they should be unfaithful

in the unrighteous mammon; in the disposing of it to improper uses, which was either unrighteously gotten, and therefore called, as it sometimes was, , "mammon of ungodliness", or "ungodly mammon" (x); or, which was fallacious, deceitful, vain, and transitory:

who will commit to your trust the true riches; or mammon? that is, how should you expect to be intrusted with the riches of grace, as the blessings and promises of the covenant of grace, the graces of the Spirit of God, which truly enrich persons, and are solid and durable? or the riches of glory, the better and more enduring substance in heaven, signified by a kingdom, and an inheritance that fadeth not away? so the Jews call the good things of another world, and say (y), that

"all the good things of this world are not , "true good things", in comparison of the good things of the world to come.''

And they use the same distinction with respect to "mammon", as here:

"the holy, blessed God, they say (z), gives him, , "mammon of truth", or true mammon; and he makes it "false", or deceitful:''

or rather the rich treasure of the Gospel is meant, called a treasure in earthen vessels, and the unsearchable riches of Christ; and is comparable to, and of more worth than gold, silver, and precious stones. And so the Syriac version renders it, "who will trust you with the truth?" with the truth of the Gospel.

(x) Targum in Hab. ii. 9. (y) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 23. 2.((z) Shemot Rabba, sect. 31. fol. 134. 4.

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