Does the Parable of the Talents Teach Salvation by Works?

Does the Parable of the Talents Teach Salvation by Works?

Christians who are trying to serve King Jesus do not need to fear that they will be found to have not done enough on the Last Day. We should work hard in response to the grace we have been shown, to be sure. But we are saved by Jesus and what He has done for us; what we do is only evidence that we know how great a gift we have been given.

The famous parable of the talents in Matthew 25 sounds a lot like it is teaching some kind of salvation by works. After all, three servants are given money to use. When the master returned, the two who used that money well were rewarded and welcomed into the master’s happiness. The one who did not use the money well was cast outside into the outer darkness. That sounds like those who serve God well enough get in while those who do not fail to make the cut.

That is what it seems to teach at a quick glance, but that’s not understanding the whole parable well.

All of the servants in the parable of the talents were servants to start with. Their status was not something that was earned by what they did. And they were given an incredible amount of wealth to manage right at the start. The starting point for everyone is the blessing of God; that is not something that we did something to deserve.

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