The First Commandment of the World

And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

Luke 16:1-8

While I do not agree with J. Vernon McGee on a lot of things, he makes an outstanding statement regarding this passage of scripture.  The first and foremost commandment of the world is “self-preservation.” (McGee, Thru the Bible)

Jesus continues His teaching regarding repentance with an example of a wicked person that will do anything to avoid repenting of his sin and changing his behavior. The steward was caught stealing from his master. Rather than confessing and repenting, the steward concocts a way to get some of his master’s money. 

When he brings the results to his master, the master praises him for it! Why? Because that is probably how the master became rich in the first place. The world will congratulate other sinners.

Wicked people are not concerned with what is right and what is wrong. They know they are wrong and God is displeased but they do not care.

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Romans 1:32

Rather than doing the right thing, wicked people will do anything they can to maintain their standing before men and improve their worldly position. Their “wisdom” is not a godly one. It is a form of pride and self-justification. 

This is why they are wiser than the children of light in their generation. The people of God do not do well when they act like the wicked. We can see in the parable of the prodigal son that he planned many things to preserve himself but nothing worked.

When we “come to ourselves,” we need to realize that we have been acting like this unjust steward and it just won’t work. Our only hope of peace and comfort is in fellowship with the Father.

Our commandment is not self preservation. We are to love the Lord and love our neighbor.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Matthew 22:37-39

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