There is an oft-neglected principle taught in the New Testament. I call it the principle of “graduated responsibility.” This principle is taught by Jesus in Luke 12:48: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded” (NIV).
This saying is part of the parable of the faithful steward. It underscores the terms of the judgment the lord in the parable renders to his servants. The punishment meted out is given in direct proportion to the prior knowledge each servant had:
“That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.” (vv. 47-48, NIV)
Here we see that judgment and punishment are rendered according to knowledge as well as action. The greater the knowledge, the greater the accountability.
Are you a faithful steward over all that God has entrusted to you?
Passages for Further Study
1 Corinthians 4:2
(Source: Devotional by Ligonier Ministries — the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul)