Whichever assumption we make, it will affect our interpretation of what Jesus means when he speaks of those being cut to pieces. Some think of it as losing salvation and going to hell. Others imagine a purgatory scenario. However I go along with the traditional evangelical and calvinist position on this. That such servants were only so in a nominal sense and hadn't established a living relationship with the master. Thus they didn't have the spirit of the master in carrying out their duties, their resultant behavior being inevitable. In other words, rather than losing salvation, they had never really been saved to begin with.
An interesting question, however, is why didn't Jesus make this more clear? For not only here, but in many other places he leaves one with potentially ambiguous interpretations. I say "potentially", for these issues are resolved when these kind of sections, are filtered through the rest of the apostles' writings.
It seems clear to me that Jesus intended for Christians to have a degree of uncertainty concerning their escape from condemnation. This doesn't conflict with the doctrine of eternal security, but rather when it comes to assurance of salvation one should not be overly presumptuous about whether one had ever been born of God.
We based our assurance of our justification upon the atoning work of Christ alone. But to be qualified to receive such justification, we have to have a faith of a quality acceptable to God. We base our assurance that we have been born of God upon our performance. As it is written:
“凡从神生的就不犯罪，因神的道（原文作“种”）存在他心里；他也不能犯罪，因为他是由神生的。从此就显出谁是神的儿女，谁是魔鬼的儿女：凡不行义的就不属神，不爱弟兄的也是如此。”约翰一书３：９，１０ (NIV)And in particular, as is relevant to this parable:
Thus it is essential for us to identify our responsibility and to consider whether we are edifying the brethren. Jesus also often associates food with the Word of God. Man does not live on bread alone but on every word which proceeds from the mouth of God. Thus there are practical and spiritual ways to edify others. Don't neglect the value of the edifying others with the Bible.
The more responsibilities we have, the more we will be held responsible for. On the positive side, the more responsibilities, the greater the potential reward. But then again, the more the potential punishment.
There are two extremes of these people. The ones beating the servants represent the legalistists. They may be more likened to the scribes and Pharisees in Jesus' times. Then there are those who eat, drink and get drunk. These represent the lawless Christians - who go on to live a lifestyle of sin.
These are both speaking of "nominal" Christians - those who associate themselves with the visible Church, but have not been born of God, not having the quality of faith that saves. They will be cut to pieces and sent to hell.
In fact their judgment will be worse than those unbelievers who don't know of Christ or don't know much about the will of God as revealed in the Bible. The more you know, the more you will be held responsible for.
“哥拉汛哪，你有祸了！伯赛大啊，你有祸了！因为在你们中间所行的异能，若行在推罗、西顿，他们早已披麻蒙灰悔改了。但我告诉你们，当审判的日子，推罗、西顿所受的，比你们还容易受呢。”马太福音１１：２１，２２And speaking again of nominal Christians:
|It will be good for that servant whom the Lord puts in charge
Of his fellow servants. His reward will be large
If he carries out his duties a reward he will earn
When the master finds him doing so after his return
He will give him charge of all his possessions.
But concerning his return , suppose the servant questions
"My master is taking a long time to come",
And beats some servants and abuses them
He becomes legalistic or perhaps even lawless
His performance is to say the least far from flawless
The master of that servant will come when he does not expect
Even though that servant may think he's one of the elect
He'll be cut in pieces and assigned a place
With the unbelievers, rather than in God's grace
If he does not act, though the master's will he knows
He will then be beaten and that with many blows.
But those who do not know, though behaving bad
Will be beaten less than his fellow comrade
From those given much, much will be demanded
So act responsibly or else be reprimanded