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Luke 16:9 through 13 KJV

9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?

13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

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2 Answers 2

Yes, there is no middle ground. The language here is that of worship; the idea is that mammon is an alternative god to God. The stress here from Jesus, and throughout the New Testament (1 Timothy 6:3-10 comes to mind), is that mammon, or money, is to be used to serve the Trinity, rather than to be served as god itself.

This is the antithesis to what has been called the prosperity gospel, where the Trinity is used to serve mammon instead of the other way around.

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+1 for your insightful addition regarding the prosperity gospel. –  Steve Jan 11 at 16:47
    
Thanks for the comment and +1, man! –  Derek Brown Jan 11 at 21:09

Yes, but you ought to understand what "Mammon" means.

William Tyndale, before he was martyred for translating the bible into English wrote about this passage in his work "The Parable of the Wicked Mammon" which he often refers to as "Mammon".

He explains:

First, Mammon is an Hebrew word and signifieth riches or temporal goods, and namely, all superfluity, and all that is above necessity, and that which is required unto our necessary uses, wherewith a man may help another, without undoing or hurting himself. For Hamon in the Hebrew speach, signifieth a multitude, or abundance, or many. And therehence cometh Mahamon, or Mammon, abundance, or plenteousness of goods or riches.

Secondarily it is called unrighteous Mammon, not because it is gotten unrighteously, or with usury, for of unrighteous gotten goods can no man do good works, but ought to restore them home again...

But singularly before God it is called unrighteous Mammon, because it is not bestowed, and ministered unto our neighbours need. For if my neighbour need and I give him not, neither depart liberally with him, of that which I have: than withhold I from him unrighteously that which is his own. For as much as I am bounden to help him by the law of nature, which is, whatsoever thou wouldest that another did to thee, that do thou also to him. And Christ (Matthew 5) Give to every man that desireth thee. And John in his first Epistle, if a man have this world's good, and see his brother need, how is the love of God in him? And the unrighteousness in our Mammon see very few men: because it is spiritual, and in those goods which are gotten most truly and justly, which beguile men. For they suppose they do no man wrong in keeping them, in that they got them not with stealing, robbing, oppression, and usury, neither hurt any man now with them.

So Mammon is what we have which is in excess of what we need, which we should use to help our neighbour in need. And, yes, it is a warning, for if you don't do this how is the love of God in you? (1 John 3:17) (see also Mark 10:21-25; Matthew 5:42; Matthew 7:12).

[Not that salvation is of works, but of faith. But truly, works follows unfeigned faith out of love and not for reward as Tyndale explains in the above mentioned writing on "Mammon", as also do the apostles.]

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