PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY BEFORE GOD

As the prophet Daniel declared to a powerful monarch of the past, “. . . there is a God in heaven” (Daniel 2:28). The God of heaven is called “the Judge of all the earth” (Genesis 18:25). Men may deny, mock, or ignore those truths, but those truths remain unmovable and unchangeable.

Each human is accountable before the Lord. Jehovah is the Creator; we are the created. God is the Potter; we are the clay. By right of creation, He has authority over all flesh. The Lord God is one hundred per cent aware of our earthly activities. He “knows all things” (1 John 3:20). It is written, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). That is a humbling thought, is it not? Let us not try and deceive ourselves: the Lord of heaven and earth sees everything and holds us accountable for our choices – every single one of them.

We must learn to take responsibility for our actions. It is what we sometimes call “growing up,” “maturing,” or “being accountable.” A lot of people who are adults according to their biological age are children when it comes to being reliable and taking responsibility for their choices. They simply refuse to be accountable. What they need to do is grow up!

There are people who, when they must face the reality that they have failed in some area of life, try to shift the blame to someone else. Such an approach seems to be at an epidemic level in the present generation. When people make bad choices or fail to do what needs to be done, they can fall into the trap of trying to blame it on something or someone else. They blame society. They blame the government. They blame the environment in which they were raised or live currently. They blame the teacher or coach. They blame the boss/manager. In the home, one spouse blames the other. In the church, in some instances kids blame their parents, parents blame the leaders of the congregation, and the leaders scramble to throw the blame off on someone else. If you and I are the ones who have not taken the right course of action, then we are the ones who must shoulder the responsibility for it. That approach is quite elementary, yet so necessary.

Think about some Bible blamers. I do not refer to those who blame the Bible for something; rather, there are Bible characters whom we see “playing the blame game,” pointing an accusing finger at somebody else instead of taking responsibility for their mistakes. Adam and Eve did it after their transgression in the garden (Genesis 3:12,13). Aaron did it after he led the Israelites in making and worshipping a golden calf (Exodus 32:22). King Saul did the same, blaming the people after he failed to carry out the Lord’s command to wipe out the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:15,20,21). Each of these Old Testament people failed to hold themselves accountable for their actions. It was easier then, as it is now, to try and push the blame off on someone else.

Look again at the first word in our title: “personal.” While we can help one another, exhort one another, and correct each other, at the end of the day, each of us has the personal responsibility to serve the Lord. Neither righteousness nor ungodliness can be transferred from one person to another. “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20). Yes, people can influence the decision making of others, but God holds us accountable as individuals. Personal accountability will translate into individual judgment: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good of bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Before God, there is no hiding behind the godliness of others and expecting their good standing with the Lord to blind Him to our sins, nor are we held accountable for the improper choices that others make.

The Lord seeks faithful, reliable servants. That is the kind of folks that the church so badly needs if it is going to be what our Master desires for her to be. Are you and I holding up our part of the bargain? Are we acting in a spiritually mature manner? Are we taking our accountability before the Lord seriously?

— Roger D. Campbell

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