When I think ‘accountability is NOT a choice,’ to whom or what am I, or you and others accountable? As I often do the necessity of understanding the word is the best place to begin.
I have grown accustomed to looking at the 1828 edition of Noah Webster’s dictionary because the earlier definitions are more basic for understanding than what may be known today. Evolution is not necessarily the best application.
‘accountability’- “The state of being liable to answer for one’s conduct; liability to give account, and to receive reward or punishment for actions.” To be liable for a certain reward or a certain punishment for certain actions clearly places every person guilty, or not, for personal actions. There then must be a judge and for my purposes now the Judge is God for He judges all things…everything.
The Divine Author of Hebrews 4:12-14 explains, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart. And no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.”
There are at least 4 ideas found here:
- You and I must give an account to God for all that we do.
- Jesus Christ the Son of God is to Whom we have made a sacred confession.
- The infallible and Divinely inspired and ever-sharp Word of God judges our hearts.
- We cannot escape the Divine Presence of God.
It must be understood that our accountability is most of all to God who is our Judge in all that we say and do. In 2 Corinthians Paul takes great pains explaining that we have responsibility for our actions to other people as well as to God because we are His personal ambassadors. Because He lives in us our ministry is to introduce people to Jesus Christ because of our spiritual relationship with Him. Our physical restraints have nothing to do with our eternity, but our spiritual beings affect our physical bodies because of Whose we are, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil.” Again our accountability is to the Lord Jesus.
Personal accountability is in view and must be an honest observation of ‘who I am.’
“Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean in itself; still, it is unclean to the one who considers it unclean. For if your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy by your food someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you consider good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God does not consist of food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people.” Romans 14:13-18.
Yes, God is the final Judge and folks around us, our peers do make judgment from personal observations. Things that you and I do may challenge folks around us to follow Jesus Christ or not AND this is the reason that personal accountability is so important. The question must be, “Are my thoughts and actions foremost pleasing to God?” Paul reminds us that God’s Kingdom in us is revealed by “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people.” Personal accountability has nothing at all to do with opinions coming from others but begins with the Sword of the Lord, the inspired and infallible Word of God.
Yes, it may be important to us if friends approve of us, but we must always find approval by the judgment and justice from God. We must pass His muster most of all. Others may not agree with you or me, but in the end these emotional appeals to culture and human tradition are meaningless when compared to God’s direction in life. His justice is substantiated in the Word of God that penetrates to the deepest levels of who we are in Him, and this is revealed by our righteousness before Holy God.
Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians chapter 5 that “we are ambassadors for Christ,” we are, indeed, finally accountable to God and have personal responsibility to Him. “For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised.” 1 Corinthians 5:14-15. We do not simply find personal accountability to Him as the Author and Finisher of our faith, but we are also responsible to Him and “no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised.” This Risen Lord and Christ, our Savior empowers us because He loved us and gave Himself for us that we might serve Him with His purpose in our lives.
Jesus is Lord.