ACCOUNTABILITY

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Copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Accountability is one of the principal ideas of the Bible. We are going to be held accountable for our behavior, at one time or another. We are going to answer to God for the things we have said and done.

One of the truly destructive results of the unscriptural "state of grace" concept is that once we make a profession of faith in Christ we no longer are responsible or answerable for our behavior.

ACCOUNTABILITY

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. (Matthew 12:36)

Accountability is one of the principal ideas of the Bible. We are going to be held accountable for our behavior, at one time or another. We are going to answer to God for the things we have said and done.

One of the truly destructive results of the unscriptural "state of grace" concept is that once we make a profession of faith in Christ we no longer are responsible or answerable for our behavior.

It is bad enough that people in the world do not want to be held accountable for their behavior. But it is catastrophic when Christians have the attitude that they are not accountable for their behavior.

Let's consider the statement of Christ that "men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken."

Will Christians have to give account for their careless words?

The answer today is "No!"

The truth is, God is more concerned about the careless words of Christians than He is about the careless words of non-Christians. Judgment begins with the household of God.

But doesn't the fact that we have placed our trust in the blood atonement mean that God does not see our behavior, and that we can speak careless words and it does not matter?—we will not be held accountable for them?

Do you really believe this? Do you truly believe that Christians can sin and it doesn't matter, but the unsaved will be held accountable for every idle word?

It is no wonder many Christians behave in a foolish, irresponsible manner, as though they are God's pets. They have been taught they are not accountable for their behavior.

In America, the desire to do away with the idea of accountability is widespread among Christians and non-Christians. I think the concept is of Satan who is hoping he will be granted an amnesty.

It is my personal opinion that the reason competent scientists emphasize the foolish concept of evolution is that they want to do away with the idea they will be held accountable some day for their behavior. By doing away with accountability, the professor, for example, can have sexual relations with the female students with their consent and no harm will come from it. The desire to eliminate accountability to God surely must be the basis for the insistence on the idea of evolution; no intelligent person could look about him and declare that people and their environment were produced by unguided actions of physical forces.

We Americans do not wish to be accountable for our behavior. We are proud, and are fiercely determined that we be permitted to do and say whatever pleases us with no undesirable consequences.

To be accountable is to be answerable and responsible for our words and actions.

As the Lord said, the individual who is pursuing truth runs to the light that his or her deeds may be shown to be of God.

But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (John 3:21)

The following three questions have to be answered when we seek to understand accountability:

To whom or to what are we answerable and responsible?

Who decides what is right or wrong?

What are the consequences of being right or of being wrong?

The answers to the above three questions are the most important issues of each person's life.

We are answerable and responsible to the Lord Jesus Christ, for the Father has given all authority of judgment to Him.

God alone decides what is right or wrong.

The consequences of being wrong can be chastening, severe or not as severe, or banishment from God's Presence in a place of torment.

I think Christians would agree with the above three answers. But somehow we have gotten the idea that we are not answerable or responsible to God for our behavior. This has produced immaturity and a somewhat silly attitude toward life on the part of numerous Christians.

Make no mistake: doing what is right will pay off in the end, just as doing what is wrong will yield an appropriate recompense.

The secular realm in America is seeking to discard accountability by passing laws that contribute to immorality. But God sends painful, deadly illnesses upon us; and he is raising up enemies against our country, for God will not be mocked! If we continue in sin we—whether or not we are Christians—shall certainly reap corruption and destruction.

The Christian realm in America seeks to discard accountability by theological means, by the teaching that once we make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord will never remember our sins, past, present, or future.

Yet, as much as we dislike and attempt to avoid accountability, it follows us wherever we go.

The industrious servant of the Lord rejoices at the thought of answering for his actions, because he is confident that when he is judged he will be rewarded; or, if he is transgressing, he will be led in the path of deliverance and blessing.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23,24)

We can understand the people of the world seeking to discard the worry of accountability, for the spirit of Satan works in them. They are the children of disobedience.

But how have Christians come to the idea that they are not responsible to God for their actions and words?

This error has come about through a misunderstanding of the teaching of the Apostle Paul.

We must remember that Paul's chief antagonists were Jews who were teaching and observing the Law of Moses. They were certain that right standing in the Presence of God could be produced only by carefully keeping all the laws and statutes of Moses.

Therefore Paul continually stated that God is able to assign righteousness to someone apart from works, that is, apart from the works of the Law of Moses.

From this has developed the unscriptural concept of the "state of grace." It is taught that when we place our faith in the atonement made through the blood of the Lord Jesus on the cross, God no longer is aware of our behavior. We are in a state of perpetual amnesty. We no longer are accountable for our behavior. God has cast all of our sins behind His back.

A person could believe there is a perpetual amnesty by interpreting Paul to mean that righteous human behavior has nothing to do with God's approval. God has freely assigned righteousness to us and in that righteousness we stand. This is an axiom used by Christian theologians to support the idea of a sovereignly imposed state of grace sufficient to insure the believer's entrance into Heaven rather than Hell when he or she dies.

Thus, there is no question of our accountability. Christ was held accountable for our sins and our behavior no longer is at issue. So it is maintained today.

There are numerous passages in the New Testament that deny this doctrine of an eternal amnesty; a removal of accountability as far as the Christian is concerned. However, these passages often are ignored. Only the verses that appear to support the chosen axiom are admitted and used as promises of eternal salvation to the believer.

In this manner the entire plan of redemption has been derailed.

We have stated in other essays that the Divine redemption primarily is one of deliverance. The purpose of forgiveness is to qualify us for entrance into the plan of redemption. To as many as receive Him, Christ gives the authority to become children of God. The atoning blood gives us authority to enter the program of moral transformation.

The program of redemption eventually will result in the Presence of God being restored to mankind; mankind being given access to the Tree of Life; and mankind living in Paradise on the earth. All that was lost through the disobedience of Adam and Eve shall be regained.

God has all authority and power. At any moment He can forgive every person in existence. In fact, the atonement was made for the sins of the whole world.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)

With one word God can heal every person in the world.

With one word God can remove the sin that dwells in the flesh of every person on earth.

With one word God can restore Paradise to the earth, providing universal access to the Tree of Life.

At any time He chooses, God can come down and walk among us, as in the garden of Eden.

God has this kind of authority and power.

In other words, God can complete the work of redemption any time He chooses.

If this is so, why doesn't He do just this and save us all so much pain?

Think about this for a bit.

There is one factor that God cannot produce with a word. He cannot give us a heart that obeys God out of love.

Could God install in us an obedient heart? Yes, He could. He has all power in Heaven and upon the earth, and He has given this authority and power to the Lord Jesus Christ.

But the moment God installs in an individual an obedient heart, replacing that person's ability to choose, that person no longer is a human being. He has no will of his own. He is a puppet, a robot—something other than a true son of God. He is a manufactured slave.

Consider the following:

What if God did:

Forgive every person in existence.

Heal every person in the world with one word.

Remove the sin that dwells in the flesh of every person on earth.

Restore Paradise to the earth with universal access to the Tree of Life.

Come down and walk among us, as in the garden of Eden.

What if God did do this right now—today?

What would be true after twenty years? What would the earth be like?

Because of self-will and personal ambition (which are not sins that dwell in our flesh, but our personal decision-making) there would be wars and rumors of wars. Nothing would have been solved.

God=s solution to restoring and maintaining what was lost is to create a royal priesthood. The royal priesthood, the Body of Christ, the Christian Church, for eternity will govern people who have been saved, making certain that what has been regained at such cost will never again be lost to mankind.

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

Each member of the royal priesthood, of the Body of Christ, has to be dealt with until that individual has learned obedience to God at the deepest level of his or her personality. Even the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who came into the world to do the will of God, had to learn obedience through suffering. The rulers have to be made perfect in Christ before they can govern the nations of saved people.

The Holy Spirit is able to deliver us from worldliness, from the lusts and passions of our flesh and soul, and from all disobedience. But in order to be delivered we have to cooperate. We have to choose to learn obedience. We see from this that our power of choice runs even deeper in us than does the obedience that the Spirit creates in us.

It is our power of choice that makes us behave as we do. We choose to love. We choose to obey. We choose to be made obedient. We choose to hate. We choose to love God with all our heart. We choose to ignore God. We choose to do good or to do evil.

We will be held accountable for every choice we make.

We live in a kind of swamp filled with a dark muck. When we try to serve God, it seems there are innumerable pressures and perplexities that keep us weary and confused.

The Spirit of God is powerful enough to enable us to arise totally from the slime in which we attempt to exist. We cannot emerge by our own strength or wisdom.

But our rescue from this pit depends on our choice. Will we choose to emerge, or will we choose to make the best of it where we are? It is this choice that God looks for.

When God chooses to bring someone to Christ, God places in that individual a desire to come to Christ. The desire any of us is given for righteousness is far and away the greatest treasure in our possession.

God gives us a desire to come to Christ, a desire for righteousness and salvation.

Now, what do we choose to do with it? Do we choose to embrace the desire wholeheartedly? If we do so choose, the Spirit leads us out of the swamp of sin and rebellion one step at a time.

If instead we neglect the call to righteousness, it will leave eventually. Thus we miss the day of our visitation.

From all I have said, we can see how hopelessly inept the present teaching is. It concentrates on an amnesty, a freedom from accountability, with the objective being eternal residence in the spirit realm. Thus no redemption is accomplished.

If God forgave everyone in the world, no redemption would be accomplished.

Why not? Because God's plan is to live among people; to give them access to immortality in the body; and to surround them with every delight Paradise can provide.

What does God accomplish by merely forgiving them?

Nothing at all. God will not live among us when we are sinning. He says: "Come out from the world and don't touch the unclean thing, and I will receive you."

God will not give us access to immortality while we are sinning. Immortal sinners always are confined to eternal torment in the dungeons under the earth's surface.

God will not restore Paradise to us when we are sinning. Adam and Eve forfeited Paradise by sinning.

So we see the current amnesty offered in Christian preaching is both unscriptural and illogical.

The very root, the essential meaning of existence as a creation of God, incorporates the concept of accountability. By removing the idea of accountability, maintaining that we no longer are answerable for our behavior, we have sown the seeds of total corruption and destruction. This is why Christianity for two thousand years has been unable to check the mad rush to oblivion that is accelerating today among the nations of the earth.

We are trying to escape to Heaven when God wants justice brought to the nations of the earth. And justice is founded on the idea of responsibility for one's behavior.

The soul that sins shall die. This is an eternal law of the Kingdom of God. When we receive Christ as our Savior we are given a reprieve. The purpose of the reprieve is that we might be set free from the love of the world spirit, from the lusts and passions of our flesh and soul, and from our self-will. If after having received Christ as our Savior we do not make any effort to cooperate with the Spirit of God in the task of delivering us from Satan's image, the Lord Jesus Christ will make the decision to remove all inheritance from us and bring us through the fires of Divine judgment, or else to discard us altogether as one unworthy of redemption.

It is just this serious! God will have no more rebellions!

The sixteenth chapter of the Book of Leviticus describes the annual Day of Atonement. It is interesting that the work of atonement comes toward the end of the program of redemption, as portrayed by the seven feasts of the Lord.

Two goats were used to make atonement for the sins of Israel. The first goat was slain and its blood sprinkled upon and before the Lid of Atonement, located in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle.

Then the high priest laid both his hands on the head of the scapegoat, the second goat, and confessed over the goat all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites.

He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. (Leviticus 16:21)

Here are the two areas of the atonement. The first is made by the sprinkling of blood before God.

The second is made as a living goat is selected to symbolically be the recipient of the sins of the people and is let go in the desert. This is not a goat of forgiveness but of deliverance.

But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:10)

If there were only one goat employed in making atonement for the sins of Israel we could maintain the present doctrine that the Christian salvation consists only of forgiveness. But because of the second goat, we understand that the Christian salvation includes both forgiveness and deliverance.

Because deliverance has been found necessary and has been included in the making of an atonement, we understand that accountability continues. For if there were forgiveness only, we might infer that God no longer holds us answerable for sin. But since God has included deliverance, we conclude that the law of accountability persists.

If all this is true, and the Scriptures and logic prove it is true, then what can we say of the present Christian churches that are filled with every conceivable work of the flesh?

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; Idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

The above passage is a picture of the modern Christian assembling in America. Every one of the above behaviors is present, along with some not listed, such as child molestation.

The Christians of today claim they are not perfect, just forgiven. By this they mean they are aware their behavior is less than Christlike, but it doesn't matter because God no longer holds them accountable.

Paul says we will not inherit the Kingdom of God if we continue in sin. What are we then to do?

Will we be held accountable in the Day of Judgment if we persist in sexual immorality?

Of course we will.

Will we give an account for every useless word?

Of course we will.

Is there any way out?

There is no way of escaping accountability. But God has made a way of salvation. Here is how it operates.

After you are saved the Holy Spirit will begin to speak to you about some area of your behavior that is not Christlike, that the New Testament condemns.

Immediately confess the behavior to God as sin.

Utterly denounce and renounce it, turning away from it with all your might.

If you will do this, God will forgive and deliver you.

You have been responsible for the behavior in question, but you have chosen the route of deliverance—not forgiveness alone, but forgiveness and deliverance.

If you are sincere, you will find that the Spirit of God will enable you to conquer any further temptation along this particular line. It is a fight, but the ingredients for total victory are present.

Pretty soon the Spirit will point out another sin, and then another, and then another. One by one, city-by-city so to speak, the enemy will give way before you.

To get and keep this kind of victory you must have faith in the atoning power of the blood of the Lamb; you must conform your life to the Scriptures, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit; and you must love not your life to the point of death. This last is necessary if you are to gain total victory over self-will.

There shall come a point in every individual's life when he or she must bow the knee to Jesus Christ and answer for his or her behavior. This judgment will take place for you when your time comes.

It may arrive during your present lifetime because, as Peter tells us, Christ is ready to judge the living and the dead.

When your time of judgment comes, you must respond to the Holy Spirit. If you ignore the prompting of the Spirit in the present hour, you no longer will be a candidate for the first resurrection, the resurrection that will occur when the Lord returns. Rather, at some future point you will stand before Christ and your whole life will be revealed. You will be chastised for not having responded during your lifetime when you had the opportunity. Then, you will receive the good you have done during your life and also the bad.

I do not recommend waiting until later. If you have the chance now, you are wise if you take advantage of it.

Every knee shall bow before Christ and every tongue shall answer to God.

It is written: "As surely as I live," says the Lord, "every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God." (Romans 14:11)

Will every Christian knee bow before Christ and confess to God? You can be sure this is so. Better now than later!

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; (Romans 2:5-9)

Does the above verse apply to Christians? Of course it does. It applies to "each person."

Placing our faith in Jesus Christ does not mean we no longer are accountable for our behavior. It means rather that God has made a way of escape for us, if we will cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He removes the graveclothes of sin from us.

We know the above applies to Christians, because the unsaved cannot reject Christ and then gain eternal life by persistence in doing good.

God gives to each person according to what he has done. This holds true for every individual born on the earth. How could it be otherwise?

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)

Does the above verse apply to Christians?

It was written to the churches of Galatia, so we would presume so.

I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:23)

Does the above verse apply to Christians?

We would assume this to be the case, since it was written to the church in Thyatira.

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)

Was the above written to Christians?

It probably was, in that the Book of Revelation was written to the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. It does not say, "I will give to everyone according to what he has done, except the Christians."

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

Does the above verse apply to Christians?

One would think so, in that the Apostle Paul says "we must all appear," and then was terrified at the thought.

So we understand, from logic and the Scriptures, that God never changes. The soul that sins shall die. Every creature is answerable to God and responsible for his or her behavior.

God in His great love has made a way for us to escape destruction. But that way is not an eternal amnesty, a perpetual forgiveness in which we can behave in any manner we choose with no consequences.

Rather, God has made it possible for us to answer for our sins in such a manner that we are forgiven and released, and continually given the wisdom and power so we always can denounce our sins as being evil and renounce them, having nothing more to do with them.

The Christian walk is continual victory over sin, not an amnesty that renders us unaccountable to God for our conduct.

It really is a better plan than that currently offered, don't you agree?

God's true plan of salvation will make possible:

The return of God to the earth.

Access to the Tree of Life.

The eternal enjoyment of Paradise on the earth.

All this Divine blessing will be obtained and maintained by the members of the Body of Christ, who have gone through the required transformation and training.

Their rule will extend out from the new Jerusalem, which is the glorified Christian Church.

Such is the coming of the Kingdom of God, the will of God, to the earth.

This is the true and original Gospel of the Kingdom of God.