Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: Accountability
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4:5 (NIV) But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
Most people are in denial about their personal responsibility for their choices and actions. None of us really believes, at least not in our flesh, that we are accountable to anyone, especially God. Since the Garden of Eden Satan has convinced the human race that they are accountable only to self.
Christian recording artist Steve Green has an interesting way of expressing that truth. He says, “Accountability to me is unnatural. My tendency is to only let you know enough about me to give you a good impression. I am a recovering hypocrite.”
The loss of our sense of responsibility and accountability to God is a serious problem. Even the unsaved recognize it. Television journalist Bill Moyers, in an interview with The Washington Post, says, “The single greatest loss in my time has been the idea that we are moral agents. Religion helped a great deal here. Religion taught that we are accountable for our own actions. Tribute is still paid to it today, but all that we have been talking about indicates that nobody really expects it anymore.”
Nobody really expects to be accountable anymore. Yet in at least thirteen other passages in the Bible we are directly told that God will judge every word and every deed of every person. In case you want to look them up, here they are:
The denial of accountability to God is the essence of sin. I learned that in a devotional from Oswald Chambers when he wrote, “The essence of sin is the refusal to recognize that we are accountable to God at all.” Such denial results in moral anarchy in society. The average person in our world today believes that they get to make their own rules. Anyone who opposes them is abused, just as Peter explained in the verses prior to today’s. If only people would come face to face with their responsibility to God, they could be saved. Pastor Bill Hybels tells an interesting story that emphasizes this point.
I met a man who was deeply involved in the New Age Movement for over five years. I asked him, “What caused you to second-guess what you were involved in?” He said, “It was the moral anarchy. I became part of a group, and we used to sit around and talk about what ‘my truth’ was. One person would say, ‘My truth is doing what is right and best for me.’”
Convinced of that, he got the idea that the wife he had been married to for many years was not as beautiful and wonderful as another person in the group, who said her truth was that they ought to get married. He said, “I thought about it more, and after a while I decided that was my truth, too. So we got our truth together. I divorced my wife. She was very upset about that, but I told her, ‘Honey, this is my truth.’”
See! How are you going to argue with that? And he said it was only a short time after that that someone from the New Age Movement said, “There’s a New Age church in Barrington. Come out to it.”
He came here to Willow Creek, walked in, and thought, “This is wonderful. I didn’t realize there were so many in the movement!”
He said, “That day, you gave a message about human beings standing morally accountable before a holy God. While you were talking I became conscious for the first time of my sin. I knew I was playing games. I was just making up the truth. That’s all I was doing; manufacturing the truth I wanted for myself so I could live the way I wanted to live. The next morning I fell on my knees, and I received Christ and received forgiveness.” He pleaded with me: “You don’t—you’ll never—know, if you haven’t been involved in the New Age Movement, the grip, the power that it can have over you.”
Not many of us will admit to being a part of the New Age Movement. Yet every day we make choices based on what’s best for us, with little or no concern for our accountability to God. We may be more New Age than we believe. But it’s not really New Age – it’s the same old lie of Satan that convinces us that we are number one. Someday, no matter how we deny it, we will stand before Almighty God and give an account of our lives. When the truth comes out about how we lived and what motivated our actions, may it bring honor to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.