Personal Accountability

“Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’  Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live.  The one who sins is the one who will die.  The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child.  The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
“But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die.  None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them.  Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live.  Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord.  Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

  • Ezekiel 18:19-23

“This is one of Satan’s most mischievous devices to prevent repentance.  As in the old times of plague, they fastened up the house door and marked a red cross on it, and thus the inhabitants of that dwelling were sealed unto death.  Even so the devil writes on the man’s door the words no hope, and then the sick soul determines to die and refuses admission to the physician.  No one sins more unreservedly than he who sins in desperation, believing that God has no pardon for him.  When a man believes he has no hope in the right way, he determines to get what he can out of the wrong way; and if he cannot please God, he will, at least, please himself.  If he must go to hell, he will be as merry as he can on the road.  All this comes of a mistaken view of God.  Sin and falsehood are twin brothers.  Holiness is truth, but sin is a lie and the mother of lies.  Sin brings forth falsehood, and then falsehood nourishes sin.  Especially in this fashion falsehood does maintain sin by maligning the God of love.  He is a God ready to pardon and by no means hard to be moved to forgiveness.  Why do people stand off from confessing their wrong and finding mercy?  He is not a God who takes pleasure in the miseries of humanity.  His ear is not dull to the cry of sorrow; his heart is not slow to compassionate distress.  On the contrary he waits to be gracious.  He delights in mercy.  God is love immeasurable – love constant boundless, endless.  Part of our business as ministers of Christ is to bear witness to the loving kindness of the Lord against the falsehood with which sin dishonors his goodness.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes

One of the rules in the Army that should never be violated:  Never give anyone the responsibility without giving them the authority.

Sometimes you had to let others know so that the job could get down.

But with that responsibility and authority, there was a ton of pressure on that individual.  They had to get it done.  For they had been given the key to the kingdom, maybe a very small kingdom, and they became accountable for that task.

As Elizabeth Ficken was quoted in this morning’s Bible study, the blame game has been around since Adam in the garden.  I could correct her in that Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the servant, but who would blame me for pointing that out?  Okay, Adam blamed Eve first.  Classy move, Adam.  It is obvious that frying pans had not been invented by then or there might a different father of mankind.

But God had none of it then, and He is tired of hearing it after over 6,000 years.

Another rule that I never violated in the military:  When someone screws up in your unit, the officer takes the blame.  When your unit does a great job, the officer praises his men.

A corollary to that rule, regardless of whether the officer is a commander or leader of a field unit or a staff officer, is that when confronted by a superior officer when something goes wrong, the only acceptable response is, “No excuse, Sir.”

Yet, in Ezekiel 18, the Jews are whining that they did nothing that their parents did not do, and their parents taught them how to do it, so why are we the ones getting punished?  Okay, they would say that after all the denials of never having sinned … ever.

Sometimes I feel like calling a relative of mine and asking, “What have I not done correctly today?”  I am sure that I have been blamed, but I have no idea of what.

I should have started with this, but a C. S. Lewis quote is in order.

“I am rather sick of the modern assumption that, for all events, ‘WE,’ the people, are never responsible: it is always our rulers, or ancestors, or parents, or education, or anybody but precious ‘US.’  WE are apparently perfect and blameless.  Don’t you believe it.”

  • C. S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady

I have been blamed by my bosses over the years of doing things that I was not even involved in.  On a few occasions when I had singed documents saying that someone else took responsibility for a failure, I was blamed when that someone’s contribution was the part that failed.  And oh yes, I made mistakes on my own.

I confess that I have sinned.

People need to practice the previous paragraph.  Even when you are saved and assured of going to Heaven, we still make mistakes.

Probably everyone who is cast into the lake of fire has someone that they could blame, but they are there on their own steam, maybe with the ones they are blaming.  In many cases, not.

But on the other end of the ledger, if your name is in the Book of Life and God has created a mansion for you in Heaven, that is because you surrendered to Jesus, you trusted Jesus, and you established a relationship with Him all of your own free will.  You cannot get there on the purse strings of your parents.

We have a personal accountability, regardless of which side of the ledger we are on.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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