Recently our Treasurer was looking for 30 cents in the accounts to balance the books. It was taking ages and much searching before it was found. It was only then that the books could be balanced properly and in an accountable way. This describes to us the diligence of accountability. In the Christian sense, accountability is a big thing. God sees it as righteousness and also as due diligence. This means, one must be careful to give account of their lives while balancing it with God’s commandments and ways. On one end of the balance is ourselves and on the other side of the balance is God. If we do not strike a true weight, God will adjust or correct us according to His grace and chastening. Heb 12:10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Heb 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Once we accept and learn that way of God, we will be brought back into balance or righteousness with God even before the chastening or correction takes place.
However, there are times when God will not balance out an accountability factor. He will punish or destroy. In the case of Nebuchadnezar’s son in the verse above, he destroyed him and his kingdom and divided it. In a sense this was prophetic but came about due to the fact that they were abusers of God’s property. When holy vessels are tampered with, God does not like it. When we tamper with our bodies, we are tampering with God’s holy vessel and we need to be quick about understanding that. 1Co 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 1Co 6:13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
Accountability between children of God and family is equally important to God. Church life covers the life of a Christian as he is supposed to live it in his home and in Church. A Christian cannot be schizophrenic in their life style. Many blame their inadequacies of accountability on circumstances and situations of life. However, if we are to grow spiritually we must do so in the power and character of the Holy Ghost who represents the ways of Christ and so should bring us into accountability. Grace helps us to come into that accountability through the extended time God gives us to repent, change and become submissive to His commandments. His commandments are not grievous but our flesh rebels against it. So we must walk in the Spirit and we will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. The commandment here is to love one another which is a good commandment and close to God’s heart. 1Jn 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. The whole emphasis of God’s teaching is love between family and the family of God. I do not believe the world enjoys this kind of love nor is it available to those who are rebellious. Hell has been created for the angels who sinned against God because the rebelled against God and the family of God in heaven. Then humans failed God in a similar fashion and are destined for hell unless they can love one another and walk in the commandments of God.
There is a glib understanding that God is love and hence He will never do anything that is not proper for us. This is true to a large extent but one must realise that we can walk away from this love. Furthermore, if God is only love, why is there a hell and why does he warn us about hell? Let us not be naïve and without understanding like a mule. The commandments of God are there to make us accountable concerning our behaviour. We cannot leave a world of sin and then come in to the faith to carry on the same way based on grace. This is modified Christianity.
In Church accountability we discover that it too has wide ranging areas of cause and effect. Whatever we say, do or think is the cause that affects our Church life and spirituality. This comes under scrutiny amongst our brothers, sisters and leaders. Even though our righteousness may exceed others, we will still be held accountable by God for our behaviour especially in matters of conflict. Mat 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Leaders and lay people are equally accountable for what has been given them. No one escapes accountability. There is no protection from that before God. I have often seen the lack of Church accountability in matters ranging from finances to morals and doctrine that have affected the life of that Church. I have seen the demise of local Churches over long periods of time due to this very lack of integrity. This is a sad indictment against the Church today that has affected many lives in the church and in the world. Hence, many do not come to Jesus.
The breakdown of society should not allow for the breakdown of Church accountability. The words of Jesus in the Bible have always been valid through the centuries as the only power that brings righteousness and accountability before God. There is no accountability to be found in the world for what the Bible teaches and there are no alternatives to the word of God that can be found in the world. Many have mixed the ways of society and culture and brought it into the Church and Christianity causing many problems that have finally ended up in the demise of many local bodies and the decay of the Church worldwide. What is man’s acceptable practices of Christianity have been found wanting in the balances of God. We are in great danger. Rom 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Rom 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
How far will God go when accountability for one’s life comes up before Him? Annanais and Sapphira found out that lying to the Holy Ghost was death. It seems that God will not tolerate a person who lies to Him. So truth in itself is an accountability for all of us. Once we have received the truth, we cannot lie or do anything that the world may do to compromise their position before God. It is exactly this kind of accountability that many in the Church have compromised on. Their lack of accountability is based on their own assessments of what the commandments say. Each one of us must examine our own hearts and be accountable before God. Communion is an opportunity to do so and set the balance right again. Leaving it to go too far can be dangerous. God does not accept our gifts when we have no accountability. Mat 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Mat 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Forgiveness is an accountability before God that cannot be reduced in anyway. I have seen people near death because of this. Once they have forgiven, they have been instantly healed. The prison of un-forgiveness is a terrible place to be. Only judges put you there. So, if you become a judge, you can put yourself there quite easily. Jesus did not judge but forgave and then released people from prison. However, His commandments are to love one another and forgive or we face certain punishment and possibly even death. I wonder how many are dying because of taking communion with un-forgiveness in their hearts. Again, the words of Jesus in the verses above should bring the fear of the Lord into us. Church accountability accounts for a major portion of our Christian life as we interact on all levels of spiritual maturity in people and in Church protocol and commitments. Many compromise on what they agree to and thereby leave the ones they have committed to in the lurch because of their unwillingness to fulfil their commitments and accountability. Once you give your word, you must keep it. Jesus always keeps His word. Imagine where we would be if He didn’t?
Others have been given opportunity in Church and have failed by overstepping the prescribed mark. They have preached false doctrines, robbed money and abused sheep without any fear of accountability before God. Iron sharpens iron for a good reason; it is for accountability. Each one of us must have that seared in our consciences so that we understand that we can be called to accountability by anyone. 1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
The rebellion in Church life and lack of commitment comes from lack of accountability for what has been given to each individual. The devil was unaccountable before God for what he had been given and wanted more. This lack of accountability before God caused his demise for eternity along with one third of his angels. Let us learn from his mistakes. The truth is, he has perpetrated his evil into the world while covering it in a form of respectability. True accountability always shows up when one’s back is to the wall. It is here that many fail in their accountability. Judas did this to Jesus when he betrayed Him. Yet, Jesus did not back off from fulfilling His accountability before God.