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Responsibility

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The world's philosophies are  replete with reasons why people are not responsible for their lives. The things they do and think, their actions and thoughts, are applied to most everything except themselves. We can see this in the myriad of social and psychological sciences, medications, genetic observations and so forth that dominate people's behavior in the modern world.  Please do not leap to the conclu­sion that this writer condemns these fields of study and developments. Studies and discoveries in these areas are enlightening and very beneficial to people in true need of these find­ings, including this writer.

However, there is an overwhelm­ing tendency to place the reasons for our personal behavior on something, anything, other than ourselves. The misdeeds, by action or omission, are attributed to something "they" did, some chemical disturbance, some genetic glitch, some social or psycho­logical situation or imprint. Again, too often people blame their behavior on anything other than themselves. "It isn't my fault. I can't help it. It's ___ fault. (Fill in the blank.) I am not responsible."

Before I go on, allow me to write that I truly understand that many conditions like those mentioned above are very real. People suffer horribly from these situations. I am thankful, personally thankful, that there are advances that can assist in overcoming and adjusting to these most difficult issues.

Our personal responsibility.... In spite of the items above, in spite of what other people do, in spite of what we want to do, God's Word speaks to us about personal responsi­bility. We need to listen. Indeed, we must listen.

In Matthew 12:36 we are told, "That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Let us no­tice that Jesus speaks of the "idle words." These are the hurtful, harm­ful, perhaps gossipy words that are let loose from our fiery little mem­ber, the tongue. We might say we let

it loose because "they" made us an­gry, or they said this first. We might say we can't let them get away with saying that. But, Jesus said we will give account for what we say. We will be responsible for our words, not them or their actions.

What of the things we do not say? Romans 10:9 states, "For with the heart man believeth unto righteous­ness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Can we be held responsible for what we do not say? Spoken confession of Jesus Christ as the Son of God "is made unto salvation." Are we responsible if we do not, will not, confess Jesus openly before men? "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Mat­thew 10:32). If a person understands what these words mean, no other person, circumstance, or condition can take away the individual, per­sonal responsibility for not confess­ing Jesus before men.

In John 9:41 Jesus told an assem­bled group of offended Pharisees, "If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." The Pharisees claimed to see, know, all spiritual things. They claimed to see the promises of God to them. Yet, know­ing and seeing the promises of God to them as His chosen people, they rejected the Christ, Jesus, the Son of God. Knowing all they knew with all the miracles and proofs they had seen, they refused to acknowledge and accept Him.

Jesus said, "If ye were blind, ye should have no sin." If they could not truly understand that Jesus was the Son of God, they would have no sin. However, they  insisted  that   they could see very well. And, being able to see, (i.e. understand) their "sin remaineth." They were responsible for their unbelief. If they had been without knowledge, opportunity, or ability to see that Jesus was the Son of God, they "should have no sin." However, as they had the opportu­nity, knowledge, and ability to see Christ, they were responsible. "Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee" (verse 37).

Many are those who have been taught the "wonderful words of life." Many are those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, yet they turn and walk away for whatever reason. They are as the Pharisees, and they are responsible for their actions. A person can blame others, circum­stances, environment, etc. A person can accept all the excuses that Satan can provide, and the old serpent will provide many. Yet, Jesus said, "Now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." You and I are responsi­ble if we walk away. We cannot pass the blame on to someone else.

Recall with me that God did not allow Eve to shift blame for her sin to Satan. God did not allow Adam to shift blame for his sin to Eve or God. Aaron could not blame the people for the golden calf. Saul could not blame the people for his bringing back the spoils of battle. We cannot blame something or someone else for our refusal to believe and obey Jesus Christ. In actuality, we know this. We "see" it. Jesus said, "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin" (John 15:22). [f we reject Jesus, we have no cloke to cover our sin. We and we alone are responsible for what we do.

In Galatians 6:5, the apostle Paul tells the Galatians, "Every man shall bear his own burden." Individually, we each have our own responsibility to God. That responsibility is ours to bear. No one else can bear it for us. Romans 14:10 reminds us that "for we shall all stand before the judg­ment seat of Christ." "So then every­one of us will give account of him­self to God" (verse 12). I am respon­sible for what I do or will not do in relationship to Christ and His Word. You and you alone will be responsi­ble for your action or inaction as you stand to give an accounting before God. No one except Jesus Christ can stand there with you as your advo­cate. No one is responsible for reject­ing that great advocate except the individual who will not see.

Romans 2:4-6 first asks then an­swers a question that each of us must heed. We can ignore the question, but the accountability does not di­minish. "Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to re­pentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasureth up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judg­ment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds...." All our deeds will be fully revealed. Responsibility cannot be escaped. Every man according to his deeds is accountable. No other person, situa­tion, or circumstance is responsible. Each of us will pay the price for re­fusal, rebellion, and impenitence.

"For the son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his an­gels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works" (Mat­thew 16:27). Christ warns us, and we are accountable to that warning.  "And I will give unto everyone of you according to your works" (Reve­lation 2:23).

Finally, visualize the scene given in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9. "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." There are no excuses al­lowed here. There are no exceptions here. Each individual one of us is responsible for what we do or do not do with Jesus.

Will you hear His Word? Will you believe it? Will you answer the call to repentance? Will you confess Christ as the Son of God? Will you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins? Will you then, hand and hand with Jesus, endure to the end? You and only you are responsible. "For there is no re­spect of persons with God" (Romans 2:11). -P.O. Box 841, Princeton, Texas 75407

 

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