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Gospel Gazette Online

Vol. 11 No. 6 June 2009

Page 12

Consequences and Accountability

Robert Johnson

Have you noticed how there’s a built-in accountability in the universe? If you drive your car off a cliff, gravity isn’t suspended to keep you from falling to your demise. How would that affect the rest of the world’s inhabitants? You have to deal with the consequences of your actions, as unpleasant as that may be. Newton’s third law of motion reflects this, and is sometimes phrased, “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

This is not only true for physical principles, but spiritual ones as well. Someone who abuses alcohol, for example, may find himself having to deal with the consequences of sclerosis of the liver. Sexuality expressed outside of marriage can bring about all kinds of outcomes, devastating ones physically as well as emotionally. Living outside the parameters God has established for us in His Word can lead to all sorts of problems.

Paul reminded the Romans that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Sin not only introduced physical death into the world (Romans 5:12), but spiritual death as well. A life of sin today brings consequences with it for eternity. “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). The picture of Judgment Jesus gives in Matthew 25 concludes that the wicked “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (25:46). The Hebrews writer also states, “For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27).

Satan has the uncanny ability to deceive people into thinking that there are no consequences for sin, that there is no accountability for how one chooses to live life. This shouldn’t surprise us, as Jesus said he is the father of lies (John 8:44). Society by and large has bought in to this falsehood, and many are convinced it must be true, that how one lives will not matter as far as eternity is concerned. “Surely God will not condemn one for choosing this lifestyle over another,” I’ve heard people say. “God is a loving God, and would never condemn anyone for eternity,” others express. Such views are contrary to the way God has established the world in which we live, as well as contrary to His essential nature as God. No amount of human logic or desire will change the fact that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Jesus assured us we will be judged by His words (John 12:48), and we can know those words, and allow them to prepare us for that day (Hebrews 4:12-13). No matter how we feel, or think, we can’t avoid the consequences of sin, the accountability God has built in to His creation. To have eternal life, we must live obediently, walking in His will (Hebrews 5:9). To live in sin is to store up wrath (Romans 2:5, 8). Live accountably today, for there are consequences to life. “Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come out—those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29).

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