Are we accountable as Christians? Do we need to be doing things rather than just believing in Christ’s sacrifice for us? I believe the answer to both of these questions is yes. Let’s talk about why we need to be accountable and how we can be accountable.
The Bible makes it clear Christians need to be accountable. The biggest example of this is God’s law. Why would God make His law so prominent in the Bible? Because He knew if we remain accountable to it we will live better lives and become more like Him. The Bible defines sin as the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Jesus died for our sins. God makes it clear we need to repent and change our lives away from sin and towards His character. By keeping His law we develop accountability for living life in the proper way. The Scriptures are full of example after example of needing to remove sin from our lives.
From the beginning of man’s creation we see man did not remain accountable to what God wanted for us. Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden because they were not accountable to God. God wanted them not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and they did. Once they did, they had to leave the garden, and life became different for them.
Ancient Israel was released from slavery to Egypt by the power of God. God showed them miraculous signs of His power. But once they were out of Egyptian bondage they soon began to not be accountable. God delivered the law to Moses, and the people were made aware of the consequences of not following God’s law and remaining accountable (Deuteronomy 28). As Israel continued in their history, they and Judah were destroyed for their lack of accountability to God.
As we move into New Testament times we see the same theme of accountability. Jesus came and died for us, but He also made us aware of the fact He was accountable to His Father (John 15:10). He also wanted us to be accountable (Matthew 5:17-19).
And just like ancient Israel and Judah were destroyed, so will this world’s governments be destroyed because they are not accountable to God. In the end times, only those who keep God’s commandments will be saved from destruction (Revelation 14:12-13).
It is clear from the biblical record that God demands His people to be accountable, but what do humans gain from accountability? Well, obviously we can gain eternal life by following God and remaining true to His Word. But why does it have to work this way? We may not have all the answers to this question, but brain science is beginning to unlock some of the secrets to the power of accountability.
According to what brain scientists are learning, the more we practice the same things over and over the more we actually alter our brain’s chemistry. As you read and write and think about the same kind of subject over and over you actually create new neural pathways in your brain for whatever it is that you are learning. Over time these new neural pathways will become more a part of you as long as you continue to keep staying accountable to what it is you are learning. In other words, the more time you spend reading your Bible or meditating on God’s laws the more it actually becomes a part of you.
Being accountable to God helps you develop your character. By living your life based on God’s laws you are stretching yourself to be thinking and acting more like God. When you get baptized and receive God’s Holy Spirit you gain a Helper in trying to live the proper way and remain accountable. But there will still be trouble along the way that will pull you away from God. You can help your accountability in other ways.
Going to church on a regular basis will keep your mind in tune with God by connecting you to other like-minded individuals. If you are having some issues with one type of sin you can get an accountability partner to work with you. This would be someone you really trust who will have conversations with you on a regular basis about whatever issue you need to work on. Once again, knowing you will need to meet and talk to this person on a regular basis will help you stay more accountable to whatever it is you are trying to work on.
God obviously knew how our brains work since he created us. He would obviously give us the Bible and His law to help us become like Him in this physical existence we are now in. Eternal life is a gift from God, but by doing our part of remaining accountable to God and His Word we become more and more like Him.