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The age in which we live is an age of responsibility-dodging. We see it everywhere we look, don't we? In nearly every circumstance where wrong has been done, somebody will be heard to say that the person who did the deed is not responsible for it. Blame will be placed on the person's environment, his genetic inheritance, his childhood upbringing, his emotional disturbances, his learning disabilities, his addictions, or whatever else comes to mind as a scapegoat. Society itself is even held to be responsible for the misdeeds of certain people. Society doesn't seem to get the credit when someone does good, but it often gets the blame when someone does evil.
Those who know the Bible ought to know better than to make excuses for sin. God has given each of us a mind and a moral faculty. We are not animals, governed totally by instincts and hormones. We are free moral agents, blessed with the gift of discernment between good and evil -- and we will be held accountable for how we use that gift.
The judgment day that is coming will be an accounting of how each person has used his free will, either to lovingly obey God or rebelliously reject Him. Having been endowed with the ability to choose our response to external events, God will hold us responsible for the choices we have made. No excuses will be allowed for instances in which we have consciously done something other than what our conscience told us we ought to do. If we stand before God in a lost condition, we will be "without excuse" (Rom. 1:20; 2:1).
Throughout this week, it will be helpful for us to consider this truth: we can do whatever we should do concerning God's will. Our Creator does not require of us deeds that are beyond our reach. Instead, He commands us to make choices that are within the realm of possibility, always providing a "way of escape" from any temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). And when God's will involves choices that are difficult for us, He generously supplies the help that we need to follow His lead. When we might make excuses and quibble about what we can't do, God simply asks that we trust His assurance that whatever needs to be done can be done through Christ, the One who has promised to strengthen us (Phil. 4:13). That thought will be our meditation this week.
Monday: 1 Corinthians 10:13
Key Idea: Obedience to God is a matter of choice.
Questions for Family Growth: What does "free will" mean? What do "responsibility" and "accountability" mean? Is it ever true to say that we had no choice but to sin? What does 1 Cor. 10:13 teach us about temptation and our response to it?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:15.
Tuesday: 2 Timothy 2:15
Key Idea: We can be workers whose work the Lord is pleased with.
Questions for Family Growth: Is it really possible for a human being to present himself "approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed" (NKJV)? What other translations can you find for the expression "be diligent" (NKJV)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:16,17.
Wednesday: Romans 14:10-12
Key Idea: We must accept responsibility for our own actions.
Questions for Family Growth: What do we mean when we speak of a person being "accountable" before God? On the judgment day, will God accept any excuses for our sins? With regard to eternity, do we choose our own destiny or is it chosen for us?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:18.
Thursday: Philippians 4:13
Key Idea: God will help us do whatever it is His will for us to do.
Questions for Family Growth: What kind of God would require something of His creatures that was impossible for them to accomplish? Is there anything God wills for us to do that Christ would not help us do? If we believe in the reality of Christ's help, how will that affect our praying?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:19.
Friday: Philippians 2:12,13
Key Idea: We must exert our will to obey God.
Questions for Family Growth: How might we describe the attitude of "fear and trembling" that we should have? What does it mean to "work out [our] own salvation"? Does it take will power to go to heaven? See 1 Cor. 9:27.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:20.