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The freedom of our will is a great and wonderful thing that God has bestowed upon us. We've been created as personal beings, able to make choices that are truly significant. But we can't afford simply to enjoy the privilege of freedom. We must also be sobered by the responsibility that goes with the privilege. We are accountable to God for the way we live our lives.
The fact that God exists means that His will constitutes an absolute moral standard we must answer to. The question of "right and wrong" is not simply a matter of opinion or personal preference. God is our Creator and our King, and His will is a fixed, objective standard that we'll be measured by, regardless of our preferences.
But the fact of God's existence and His moral law ought to be more than a general truth to us; it needs to be very personal. God is not only the Judge of mankind, but He is my judge! Not only are human beings in general accountable before God, but I have a personal responsibility to the God who made me! This week, it will be good for each of us to ponder these truths.
One of the characteristics of wickedness is that it does not take into account God's judgment, at least not with any seriousness. The fool acts as if no accounting need be made to God. The Psalmist asked in Psa. 10:13, "Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, 'You will not call to account'?" And again, "He says in his heart, 'God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it'" (v.11). But God does see. He will require an account. And only a fool would pretend otherwise. Jesus went so far as to say that "on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak" (Mt. 12:36).
We've been made in the image of a great God of glory and honor. It's our privilege to live under the gracious freedom of His will. But we dare not trifle with God. The Hebrew writer reminds us that "no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Hb. 4:13). Accountability is a serious subject, one that should strengthen us in doing whatever is right and good.
Monday: Romans 1:18-21
Key Idea: We can know that God is real.
Questions for Family Growth: Practically speaking, how important a question is it whether God exists or not? How do we know for sure that He exists? What evidence is available to all human beings everywhere, according to Psa. 19:1-4.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:15.
Tuesday: Romans 1:28-32
Key Idea: If God exists, there must be an absolute moral standard that determines right and wrong.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.32, what does Paul say that people "know"? If God did not exist, would there be any such thing as right and wrong? What does it mean that God's will is an absolute moral standard?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:16.
Wednesday: Romans 14:12
Key Idea: God has conferred accountability on us, making us responsible for our own decisions.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean for one person to be "accountable" to another person? What are some practical ways that people today deny their accountability to God? What does Hb. 4:13 say about God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:17.
Thursday: 2 Corinthians 5:10
Key Idea: We will one day stand before God in judgment.
Questions for Family Growth: In 1 Pt. 1:17, what does Peter say about the difference God ought to make in our lives? In Eccl. 12:13,14, what did Solomon conclude about the overall meaning of life in this world? What can we do to give this more priority?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:18.
Friday: John 3:16,17
Key Idea: God, our Judge, is also a Father who is willing and able to provide redemption for us.
Questions for Family Growth: What does 1 Jn. 4:17-19 say about the confidence we can have in God? In 2 Thess. 1:8,9, who are those who should fear the judgment? What attitude can the faithful Christian have toward God's judgment?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:19.