And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him. – Hebrews 9:27
Are we accountable to God?
One of the greatest restraints against acts of evil is the knowledge that every person and nation will one day give an account before a Sovereign Holy God. The Bible tells us that we are responsible for our actions and that we are accountable for what we do… or don’t do. It teaches that there is a penalty for doing wrong and a blessing when we what is right and just.
Why are are we accountable to God?
God’s plan for the world is sovereign. The soul of man is guided by God’s will – providence. God continuously upholds the existence & natural order of the universe; this is one aspect of His providence. As a part of The Father’s perfect plan, man has been given free will to make independent choices from God. In our humanity, we have limited understanding of God’s perfection. History proves that we have often been deluded by thinking that God’s purposes can be circumvented.
What does a Holy God require?
First and foremost, God requires of Himself that He keep His Word – perfect in mercy, justice, holiness and righteousness. He is bound by His Character to bring righteousness to pass. For us, there are consequences to preferring and seeking alliance with world before God. When we are informed by religion rather than faith we risk the appearance of seeking God; but, not authentically turned to Him. We are called to submission before a Holy God, not self-help. We cannot trade popular personal faith for providential purpose. We must tread carefully that we refuse to lord over the Lord. America has faced this very issue many times in our short history. Abraham Lincoln poignantly addressed the Providence of God and Divine Will in his second inaugural address. His address to a hurting nation addressed the judgment of God, not man.
Weeks of wet weather preceding Lincoln’s second inauguration had caused Pennsylvania Avenue to become a sea of mud and standing water. Thousands of spectators stood in thick mud at the Capitol grounds to hear the President. Why Pray for America? Here is Lincoln’s divinely inspired address to this question shortly after the Civil War and one month before his assassination.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”