Human Accountability

James R. Cope
Temple Terrace, Florida

The apostle Paul wrote, "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12). The same writer said, "For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat o f Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5: 10).

When we speak of "human accountability" we mean that each person shall give an account of himself to God. This accountability to God involves obligation (duty) to which God has bound man by virtue of God's relationship to man, whether by God's creating man in His own image in Adam or recreating him in His own image in Christ. These duties are two-fold in nature--those pertaining to God alone and those pertaining to man.

Duty to God

Duties pertaining to God alone reflect the very nature and character of God in His creature called man. Each descendant of Adam, regardless of color, sex, or relationship, is accountable to God for fulfilling these duties to God. They are duties, which have no significance from the viewpoint of human wisdom apart from divine revelation. God has bound them upon man because they glorify God, benefit the man in time and prepare him for glory in eternity. Under the gospel some of these duties are: a sinner's being baptized in the name of Christ for remission of sins; a Christian's observing the Lord's supper, praying in the name of Jesus Christ; singing praise unto God; and learning the word of God. Each of these activities a Christian performs because he glorifies God and obtains favor of God by so doing. No other person can be a substitute for him in these duties. He can employ no person to function as his agent in these matters.

Duty to Man

There are other duties, which God has bound upon man in the performing of which man deals directly with his fellow creature. He acts out of respect for God in these matters. He is conscious that what he does toward his fellows he does because God said do it, not merely from a humanitarian consideration without regard to his amenability to God. When he acts he is aware that he is obeying God, yet if he does not act, he is disobeying. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" summarize these duties. No other person can displace the Christian in the performance of these duties to God. He is obligated to his fellowmen second because he is obligated to God first. When he visits the sick, comforts the sorrowing, preaches the gospel of salvation to dying sinners and gives food and clothing to a brother or sister naked and in lack of daily food and does it "as unto the Lord" he is obeying God. Jesus said, "Whosoever shall receive one of such little children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever receiveth me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me" (Mk. 9:37).

A Sad, Sad Story

"Pat Boone, symbol of clean-living young America, received news this week that his latest movie has been denied a seal of approval. This is roughly akin to discovering there is no Santa Claus. When the young singer first came to Hollywood he didn't even allow himself to kiss the leading lady. But in his picture, "The Main Attraction," Pat is a changed man. In this one he smokes, brawls in a barroom, spends a night with a girl and generally plays anything but a pillar of the community. But that is not why his picture failed to pass muster at the censor's office of the Association of Motion Picture Producers. The picture was denied approval because it appears to be a justification for premarital relations." Akron Beacon Journal November 29, 1962.

Truth Magazine VII: 5, pp. 1b
February 1963