Search This Blog

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Standing before the Lord to Give an Account of All I Have Done

Hebrews 4:13 (ESV)
13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

I am part of a group of Christians who love to sing songs of forgiveness. We think that means that we have sinned with impunity. We do not understand giving an account for what we have done. The writer of Hebrews speaks of this.

It is no surprise that everything is revealed to God. Neither are we surprised that we are "naked" or "bare" before Him. The next word though indicates that God opens up that which is underneath and reveals it as well.

Those excuses for what we have done; the things we have told ourselves and made ourselves believe will be revealed for the lies that they are. We will no longer hide behind the person who made us angry at church so we never went to church again. We will no longer be able to blame our former spouses for the affairs we had. We will be fully exposed to what each sin really is: pure selfishness. Our own means of justification will not work.

"To whom we must give an account" is the English was of straightening out the literal translation: "to whom the reckoning is to us." In other words, we are responsible for all those things we have done.

Now, I believe that Jesus blood covers all my sins. I know I am forgiven but that doesn't mean that I get to go Scot-free for all those things that I have done. I will stand before my God and give an account for what I have done. I cannot imagine this being anything but horrible.

I read this verse just before I went to bed last night. I started to remember sinful things that I had done. I named them, called them sin, made no excuses, asked for forgiveness and made a commitment that I will never do them again. I know that I can be cleansed from all unrighteousness because of this confession. I could not explain away my sin. It was plainly what it is.

My children are all grown now. I always forgave them of everything they had done. I forgave them before I punished them. They, however, stood before me to give an account. Repentance meant that they owned up to it and didn't try to make excuses. I am not God and cannot lay their sins out plainly. I was just a parent who knew they must give an account. There was always anguish on their faces as they gave this account.

Now, let's put this in the heavenly realm. God shows us what we have done. He may do it through a clear memory or replay it somehow. There is no reason that He should hurry. We have eternity.(I imagine my daughters thought it was an eternity when they had to give an account.) Should that image drive me to confession now? Should that image keep me away from many of the sins I would commit? I would think so.

I am forgiven by the blood of Jesus. I am counted as righteous only because of my relationship to Him. I have identified with Him so clearly that I was crucified with Him. I will be admitted into heaven. And I will have to give an account of all my sins. That last part should bother us all.

Yet, even the threat of standing before God isn't enough to make me walk with Him. I really do so out of my love for Him. My sins are a failure in that love. They are an unfaithfulness. That, too, should make me ever so much more diligent in living my life committed to Him. It should make me want to "make things right" as soon as I have let things get out of sorts. I should be running to Him daily.

Then, I wouldn't have to wait until I had to give an account.


Anthony Chia said...

For this verse of Heb 4:13 (Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.), I would expound it overwhelmingly centered on the season of our lives that we are living currently. Yes, we do need to still give account when we come before Him after we have passed on, but my belief is that the verse was purposed on focusing on the here and now.

The context can be found in earlier verses, particularly Heb 3:12-19, which I reproduce below, and early verses of Hebrew 4 concentrating on entering into God’s rest (this needs separate treatment, and so, will NOT be covered here) [Note: original epistle was without chapter and verses numbering).

Heb 3:12-19 – “12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” 16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.”

From the above, it is clear that (a) believers were being targeted (brethren or brothers and sisters), and (b) the author of Hebrew was targeting daily living.

There is a need for believers to hold our original conviction firmly to the very end – v 14.

What the author was trying to say with vv14-19 was that he was alluring to the adult Israelites who perished in the wilderness, because they, upon leaving Egypt (type for fallen world) did NOT continue to be holding firmly, their following after God who brought them out of Egypt to go to the Promised Land (type for Heaven); they still had a sinful, unbelieving heart that turned away from the living God (v12). The author was talking about the life between Egypt (type for fallen world) and the Promised Land (type for Heaven), and so, it is a type for us, our lives between having entered into salvation and Heaven; or what we commonly called our Salvation Journey or Our travel on the Way of Holiness. Often I said believers have to study the Exodus, it is a type to our journey, till we get to Heaven. God saw it all, what were conceived in the hearts and minds of the Israelites, and saw what they did; so many times, they angered God with their worship of another, their impatience and murmuring and their distrust and unbelief of the God who brought them out of Egypt. We are to likewise watch our (believers) lives, heed Heb 3 verses 12-14, and also always remembering Heb 4:13, that God sees it all and is expecting us to give account of what we are thinking and doing.

There is still an important aspect I have not touched on, but the passage does allure to it, and it is that there was and is this hardening of heart that can take place by sin’s deceitfulness (Heb 3:13), and this is one reason believers have to self-reflect, weigh one’s thought and actions against God’ words, and repent as necessary, and confess and ask God for forgiveness of one’s sins and unbelief. If we do NOT keep short account with God, our hearts can be hardened, and a hardened heart will be ill-sensitive to the Holy Spirit and the Word, and before we know it, we drift away from God. While it is true that nothing and no one can snatch a believer from the hand of God, but if a believer follows NOT the Light of life, instead follows after darkness, it is he straying; he may NOT enter God’s rest.


Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

This is one text about the need to living right, watching our lives, keeping short account with God, and there are others, including the 1 john 1 text, the Lord’s Prayer, etc. Just do NOT listen to people who teach (1) right standing is all that is to it, (2) there is no need for on-going repentance or confession to God concerning any sin or wrongdoing. These are attractive because it promotes life of a believer as just to bask in grace, and all parts are God’s, none, the believer’s. Their WRONG core theology is that of ALL sins, including FUTURE ones (which have not happened!) have been forgiven you (a believer) the moment you entered into salvation.

Since Ps Prentis touched on us loving God, I will add a little: Sure, God loves you, but if you don’t love Him (back), why should you still be Heaven with Him, when the time of final reckoning arrives. It sure is no way to love God when you ignore Him, His desires and will, much of which was already expressed in His Word, and other specifics are with the Holy Spirit which believers are supposed to be listening to, and be led by. Love and obeying God and His commands are bounded together (John 14:15 & John 14:21). You really don’t love Him the way He understand it (love) when you obey NOT His commands, will and desires. Scripture put it this way concerning the need to obey God (and that is loving Him): Only those who carry out God’s will or His commands enter Heaven (of course, they need to have received in, the Salvation Justification). Here are 2 verses:

Matt 7:21 - “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Rev 22:14 (KJV) - Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Prentis McGoldrick said...

I, too, can see it as here and now but I also see it as part of 2 Corinthians 5:10.