God Holds Us Accountable

KEY VERSE: “I will judge you … every one according to his ways, saith the LORD God.” —Ezekiel 18:30

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Ezekiel 18:2-4, 19-24, 30, 31

PAUL wrote, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that [Margin, or, ‘in whom’] all have sinned.”—Ps. 14:3; 53:3; Rom. 3:10; 5:12

From this text we learn that all, through heredity, have partaken of Adam’s sin. Originally man was created in the image of God, and perfect. In this condition there would be no selfishness and no ill will toward others. But man’s fall into sin changed this, and the harsh circumstances of life from one generation to another have helped to promote sin and selfishness. None has escaped from these circumstances altogether, although there are still many who, at heart, would rather do good than evil.

Paul again wrote, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Cor. 15:22) The reason that all are to be made alive in Christ is that he gave his own life to redeem the world from death. Paul speaks of this as “a ransom for all.” (I Tim. 1:3-6) Jesus himself said, “My flesh … I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) This redemptive work of Christ will be just as far-reaching in its effects upon the human race as was the judgment of death which came upon the race through Adam. This future judgment, as our text implies, will be done on an individual basis. It will take into consideration all the circumstances of heredity, education, and environment. The matter of knowledge concerning the divine will is also to be a factor. In our human courts of law differing circumstances are considered in the administration of justice. But human wisdom must depend upon the testimony of witnesses in order to determine the guilt or innocence of the one being tried. Oftentimes this testimony is biased and untrue. About the only method now known to determine the accuracy of the testimony given by a witness is by cross-examining him. This is only partially effective. The witness might become frightened, for example; or, for other reasons the judge (or jury, if one is used) cannot be absolutely sure as to the truth of the testimony given. But how different it will be when Jesus and his followers judge the world! They will not depend upon witnesses nor will they depend upon the sight of the eye, or the hearing of the ear, for they will be able to read the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Isaiah wrote concerning the great Judge: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove [Margin, ‘argue’] with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”—Isa. 11:2-5

What a wonderful Judge! Paul must have had this prophecy in mind when, in his sermon on Mars’ hill, he said that God had appointed a day in which he would judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he had ordained, which is Jesus Christ the righteous. (Acts 17:31) The followers of the Master during the present age will be associated with Jesus in this future work of judging the world of mankind. (Isa. 1:26; Ps. 149:9; Isa. 42:1; Dan. 7:22; Matt. 19:28) They will possess the same perceptive abilities, so that all mankind will receive just and sympathetic treatment.—II Pet. 1:4

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