Accountability can be an uncomfortable experience. While in college, my classmate Bob and I met early and headed to the dining hall, where we worked as waiters. Each morning, Bob would greet me with “Don, are you rejoicing in the Lord?” At first I hesitantly responded, “Yeah, more or less.” He challenged me: “That’s not good enough. God’s word says, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always!’” Days later, his persistence motivated me to go to the prayer room in our hall to refresh my thanksgiving to Christ for His gracious sacrifice. That morning, I remember giving Bob an affirmative answer, to which he responded, “Isn’t it great? Now walk throughout the day rejoicing.” He never asked me again, but I have never forgotten the lesson.
We are to “continually speak” and “continually act” as those who are freed from sin’s condemnation, but we still face the judgment seat of Christ—-for how we have lived in obedience. This judgment does not determine our salvation, but rather our rewards. This means we get to choose how we will be obedient. These commands give freedom: not freedom to sin freely but freedom from guilt and the choice of following His wisdom.
The gospel is the law of liberty because it liberates the believer in Jesus Christ from the addiction, condemnation, and punishment of sin (Rom 8:1), freeing him to choose to make the kingdom of God his top priority, since it will be his eternal home. This law of liberty frees us to follow the Lord willingly out of love and gratitude, rather than out of fear or obligation.
The Christian is to live daily in the light of a coming judgment. This is the divine sense of accountability. Do we know the commands about how we are to speak? Can we identify the commands about how we are to act? We will be evaluated by His word and must trust the Spirit to enable us to be obedient. This is what the power of the filling of the Spirit means: the power to enable us to be obedient.
Peter warns us about the abuse of the freedom experienced in the Christian life: “Live as free men but do not use your freedom as a cover–up for evil; live as servants of God” (1 Pet 2:16). Do you want to be free to choose what you think is sin and what is not? Does it seem too burdensome to take the commands as your personal guideposts?
“What a frightful thought that nothing escapes Your oversight. May this motivate me to take seriously every command You gave us and to learn to love them.”