There are certain words in the English language that do not sit well with those who belong to the American culture. Americans have come to be so private and self-centered that they do not like words such as obedience, submission, abstaining, commitment, loyalty, and others. One word that is so vital to the Christian life but so repulsive to the calloused ears of Americans, even Christians in America, is the word, “Accountability.” The New Testament Scriptures call for Christians to be accountable to/for one another. As a matter of fact, we would not even have most of the books of the Bible, God’s holy word, if it was not for the concept of accountability.
Over and over again in the Scriptures, the apostles and their Gospel colleagues are calling into account Christians over their thinking, their behavior, their speech, their doctrine, and more. There are many reasons for holding one another accountable, but let us simply consider two at this point.
First, Christians are to hold one another accountable because the Lord will hold each and everyone one of us accountable in the end. The Scripture says, “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom 14:12); and in another place, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor 5:10); and yet again, “They will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Matt 12:36). We ought to hold one another accountable because if we judge ourselves now, we will not be judged later. If we deal with our sins now, the Lord will not need to bring them to light later. Yes, we can examine ourselves, but there is no doubt that when we live our lives within the realm of the local church, with the comradeship of fellow believers, we are spurred on to faithful living, confession of sin, and good works. If we hold one another accountable now, we will endure until the end by faith and be saved from the wrath of God which will be revealed on Judgment Day.
Second, Christians are to hold one another accountable because we need the motivation and encouragement to continue in the Faith. We need to “stir up love and good works” (Heb 10:24); “comfort each other and edify one another” (1 Thess 5:11); “restore [sinning Christians] in a spirit of gentleness” (Gal 6:1); “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another” (Jas 5:16); “speak the truth with his neighbor” (Eph 4:25); and so much more. We have to hold one another accountable because, left to ourselves, we fall into sin without any checks and balances.
So, to conclude in a simple way the simple points that have been made here, let me say that to live within this kind of accountable lifestyle one must be devoted to the local church. If the church is that building over thereor someorganization with which you are loosely affiliatedor those people, then you have not made yourself a part of it, and you are an island on your own. Accountability is a healthy part of life in general but also of the Christian life.