Pastor’s Viewpoints, “Man’s Responsibility”

“Man’s Responsibility”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
A famous comedian years ago made an extremely humorous but realistic statement. “The devil made me do it”, has come to be known as, “The Flip Wilson theology”. I have no reason to believe that this statement reflected Flip Wilson’s philosophy of life. When he said it, genuine laughter ensued. It remains funny for the same reason as before. It is how many live their lives.

Even the stages of construction projects reflect man’s tendency to shift the blame. I remembered that one of the stages was called the “reward of the non-participants”. Another was referred to as the “persecution of the innocent”. But each stage had an activity called “fixing the blame”. When a problem would cause construction to stop, there was an ongoing effort to fix the blame rather than solve the problem. It didn’t matter whether the blame was deserved. The important thing was to hold someone else responsible for the problem.

“Fixing the blame” is not only reserved for construction projects. It is as old as Adam and Eve. Adam sought to blame God for his failure. After all, it was God who gave him the woman, Genesis 3:12. Adam’s argument didn’t impress God. Adam bore the penalty for his sin and the entire human race fell with Adam and inherited his sin nature.

The Bible declares more about man’s sinful tendency to fix the blame to either eliminate his responsibility or mitigate it. God said, “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine; the soul who sins shall die.” Ezekiel 18:2-4

God said to fix the blame, or deny responsibility was like a father eating sour grapes and his child experiencing the sour taste. God said that would not be so. Rather each one is responsible for his sin. Denying our responsibility will not make it go away. We will all stand before a holy God and give Him an account.

The way Lord and GOD are typed in your Bible is very important. Lord means Adoni, Master and the Sovereign One. GOD, with all capital letters signifies the personal and covenant name of God, Yahweh, and The Great I Am. Yahweh is a form of the Hebrew verb “to be”. Exodus 3:14, God declared that He is Yahweh, “I am who I am”. There is no debate on this issue that will amount to anything. The only true God, the Sovereign Creator, the Triune God fully revealed in Jesus who referred to Himself as “I Am”, will hold each one accountable for his actions.

This fact of Man’s responsibility was written by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Rome. “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile), but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). For God shows no partiality.” Romans 2:9-11

God’s holiness requires that He act with perfect justice. God, as the Apostle declared, does not favor any nationality, position, or individual person. All are judged based upon His perfect standard. His judgment is final. God never “winks” at sin.

The end of the Bible has these terrifying words of judgment. “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” Revelation 20:12

Every human being deserves punishment for sin. The only way to be spared from the wrath of God is through Jesus’ perfect life and sacrifice. He is the only appeasement of God’s wrath. Man’s hope is Jesus. He alone paid the price for sins. We all deserve hell. But God is rich in mercy. Jesus took the blame for His people. “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2Corinthians 5:21 No one will be able to stand before God who requires perfection and blame someone else for one’s sin!