Marvin L. Weir
One of the greatest problems afflicting mankind is the refusal to accept responsibility for one’s actions. Most people are determined to blame someone else for their own unacceptable conduct. Some blame their bad behaviour on their ancestors, others blame a society that existed 150 years ago, and many say the devil makes them act as they now act.
The word of God says, “So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 4:12). The Bible doesn’t teach that we shall be able to successfully blame our failures on others. God holds each of us accountable for his choices and actions. This is why each person should possess the attitude of the Bereans who, “received the word with all readiness of mind, and examined the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
A person is responsible for his attitude toward, and knowledge of the Word of God. Many people believe that the Bible is God’s Word, but they never study the Holy Scriptures. To ignore the teachings of the Bible is to act as if it does not exist. Some give “lip service” to the Bible, but have no real understanding of the Scriptures. It requires diligent study to know right from wrong and truth from error. (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15).
Some are convinced that if they remain ignorant of God’s Word they will not be accountable for their ignorance. But the Bible doesn’t so teach. Each person is responsible for finding the truth on any given matter, accepting the truth as it is, and making such truth a guide for his actions.
One may know that instrumental music was used in the Old Testament (cf. Psa. 150) and thus feel that it is an acceptable means of worshipping God today. But the Old Testament is not the covenant that we are under today. That covenant—and all it contained—was nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14) to make way for the “better covenant” (Heb. 7:22; 8:6). The first covenant was taken away “that he may establish the second” (Heb. 10:9).
Under the New Covenant God has authorized singing, not playing. Search your New Testament and you will find examples and commands regarding the music that God desires in worship today (Matt. 26:30; Acts 16:25; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12; Jas. 5:13; Rev. 5:9; 14:3; 15:3). There is Bible authority for singing, but no such authority for playing on an instrument.
One is responsible for understanding that there is only one church that Jesus built (Matt. 16:18), the church of Christ (Rom. 16:16). The church and the body of which Christ is the head are one and the same (Eph. 1:22-23). The apostle Paul made it clear to the Ephesians that there is only one body (Eph. 4:4). “One” never means more than “one” until folks begin to discuss religion. It’s only then that “one” means “two,” “three,” “four,” or “one hundred and four.” The one Head (Christ) then becomes the Saviour of multiple bodies that He never promised to build and did not purchase with His blood (Acts 20:28). There is no Bible authority for man-made churches (Matt. 15:13; 1 Cor. 10:10-13).
One is responsible for obeying the gospel. There is only one gospel (Gal. 1:6-9), and it alone has the power to save a soul from sin (Rom. 1:16). Those who obey not the gospel will be eternally lost (2 Thess. 1:8). Baptism is a part of the plan of salvation, and one must be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). Baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16) and one cannot be saved while still in his sins.
Yes, man is responsible for many things. But the thing that matters most is your attitude toward the Word of God. Will you accept it and obey it as the Truth it is (John 17:17; 8:32), or will you ignore it and cling to the opinions, creeds, and traditions of men? Remember, you are responsible before God for your choices and actions.