105. Individual Accountability

WHAT is religion?
“The recognition of God as an object of worship, love, and obedience.”
Webster. Other definitions equally good are: “The duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it.” “Man’s personal relation of faith and obedience to God.”

2. In religious things, whom alone did Christ say we should recognize as Father?
“And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Matt. 23:9.

3. When tempted to fall down and worship Satan, what Scripture command did Christ cite in justification of His refusal to do this?
“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it
is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Matt. 4:10. See Deut. 6:13; 10:20.

4. To whom alone, then, is each one accountable in religious things?
“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to
Rom. 14:12.

NOTE.-With this agree the words of Washington : “Every man who conducts himself as a good citizen, is accountable alone to God for his religious faith, and should be protected in worshiping God according to the dictates of his own conscience.”- Reply to Virginia Baptits, in 1789.

5. What do those do, therefore, who make men accountable to them in religious affairs?
They put themselves in the place of God. See 2 Thess. 2;3,4.

6. Why, in religious matters, did Christ say men should not be called masters?
“Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.” Matt. 23:10.

NOTE.-Every one, therefore, who acts as master in Christ’s church, or lords it over God’s heritage (1 Peter 5:3), puts himself in the place of Christ.

7. To whom, then, as servants, are we responsible in matters of faith and worship?
“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth.” Rom. 14:4.

8. Whose servants are we not to be?
” Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” 1 Cor. 7:23.

NOTE.-“Satan’s methods ever tend to one end,- to make men the slaves of men,” and thus separate them, from God, destroy faith in God, and so expose men to temptation and Sin. Christ’s work is to set men free, to renew faith, and to lead to willing and loyal obedience to God. Says Luther: “It is contrary to the will of God that man should be subject to man in that which pertains to eternal life. Subjection in spirituals is a real worship, and should be rendered only to the Creator.”- D’ Aubigne’s “History of the Reformation,” edited by M. Laird Simons, book 7, chap. 11.

9. Where must all finally appear to render up their account?
“For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Cor. 5:10.

NOTE.-Inasmuch, then, as religion is an individual matter, and each individual must give account of himself to God, it follows that there should be no human constraint nor compulsion in religious affairs.

DARE to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone;
Dare to have a purpose firm,
Dare to make it known.
  P. P. BLISS.