Thursday, December 06, 2012

With great revelation comes great accountability

Many of us are familiar with the quote “with great power comes great responsibility.” We attribute it to Stan Lee in Amazing Fantasy #15, August 1962 (the first Spider-Man story) and from "Uncle" Ben Parker, in the Spider-Man (2002) movie. Actually the quote originated from Voltaire in France in 1832. This quote tells of the moral obligation of great power.

In Matthew 11:20-24 and Luke 10:13-15 where Jesus denounced/upbraided/cursed Chorazin, along with Bethsaida and Capernaum because the people rejected him in spite of the fact that in these cities Jesus spent a lot of time teaching and performed most of his miracles. The moral implication of receiving more revelations of God is to repent. Coming closer to the Holy God will bring to light our own sinfulness and should lead to repentance. Yet the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum did not repent. Before we make excuses for them that a prophet is not recognized in his hometown, these are not Jesus’ hometowns. Jesus is from Nazareth.

Many of us, as Christians, think that as long as we are saved by the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, we are okay. We have the ticket to eternal life. Why do we need to please God anymore? Why do we need to go out of our way to live a life of holiness? Is it not enough to turn up in church now and then, tithe a little and continue living the life we enjoy? It is hard to be countercultural as kingdom living is. Much easier, comfortable and be part of the in-crowd to be living as the non-believers do. In some ways, we are similar to the ancient Jews in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. They are God’s chosen people as evidenced by the Temple in Jerusalem and they have the Torah. What else is needed?

For the basis of what else is needed I will like to coin a phrase “with great revelation comes great accountability.” Yes, we have averted the eternal wraith of God but we have a moral impetus to become holy or like Christ himself. There are two judgments by God in the Bible. One is for non-Christians and the other is for Christians. Everyone has to be accountable for their own actions. For non-Christian, the Great White Throne judgment is found in Revelations 20:11-15. For Christians, the judgment at the Day of the Judgment Seat of Christ is not for the sins (which Jesus have redeemed) but for our actions (1 Cor. 3:11-15).

11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

God has not ceased to reveal himself to us. As revelation in Jesus’ time should lead to repentance, revelation in our time will cause us to become more like Christ. In other words, revelation will help to strengthen our faith and make us holy (sanctification). The impetus is for us to live holy lives so that Jesus will not denounced/upbraided/cursed our actions on earth on that fateful Day. May he instead say, “well done, good and faithful servant.”

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