Summary: Is there a way for us to make ourselves acceptable to God? The Apostle Paul teaches that such a thought is an impossibility.

“We know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” [1]

“So that every mouth may be stopped.” That is an arresting phrase, wouldn’t you agree? How does one answer when called to give an account before the Lord God? What can one say when standing before Him who holds all life in His hand? Let’s be clear about a universal event—each person must give an account to the True and Living God. Scripture cautions,

“‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,

and every tongue shall confess to God.’

“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God” [ROMANS 14:11, 12]. An account? For what are we to account?

It is a certainty that every individual will give an account to God for the investment of his or her life. What you accomplished, how you used the hours and the days you were allotted, who you influenced for good or for evil—you will give an account before the Living God of your life. Your deeds and your words are known to the Lord God; and He will reveal what we are when we give an account of our lives.

The Word of the Living God reminds us that “God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” [ECCLESIASTES 12:14]. The universal scope of that statement should give every person pause. My actions, the choices I make and the way in which I conduct my life, shall all be reviewed before the True and Living God. Such knowledge should restrain me from acting rashly or focusing only on my desires.

I am compelled to be cautious in my speech whenever I hear again the Words of the Master. “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” [MATTHEW 12:36, 37]. Imagine! Every word, including the careless words I have spoken, shall be recalled before the throne of the Judge of all the universe. My casual swearing, my harsh criticism of others, my thoughtless accusations, shall all be remembered before the Lord Christ.

What is more startling yet is that this knowledge is innate to each morally conscious individual. One may convince himself that he is okay because he hasn’t violated any of a set of moral laws which he esteems or because he is diligent in performing a set of prescribed religious rituals, or an individual may imagine that because she isn’t as bad as someone else she knows, that everything will be fine. Tragically, we often craft a god of our own making, deluding ourselves into thinking that we are okay because of the standard we have crafted. However, when we are left alone with our thoughts, we know that we must give an answer for how we have lived and what we have done with God’s mercies.

CONDEMNED! Immediately before our text, the Apostle has demolished any effort readers may have made to justify themselves. Perhaps someone imagines that he or she isn’t all that evil. They are aware of numerous other people who are more blatant than they are in their sinful proclivities. They console themselves that don’t commit any sins that are especially condemned in society—they don’t defile temples; they haven’t robbed any merchants; they never murdered anyone; perhaps they are even chaste in their language and conduct. Surely, they reason, their life is sufficiently good to compel God to accept them. They are certain that it will not be difficult to give an account of their life and conduct when called to stand before the Living God.

Paul makes an arresting statement at the conclusion of the second chapter of Romans. The Apostle wrote, “No one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God” [ROMANS 2:28, 29]. This assertion leads to the logical question, “Then, what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision” [ROMANS 3:1]? He quickly provides the answer that “the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God” [ROMANS 3:2].

Well, here is a sure thing. The Jews are God’s Chosen People. They have been entrusted with the oracles of God. So, what, if some were unfaithful? Isn’t it enough that they have this religious heritage? Surely God will accept one who is a conscientious Jew, one who has kept the Law, carefully observing all the minute tenets of that Law!

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