Summary: Even though we are saved by grace, God will still hold us accountable for our actions.
A. The story is told of a man who died and went to The Judgment.
1. St. Peter met him at the Gates of Heaven and said, “Before you meet with God, I thought I should tell you -- we’ve looked at your life, and your really didn’t do anything particularly good or bad. We’re not at all sure what to do with you. Can you tell us anything you did that can help us make a decision?”
2. The man thought for a moment and replied, “Yeah, once I was driving along and came upon a woman who was being harassed by a group of bikers. So I pulled over, got out my tire iron, and went up to the leader of the bikers. He was a big, muscular, hairy guy with tattoos all over his body and a ring pierced through his nose. Well, I tore the nose ring out of his nose, and told him he and his gang had better stop bothering the woman or they would have to deal with me!”
3. “I’m impressed,” Peter responded, “When did this happen?”
4. The man said, “About two minutes ago.”
B. The transforming truth that I want us to wrestle with today is the truth that we are accountable to God.
1. Every single one of us will one day stand before God on Judgment Day.
2. Daniel Webster was once asked, “What is the greatest thought that can occupy a man’s mind?”
Webster replied, “His accountability to God.”
3. And oh, how right Webster was! We must keep our accountability to God at the forefront of our thinking.
4. But we must do so not so that we live in terror, but so that we live intentionally, and faithfully.
C. So far in our Transforming Truths Series, I have tried to direct our attention to three wonderfully, positive and powerful truths – God loves us, God forgives us, and God saves us by grace.
1. It is so important that we start there; to have that as our positive and secure foundation.
2. But unfortunately, some people stop there and slip into apathy – Okay, if God loves me and forgives me, and saves me by grace, then I don’t have to do anything.
3. And, if I have to do anything, then I’m not really saved by grace, right?
4. I would like us to spend some time today looking at a number of Scriptures that put forth some of these realities that seem to be in opposition to each other.
5. We need to be able to hold on to these two truths at the same time – We Are Saved By Grace and We Are Held Accountable.
6. Let’s study the Scriptures.
I. We Are Saved By Grace
A. This was the topic of our sermon last week, and let’s be reminded of that truth with a few Scripture references.
1. The Bible says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
2. Again, the Bible says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7)
3. So, from those verses it is clear that we are saved by God’s grace, not by our works.
II. We Will Be Judged By Our Works
A. While I do not believe for one minute that we will be saved by our works, or that we can work our way to heaven, the Bible is clear that we will be judged by our works.
1. Look again at 2 Cor. 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
2. Look at Rom. 14:10-12, “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
3. In both those texts we see that an appearance before the judgment seat of God includes every single one of us.
4. “We must all appear…” and “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…” and “Each of us will give an account of himself to God.”