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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Personal Responsibility August 16


So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Rom. 14:12.

When Christ was on earth, a large part of His ministry was spent with individuals. He made extensive trips on foot just to minister to one person, such as to Zacchaeus in Jericho and the Syrophoenician woman in the area of Tyre and Sidon. Each man—every person in the singular—is Christ's concern. Each person is unique before God.

Much of modern life in one way or another operates on a mass basis. We are known and numbered according to the computers. The individual seems less important than the system to which we belong. But the Bible emphasizes one truth with great clarity, that of our individual responsibility to God. When capital and labor try to tie us in a bundle with everyone else, we are in danger of being ruined for time and for eternity. Even when the church does our thinking for us, to tell us what and what not to believe, then the pressure of organization destroys our sense of personal responsibility.

Paul states that we must "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12). We must solve the problems we have as individuals before God; no passive acceptance of truth because everybody believes it, no sitting in church with hundreds of other worshipers, can take away our sins and give us salvation. We must work out our salvation in personal penitence, personal faith, personal sacrifice, personal obedience. No one else can pray for us. No one can read the Bible for us. No one can do Christian service for us.

The Christian religion is creative. All imitative behavior is inadequate. We must have that inward understanding of the value of God's truth to which we are accountable and must bear witness. All talk of religion is fruitless unless our personal responsibility to God is given first place.

The woman of Samaria at the well might have turned her back on the stranger sitting there who asked her for a drink. But if she had, her life would have been spent in darkness. Mirrored in the eyes and the words of Jesus she caught a glimpse of God's amazing purpose for her life. From then on, that became her personal responsibility.

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