Some time ago I read a fascinating account of the visit of Pope John Paul 2nd to his native Poland in June 1983. Many millions of Poles were encouraged by his visit and enormous throngs of worshippers flocked to various services where he was present. The most dramatic thing that took place however,was not the size of the vast crowds, but the public meeting that took place between the Pope and General Jaruzelski. The event was televised across the nation. The General stood in front of the Pope wearing coloured glasses and suited out in a green uniform. He read out a prepared statement. The Pope was dressed in white and stood a few paces away listening with a bowed head. After the statement had been read, the Pope looked up and lectured the cowed General on the problems of his homeland and the way the government was treating its people. In the Pope’s presence it was clearly seen that the General was quite literally trembling and shaking with fear. This fact was widely remarked on by all who saw it.
When I read of General Jaruzelski’s fear in the presence of a mortal man my thoughts immediately went to a prophecy in the Bible which speaks of a far more fearful appointment we must one day make; our appointment, not before another human being, but before the Living God. The Bible is unique from any other holy book in that much of it concerns “prophecies and predictions” about future events. No other religious book is like the Bible in that an amazing one third of its contents are prophetic in nature. Two particular themes in the Bible are that human beings have been given the gift of freewill and that one day every individual will have to give an account to their Creator regarding what they have done with that freewill.
Scripture teaches; “it is appointed unto all men once to die, after this, the Judgement. (Hebrews Ch 9 v27), “God will bring every work into judgement including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil” (Ecclesiastes Ch 12v14) and “at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow” (Philippians Ch2 v 10). It further states that understanding this truth of a coming judgement encourages people to resist evil and stand up against injustice. Likewise, on the other hand, when people think that there is no accountability they “cast off restraint” and behave in a selfish and immoral way and society breaks down.
In 2nd Timothy Ch 3 vs 1-5 and Ch 4 vs2-4 St Paul predicted the rise of a generation which would have no fear of God, and therefore would do whatever they wanted. Today we live in just such a generation! The more the teaching of personal accountability is dismissed, the more this generation “casts off restraint”.
Today, life is treated as cheap with murder and violent crime soaring; marital breakdown is common place as loyalty to marriage vows are disregarded and churches across the nation lie empty and abandoned. This country of ours is in crisis yet many continue to think that God will bless us and prosper us no matter how we behave! Like those described in Psalm 10 vs 11-14 many believe God can’t see what they do and “have said in their heart that God will not require an account.” No doubt General Jaruzelski never thought in his wildest dreams that one day he would be confronted by a Pope on national television. If anyone had forewarned him he would have dismissed the idea as being absurd. His lack of belief in such an occurrence did not however prevent it from happening and so likewise with the Biblical teaching of personal accountability. People may treat the idea with contempt, they may regard it with indifference, or may dismiss it as a myth, but that won’t stop it from eventually happening in reality. One day we will indeed all stand before the Judgement Throne of Christ. (2nd Corinthians Ch 5v 10).
Bible predictions and prophecies are coming to pass bit by bit with each new generation and it is a foolish person indeed who somehow thinks that this final prophecy will not be fulfilled.
So how should we be living our lives? The Bible teaches that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, (Psalm 111 v 10) so let us live each day as a gift from Him to whom we will render an account. Let us temper our words and actions in remembrance of that coming Day “and work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians Ch2 v 12). See also 1st Corinthians Ch6 vs 9-11, Galatians Ch 5 vs 19-26 and Hebrews Ch 2 vs 1-4. Let us not neglect our spiritual welfare but earnestly pray and read God’s Word. Let us so live our lives that when we stand before Him, He will say “well done thou good and faithful servant” and not “depart from Me because I never really knew you.”(Matthew Ch 7 vs 21-23).