ROM. xiv. 12. “So then every one
of us shall give account of himself to God.”
WHEN St. Paul says that every man shall give account of
himself to God, he makes one of the most solemn state-
ments that are to be found even in his Epistles, and which
must have at once lifted the thoughts of the apostle’s
Roman readers above their little controversies into a higher,
I. We have here a broad statement as to something
which every human being has to do. Every one of us is
accountable to God. Responsibility is one of those great
words which, if they are dwelt on, shape the thoughts,
the wills, the lives of men. It invests every life, whether
near or remote, in high or low station, with an equal
II. What man is responsible for, and the ground of that
responsibility. Every man is to give an account of him-
self, of what he did or left undone, of the drift and current
of his earthly life. And the ground why a man is thus
responsible is, that the course of his existence is a matter
of choice. We are what we have made ourselves. Our
responsibility begins exactly when our power of choice
begins. It would be easy for many of us to give an
account, and more or less exhaustive, of others, but it is
of ourselves that each must give account.
III. To whom is this account to be given? To God.
Responsibility is the law of human society. Every man is
responsible to some other man—but there is one Being to
whom all must give an account, the eternal God. All the
veils which hide us from each other—which hide us from
ourselves—will drop away before the glance of His eye.
If we could live in the daily remembrance of this truth, it
would do three things for us—
1. It would be a check upon us.
2. It would prove a useful stimulus to our life.
3. It would be, like the old Jewish law, a schoolmaster
to bring the soul to the feet of Jesus.
It makes us think over our lives, and what weakness,
perverseness, and indifference we find in them! So we
are driven to our Lord for pardon and for strength. We
can do all things through Christ that strengthens us; and
so with His cross before our eyes, with His presence and
blessing in our souls, we look forward to our account with
trembling joy. It had been impossible to stand before
His throne unbefriended and alone; but He in His gen-
erous love has delivered us, if we will, from our strongest
enemy, and has already covered us with His robe of right-
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.