Responsibility is a word that is shunned by many present day cultures.  We all to often want to cast responsibility on someone else for things that have gone wrong, errors, and even our own faults.  This is human nature, as no one wants to be seen as imperfect or substandard.  This practice gets dangerous when we also try to cast responsibility for our own soul salvation upon others.  In many faiths today, people are persuaded to follow this or that leader, and believe that in the following of that leader they will get to the right place spiritually.  Many are discouraged from studying God’s word for themselves, and instead of putting their faith in God’s word, they put their faith in the hands of men- fully expecting these men to get them to where they want to be.  This causes the individual to become lazy, indifferent, and unwilling to search God’s word and seek God’s truth for themselves.  Our judgment in the end is based on our behavior in the body in relation to God’s laws, not man’s laws. 

“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” ~ Romans 2:16

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

As you can see here, no leader will take your or my place in the judgment seat.  We all must give an account for ourselves individually, and our judgment is based on the gospel- God’s written word.  In that day, many will say- “but my leader told me to do this”, yet Jesus will not know them or their leaders.  It is the same in the world today, in cases where some are “led” to commit crimes by someone else- by a ring-leader if you will.  Though they may feel like they aren’t fully responsible for their error, maybe even feeling deceived themselves- their blaming of others does not take away their conviction in court.  In some cases mercy may be shown for various circumstances, but this is not a guarantee.  For this reason, it is the personal responsibility of every grown man and woman to repent and search the scriptures daily so that they know the truth, and have the opportunity to become obedient to that truth- also known as the opportunity to “know God”.  There will be no finger pointing, as we are all given the capacity to study God’s word.  Some will choose wisely to study God’s word for themselves, while some will think it unnecessary and too much of a burden.  I do have to ask though, would anyone really want to place their only ticket to an immortal life with the Father in heaven, in the hands of another faulted and foolish human being?  We are all faulted and foolish.  Jesus put it simply to us, that the wise will “fill their lamps” with God’s word (the oil), so that their lights will burn when the time of trouble in the end comes.  The foolish will be found empty of God’s word (the same oil), and will go seeking the oil when it is too late.  The result, is the foolish virgins return and the door to the kingdom is closed.  This is the risk that many take, when they consciously decide not to study God’s word in the bible.  The knowledge found in God’s word protects us from all deception and evil. 

Why should we study the bible?- Firstly because it says so:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:15-16

We can see in the next verse that those that labor in “word and doctrine” are worthy of double honor.  This “labor” involves deep study of God’s inspired word, the truth that never changes:

“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” ~ 1 Timothy 5:17-18

Next we can see what is considered “noble” as followers of Christ- that we “search the scriptures daily”:

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” ~ Acts 17:11

The armor of God, includes the “sword”, which according to scripture is the “word of God.”

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…..And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” ~ Ephesians 6:11, 17

When Jesus was tempted three times in the wilderness by Satan, all three times, he used the word “It is written”, and testified from the Old Testament the word of God.  This caused Satan to have to leave in the end.  We too are called to use the sword of the Spirit which is found in the word of God:

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” ~ Matthew 4:4, Jesus

Isaiah in the middle of a prophecy, is quoted as saying- “Seek ye out the book of the Lord”:

Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.” ~ Isaiah 34:16

Apostle Peter commented on the importance of the scriptures as a “light that shineth in a dark place”:

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” ~ 2 Peter 1:19-21

Apostle Paul again clearly commented on the importance of the scriptures:

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” ~ 2 Timothy 3:15-17

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.” ~ 1 Corinthians 4:6

And of course, the warnings of Revelation to “read” and “keep” the sayings of the prophecy of this book:

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” ~ Revelation 1:3

“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. ~ Revelation 22:7

The prophet Isaiah probably had the most pointed instruction on discernment.  Isaiah also explains how in the bible, God has declared the end from the beginning, even from ancient times.  This entire story is found in scripture, and when studied, gives God’s children many warnings for the times in which they live:

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” ~ Isaiah 8:20

“Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” ~ Isaiah 46:8-10

The bible was given so that mankind has knowledge of the whole truth from the beginning to the end of time.  You will notice in the study of the scriptures, that there is a consistency in its message.  There is a message that has been choked out, or hidden from the eyes of many.  As warned in the scripture, leaders- men with ungodly intentions have crept in to deceive the people of God.  We are given the bible to discern those that come as messengers of God, from those that come as messengers of Satan.  All are to be tested against the law and testimony of the scriptures.  A servant of God is always willing to be tested in the light of the bible, and corrected in that same light out of humility.  A deceiver will hide the light of the bible, and insist they are above correction and reproach.  Regardless, every human being will be judged according to the light revealed to them in the law and testimony of the bible- whether they have studied it, or discarded it.  It was given so that men have no excuses at His second coming.  Remember that grace is given to those that “Repent & Obey” God to the best of their ability.  God knows all of our secrets, and all will be made known on that day.  We encourage you today, to take personal responsibility for the path of your soul by personally studying the gospel in the scriptures so that you can clearly know the truth as it is written.  In the end, we will all stand alone to be judged before Jesus, may He be merciful to us all.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” ~ Philippians 2:12