Well, the U.S. government has filed charges against five major world banks, including America’s Citi-group and JPMorgan Chase, for illegal currency trading. Four of them admitted guilt and paid a $5.6 billion fine. That penalty would ruin most of us, but it hardly affected the monster financiers, who have been plundering the currency market for several years. Billions—BILLIONS—have accrued to their accounts in the process.
The interesting, or maddening, result is a lack of personal accountability. No executives in the offending banks were charged—though we’re assured they’re being investigated.
Welcome to the brave new world of sinning without accountability. It’s always the nameless “someone else” to blame for our wickedness. In this context, it’s the “corporation is wrong” mentality. As if corporations exist by themselves, with minds of their own, making moral or immoral decisions apart from ethics. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/21/15
But no; it’s individuals using their education, their lack of values, their greed to make illegal, sinful decisions. Readers: read Revelation 20:11-15 again if you’ve read it before. Read it now for the first time if you haven’t. You’ll find that individuals, not companies, corporations, or even governments, stand there, with “each person” judged “according to what he had done.” Each person. Wives can’t intercede for husbands, and vice-versa. No mother’s pleading accepted for wayward children. No elder pleading for a wayward Minister accepted.
The United States Treasury will be satisfied with an infusion of 5.6 Billion dollars from greedy banks. But those wicked, greedy executives, and whoever worked with them, can be forgiven only as individuals repenting of their sin.
When you read the book of Jude, written by the Lord’s eponymous half-brother, you’ll note that he wanted to write about the Christian’s privileges. The condition of the churches addressed forced him instead to write about the Christian’s purpose, responsibility and accountability, without which the privileges would be lost.
In Jude’s time the problem was Satan’s insinuation into the church of teachers who: encouraged license instead of discipline; co-operation with instead of opposition to existing culture; and belief in Jesus as one of many ways to God instead of God’s one and only revelation of himself.
In our time the problem is the willingness of Christians to embrace an accommodating rather than a counter-culture faith. We make peace with instead of warring against the values and beliefs of society. We want to hear about our privileges as Christians, not our purpose as Christ’s witnesses—without which our privileges will be irretrievably lost.
The men Jude proscribed were Gnostic teachers tolerated in the church despite their false doctrine. Two forms of Gnosticism existed then, and do still. The first said that matter was evil, the body was matter, and therefore evil. One must therefore treat his body harshly. That led to the asceticism of the second century and the monastic punishments of the Middle Ages. The second form said that matter, not behavior, was evil. Therefore, one could sin without punishment since no relationship existed between soul and matter. This is the more popular form today. A frightening number of believers feel free to participate in anti-Biblical behavior while claiming the privileges of Christ. Consider just two of the worst examples: homosexual relationships and heterosexual pre-marital intercourse—aka “living together”.
It’s no longer enough to ask people if they believe in Jesus. Many who continue to embrace the anti-Biblical doctrines and behaviors alone, and others, claim to. We must now go back to what Jesus made the basis of faith—and that, dear friends, is SELF-DENIAL. The basic demand of faith is self-denial. A sacrifice-filled Gospel will never tolerate a sacrifice-free message, even if we feel comfortable with it.
The reason self-denial is all important is that anyone who faithfully practices it will reject any Christ-denying doctrines and lifestyles—even if he has a weakness for them; even if culture tolerates and advocates it. A self-denying disciple knows that any teaching and lifestyle that makes grace a license, not a discipline, is antithetical to Jesus Christ’s Gospel and must be abhorred.