Responsibility for Righteous Unity with Christ
A beautiful aspect of the Bible is that it is completely truthful with the good, the bad, and the ugly. God’s word is filled with accounts of flawed and faithful people. When God’s children truly take responsibility and acknowledge their own past, God’s unifying commands can be exemplified.
In regards to taking responsibility for sin, a great example of the Old Testament is Moses. By the power of God, Moses had led the Israelite’s across the Red Sea and into the wilderness to seek out the promised land. Shortly after they left Egypt, the Israelite’s began complaining and desiring to go back and be slaves because there was better food. Sometime later after quelling Korah’s mutiny, the Israelite’s reached an area called Kadesh where Moses had to bury his sister. As the assembly of Israel saw there was no water they once again began to complain to Moses and question his leadership. After hearing the people, Moses and Aaron went to inquire of God on what to do. He told Moses to take his staff and Aaron and speak to the rock in front of the assembly so that water would come out.
Numbers 20:10-11 reads, “He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, ‘Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?’ Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.” By refusing to obey God’s commands and glorify Him in front of the assembly, God’s consequence for Moses was that he could not lead Israel into the promised land. After Moses makes his mistake the Bible simply continues. There is no mention of Moses wallowing in self-pity and doubt or trying to hide sin and barter out of his punishment.
Moses, simply carried on and his actions exemplify verses written by the apostle Paul in the New Testament. Philippians 3:10-13 says, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Even though Moses made a grave mistake, it did not bar Him from Heaven or from being loved by God. God’s word describes Moses’ life in Deuteronomy 34:10-12 saying, “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”
As God’s children look back on their history, there will be a temptation to harden our hearts. The way to conquer this and have the strength to take responsibility is by remaining steadfast to God’s love. 1 John 4:16-20 reads, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment…For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” Truly recognizing and learning from the past requires taking a definite course correction. God has blessed His children with ability to repent of the sins of the past because it allows us to grow in our relationship with Him and get back on his righteous path. By relying on God’s love, we can press forward to create a better future for all men and one in which God is glorified!