What does the Bible say about accountability?
What is accountability? Why is it important? In this article, we will be learning about Christian accountability and how essential it is on our walk with Christ.
Christian quotes about accountability
“Have people in your life that will chase you and come after you with love when you are struggling or not at your best.”
“A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person. As long as I am by myself in the confession of my sins, everything remains in the clear, but in the presence of a brother, the sin has to be brought into the light.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“[God has] helped me understand that accountability is closely tied to visibility and that personal holiness will not come through anonymity but through deep and personal relationships with my brothers and sisters in the local church. And so I have sought to make myself more visible that I may accept correction and rebuke when necessary. At the same time I have renewed my commitment to the One who is always watching and who knows every word I write and every intention of my heart.” Tim Challies
“An accountability partner is able to perceive what you can’t see when blind spots and weaknesses block your vision. Such a person serves a a tool in God’s hand to promote spirtual growth, and he or she watches out for your best interest.”
“The plain, unvarnished truth is, that every one of us needs the accountability that comes from formal, regular, intimate relationships with other godly people.”
“It’s increasingly common for Christians to ask one another the tough questions: How is your marriage? Have you been spending time in the Word? How are you doing in terms of sexual purity? Have you been sharing your faith? But how often do we ask, “How much are you giving to the Lord?” or “Have you been robbing God?” or “Are you winning the battle against materialism?” Randy Alcorn
“With power and responsibility must come accountability. A leader without accountability is an accident waiting to happen.” Albert Mohler
“The fear of the Lord helps us recognize our accountability to God for the stewardship of leadership. It motivates us to seek the Lord’s wisdom and understanding in difficult situations. And it challenges us to give our all to the Lord by serving those we lead with love and humility.”Paul Chappell
The importance of accountability
Accountability is the state of being accountable or answerable. We are liable for every action we take and every thought we have. We will one day be called on to render on account of our life. We will bear the obligation for each action, thought and spoken word. We are doulas, or slaves to Christ.
We own nothing – not even ourselves. Because of this we are merely stewards of what God has entrusted to us. We are stewards of our time, our energy, our passions, our minds, our bodies, our money, our possessions etc. Many people revel in their sins because they do not believe they will be held accountable for them.
1. Matthew 12:36-37 “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
2. 1 Corinthians 4:2 “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
3. Luke 12:48 “But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
4. Psalm 10:13 “Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account?”
5. Ezekiel 3:20 “Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.”
6. Ezekiel 33:6 “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.”
7. Romans 2:12 “For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law.”
Accountability to God
We are held accountable to God because He is perfectly Holy and because He is the creator of all things. Each and every one of us will one day stand before God and be held accountable. We will be compared to the law of God to see how well we have kept it.
Since God is perfectly holy and perfectly just, He is also a perfect Judge before whom we will stand. If we have repented of our sins, and placed our trust in Christ, then Christ’s righteousness will cover us. Then on judgement day, God will see Christ’s perfect righteousness.
8. Romans 14:12 ” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.”
9. Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
10. 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.”
11. Ezekiel 18:20 “The one who sins is the one who dies. The son shall not be punished for his father’s sins, nor the father for his son’s. The righteous person will be rewarded for his own goodness and the wicked person for his wickedness.”
12. Revelation 20:12 “I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.”
13. Romans 3:19 “So the judgment of God lies very heavily upon the Jews, for they are responsible to keep God’s laws instead of doing all these evil things; not one of them has any excuse; in fact, all the world stands hushed and guilty before Almighty God.”
14. Matthew 25:19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money.
15. Luke 12:20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?”
Accountability to others
On one hand, we are also accountable to others. We are accountable to our spouse to remain faithful. We are accountable to our parents for treating them respectfully. We are accountable to our employers to do the job we were hired to do.
Being accountable to one another is a duty. Scripture does not tell us to never judge one another, but when we must render judgement to do so rightly. We based our judgement on what God has said in His Word, not based on our emotions or preferences.
Judging one another rightly is not an opportunity to shun someone you don’t like, rather it is a solemn duty to lovingly warn someone of their sin and bring them to Christ so that they might repent. Holding one another accountable is a form of encouragement. Accountability is also keeping up with others to see how they are doing on their walk and day to day life. Let us happily root each other on along this journey of sanctification!
16. James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
17. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
18. Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”
19. James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
20. Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.”
21. Luke 12:48 “But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
22. James 4:17 “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
23. 1 Timothy 6:3-7 “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”
Accountable for our words
Even the very words out of our mouth will be judged one day. Every time we say a crass word or even use an angry tone in our words when we are feeling stressed – we will stand before God and be judged for them.
24. Matthew 12:36 “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.”
25. Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
26. Matthew 5:22 “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”
27. James 3:6 “The tongue also is a fire, a world of wickedness among the parts of the body. It pollutes the whole person, sets the course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”
28. Luke 12:47-48 “And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
Rooted in love for one another
Burk Parsons said, “Biblical accountability is first and foremost an arm around the shoulder, not a finger pointing in the face.” Being accountable to one another is a high calling, as well as a very grave responsibility.
It is far too easy to condemn someone harshly and out of pride. Where in reality, what we should do is to weep with someone over their sin against God who loves them and help them carry their burden to the foot of the cross. Holding one another accountable is discipleship. It’s encouraging and edifying one another to know Christ more.
29. Ephesians 3:17-19 “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
30. 1 John 4:16 “And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
31. 1 John 4:21 “And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
32. John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
33. Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.”
34. 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”
35. 1 John 4:12-13 “No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in union with us, and his love is made perfect in us. We are sure that we live in union with God and that he lives in union with us, because he has given us his Spirit.”
36. Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Bible verses about accountability partners
It is important to have people in your life that you can talk to. These need to be people who are more mature in the faith. Someone whom you admire and esteem their walk with the Lord. Someone who knows Scripture and lives by it. Ask one of these people to disciple you.
To be discipled is not a 6-week program. To be discipled is a life-long process of learning to walk with the Lord. During the process of being discipled, this mentor will be your accountability partner. He or she will be someone who will lovingly point out error in your life when they see you stumble, and someone that you can bear your burdens to so that they might pray with you and help you overcome trials.
37. Galatians 6:1-5 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any sin, you who are spiritual [that is, you who are responsive to the guidance of the Spirit] are to restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness [not with a sense of superiority or self-righteousness], keeping a watchful eye on yourself, so that you are not tempted as well. 2 Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love]. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something [special] when [in fact] he is nothing [special except in his own eyes], he deceives himself. 4 But each one must carefully scrutinize his own work [examining his actions, attitudes, and behavior], and then he can have the personal satisfaction and inner joy of doing something commendable [a]without comparing himself to another. 5 For every person will have to bear [with patience] his own burden [of faults and shortcomings for which he alone is responsible].”
38. Luke 17:3 “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.”
39. Ecclesiastes 4:9 -12 “Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. 10 If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble. 11 Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
40. Ephesians 4:2-3 “Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.”
Accountability and pursuing humility
Being accountable to God and others as well as being an accountability partner for someone is ultimately a call of humility. You can not be prideful and lovingly call someone else to repentance.
You cannot be prideful and accept a hard truth when someone points out the error of your way. We must remember that we are still in the flesh and still will struggle. We have not yet reached the finish line in this process of sanctification.
41. Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
42. Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
43. Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
44. Proverbs 11:2 “When arrogance comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom.
45. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
46. Proverbs 29:23 “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.” (What does the Bible say about being proud?)
God’s protection in accountability
While being told about a sin in our life isn’t a fun experience, it is a beautiful thing to have happen. God is being gracious by allowing someone to point this out to you. If we continue to sin, our hearts become hardened. But if we have someone point out our sin, and we repent, we can be restored in fellowship with the Lord and heal faster.
There are less lasting effects of a sin that is quickly repented of. This is a protective feature that God has gifted us with in accountability. Another aspect of accountability is that it will prevent us from falling into sins that we could more easily access had we the ability to perfectly conceal it.
47. Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
48. Luke 16:10 – 12 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”
49. 1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
50. Psalm 19:12-13 “But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.”
51.1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
52. Galatians 5:16 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
The power of encouragement and support
Having someone to encourage us and to support us on our journey is vital. We are communal creatures, even those of us who are introverted. We must have some form of community in order to thrive and to grow in sanctification.
This is a reflection of the communal aspect within the Trinity. Having a mentor to disciple us and to hold us accountable is a vital aspect of that community. This is the church body doing exactly what it was created to do – to be a body, a community of believers, a family.
53. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.”
54. Ephesians 6:12 “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
55. 1 Peter 4:8-10 “Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. 9 Show hospitality to each other without complaint. 10 Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties.”
56. Proverbs 12:25 “A person’s anxiety will weigh him down, but an encouraging word makes him joyful.”
57. Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.”
Accountability makes us more like Christ
The most beautiful thing about having accountability is how quickly it can spur on our sanctification. As we increase in sanctification we increase in holiness. As we increase in holiness we are becoming more like Christ.
The more quickly we can cleanse our life, mind, habits, words, thoughts and actions of sins the more holy we become. It is through a life of continual repenting from sin that we learn to hate the sins that God hates and to love the things that He loves.
58. Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
59. 1 peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
60. 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Examples of accountability in the Bible
1 Corinthians 16:15-16 “You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, 16 to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it.”
Hebrews 13:17″ Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”
While being held accountable is not a very fun feeling – the beautiful regeneration that proceeds from a life of repentance is worth it. Find a mentor to disciple you today.
Q1 – What is God teaching you about accountability?
Q2 – Do you want accountability? Why or why not?
Q3 – Do you have an accountability partner?
Q4 – How are you loving and keeping up with other believers?
Q5 – What are specific things that you can pray about today regarding accountability?