31 Jan 2004

The Sin-Accountability Factor

Submitted by theshovel
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There are several Bible verses - especially ones like...

Confess your sins to one another...James 5:16

...that seem to support the premise of the contemporary sin-accountability factor. Then again, it all depends upon the premise by which one reads such statements. Of course, if writers like James were actually promoting a sin-conscious structure along the lines of the many we have created (such as the Accountability Group) then how is it that our results are in direct contradiction to theirs? In other words, our systems continually squash the very freedom and honesty the NT writer proposed as having been established in Christ.

The premise behind the accountability group is that believers need to relate to one another, as well as to God, through sin-awareness. The expectation assumes that in keeping sin under control we might achieve deeper relationships with both God and also those born of Him. But it is doomed from the start because a program of sin-accountability lies within the realm of law, which only brings death to living relationships. The accountability factor of the Accountability Group ignores the completeness of Christ, for he was already held accountable for sin's demand upon us. His death removed us from it, his life brought us into a realm where sin has neither place, nor meaning.

Can we effectively relate to one another without the premise of sin-accountability? It is in fact the only way we CAN relate. Under the premise of sin-accountability we only learned how to relate to one another on the basis of sin, and therefore, to the old existence that was attached to sin. In our attempts to deal with one another we have only managed to push each other away from any real dealings by constantly re-establishing those done-away-with identities.

Sin-accountability puts us into a nether-world where relationship is not a matter of life, but of death. It forces us to identify our true beings as still connected to sin so that it seems fitting to relate as one corpse to another. Though we are even now standing in the full light of the kingdom of Christ our practices of sin-accountability (whether in group form or simply through personal habit) defy the reality of his life in every conceivable expression. Nevertheless, that reality remains. May the Father of all true understanding cause us to see that life in which we have been truly made alive!

New Testament: 


Jim, I remember this sin accountability stuff. I remember it was sort of served up as a way to keep one another accountable when we were tempted to do something we were “struggling” with. In those moments of weakness. If it was anger, then we could call the accountability partner and pray. If it was lust..then the same thing. lying..the same. To me, it never seemed to keep my eyes on sin.[I didn’t seem anything but harmless..and kind of freeing..and in some cases VERY freeing] I actually kind of liked it UNTIL there was something that was way too personal that I just wasn’t willing to pray about or have help in.[from ‘god’ or anyone else for that matter] Then THAT served as a reminder of sin. Because every time I would interact with my accountability person ..that issue/sin would be on my mind. I felt..like a dirty little rat for hiding away. I have just come to know that there are things in life that we just can’t/won’t change about ourselves..accountable or not. Though I had learned to rely and depend on Christ for many, many things in my life, there was always at least one thing I wanted Him to have no part of. I guess that is just as well, for had I gone on that way..I would have just learned to pat my self on the back for achieving yet another level of holiness in my actions. Or obedience. For I could see myself learning to compare myself to others who were still sinning.
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These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: Jan-31-04 by Angie

Jim... Jimmy... Jimmy-boy... Shovel-dude!!!!!!

You hit the nail on the head! Freedom from sin through Christ is actually that... FREEDOM FROM SIN! Not another system by which to manage it, while we spend our entire lives focused on it and, at the same time, denying what Christ has given us... kinda defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

I loved what you wrote! Can you tell?


Posted: Jan-31-04 by guest

Hi Jim i was involved in the promise keepers and one of the promise was to be accountable to someone to confess sins and get help threw relationship with accountability partner.But only brought temporary relief and when you keep doing the sin of confession it only got worst.

Now that i see am free from my accountability i still may sin but it no long has a hold on me because Jesus Christ became accountable for all sin and we can now focus who we are in Christ totally love and forgive by God.

Now that i see this i can tell others that He loves them and has forgive them and begin to see who they are in Christ.

Thank God for His never ending love and forgiveness.Dan

Posted: Jan-31-04 by Neil


Aren't we seeing these AGs as having a similar role as that of the intercessor/confessor in the Catholic Church, as a something to give us further evidence that our sins are somehow blotted out or atoned for by our actions and not necessarily by Christ? It's another way, as you stated, of keeping sin and sin awareness alive in us so that some person or group can be give credence for their existence.

Kind of like, if there was no sun there would therefore be no need for sunscreen. But there is. If Christ did indeed completely (COMPLETELY!!!) do away with sin, as you and I believe He did and is taught by Paul, et al, then the need for such groups, priests, intercessors, confessors, etc. and so forth would vanish.

So it became and has become necessary to reintroduce sin and, consequently, its awareness and the need to be dealt with all over again and again, ad infinitum. What do you think?


Posted: Jan-31-04 by the shovel

Yes, Neil, my friend, a similar role indeed.

You wrote:

« so that some person or group can be give credence for their existence »

There are two common business leadership practices that come to mind in reading that:

1) The struggle to justify, or validate, one's position.
2) The struggle to establish job security.

Religious men and women must do the same, which is why the real gut-level truth of Christ's total doing away with sin simply cannot be allowed to be held by anybody. Not if they want to keep their job, that is. And yes, if we can't handle the truth that Christ completely did away with sin, then we will find it necessary to keep those bogus positions functioning in order to validate our own desperation for the premise of forgiveness they offer. Talk about a desperate vicious co-dependent relationship! Sheesh!


Posted: Jan-31-04 by Michael Daniel

Hey Jim,

You know, brother of mine, it just makes me tired all over when inflated egos try to systematize the FINISHED work of Christ. With all the "How To's" out there you'd think we get Jesus on an installment plan.

Could it be that blasphemy of The Holy Spirit is simply not acknowledging His indwelling us and turning to any and all outside influences? Could it be that constant focus on sin is the very thing that keeps us from hearing His Holy Voice from within us? Could it be that trying to be accountable for sin to others puffs us up with the attitude that; "Well, I'm doing what God wants me to do because I'm telling my brothers and sisters what a bad boy I've been. That'll make God wanna give me a cookie for sure."?

Give me a blessed break please! "IT IS FINISHED!!!" If it ain't...none of us have a snowball's chance in hell.

Love ya Bro,


Posted: Feb-01-04 by Richard

Hell, "snowball's chance"-what the hell is HELL??????

Posted: Feb-01-04 by Becki

Thanks! I really like what you had to say about accountability groups.

Love to you and beautiful Sherri!


Posted: Feb-01-04 by guest

This is great, I love it! If I had to sum it up, although there are so many passages that address our relationship to sin, Paul really hit it in Romans.

Romans 5:13 "For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law."

Rom. 7:6 "But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter."

Rom 7:8 "But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead."

Okay, being alive in Christ, we are not under law, and without law sin does not exist...

Kind of straight forward, but then again I am of southern education.

A son,


Posted: Feb-03-04 by John E

So true--for ALL sin-focused systems by which we try to perfect dead and decomposing flesh! Jim, your response is so clear here that I'm compelled to save it as a reference work for future encounters with this condition. All such systems and programs fly in the face of Hebrews 9 & 10 whose subject is the awareness of sin (note Heb 10.2 & 22) that was purged by the Once-For-ALL sacrifice of our Lord.

Livin' the One Life, john

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