God holds both angels and humans accountable for their choices.
We previously established that, in the beginning, GOD gave both heavenly and human creatures the freedom to choose how to think, speak and behave.
GOD has a will, a design for how life should work. To live according to GOD’s will is holiness because GOD is holy. However, to choose something that is inconsistent with GOD’s will is sin, regardless of intent.
GOD has a way. To deviate from that way is sin, by definition. Intent is considered when it comes to the consequences of this deviation, but it’s still sin.
Sin makes the sinner unrighteous and unholy. This creates a problem for GOD and the sinner because GOD’s just nature demands that all sin be punished.
Because all sin must be punished, GOD holds the sinner accountable for his/her choices.
GOD told the prophet Ezekiel, rather directly:
4 … “The soul who sins, he shall die.Ezekiel 18:4b OSB
And it isn’t just men whom GOD judges for their actions. He said the same thing to the angels who sinned:
6 I said, “You are gods,Psalm 81 :6 OSB
And you are all sons of the Most High.
7 But you die like men,
And like one of the rulers, you fall.”
(GOD was speaking to heavenly creatures in Psalm 82 here. Recall that “sons of God” [in the Orthodox Study Bible translation here, “sons of the Most High”] is a reference to angels.)
At the conclusion of the Bible, in Revelation, the dead earthly and heavenly beings are seen judged:
11 Then I [John] saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.Revelation 20:11-15 NIV
In fact, one of the last recorded statements of Jesus was simply:
12 … My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.Revelation 22:12b NIV
There are many teachers throughout the centuries who diminish the importance of our choices and actions, beyond that of trusting in Jesus for salvation. There is a balance to this, as we shall see, for no amount of our good choices can undo the sin we commit. At the same time, GOD cares deeply about how we live and the choices we make. To teach otherwise is, at best, dangerous.