Christian Accounting 101

by Dennis Michelson
(Painesville, Ohio)

I Corinthians 13:5 - "thinketh no evil."

Introduction: One of the most radical concepts in the New Testament is that of biblical, Christ-like love. When you reflect upon it then you will begin to see the importance of the concept. Sadly, the world in general and some Christians in particular have fallen prey to a false concept of what it means to love biblically.

In this text Paul states that such love thinks no evil. The important term here is the Greek word LOGIZOMAI. It is used over 40 times in the New Testament and it is a well-known accounting term in Koine Greek. The world thinks of love as a matter of feeling based upon superficial attraction.

The accounting process for unbiblical love goes something like this - "You relate favorably to me and I will respond in love to you." Of course in this accounting process one must keep strict records and catalog or tally how everyone else treats you.

Now comes the radical part - Paul says biblical love does not keep records or accounts. That is exactly what "thinketh no evil" means. By comparing Scripture with Scripture you can see this clearly in II Timothy 4:16 where the Apostle again uses this same term.

He has been hurt or harmed by someone and simply states that he prays that this wrong "may not be laid to their charge." What would your life be like if you loved in such a way as to never think evil, or keep accounts? The following questions will help us see what that is like.

1. What Does the Term Mean? (LOGIZOMAI)

In ancient Greek the word was used in at least two different ways but common to both was the thought of acting or thinking in accordance with strict logical rules. This is a far cry from the feeling-oriented love we know today.

In commercial language it was used of reckoning or evaluating something according to a fixed standard. This would form the basis for charging someone a debt or not. A deliberation would be made - based upon a fixed standard - to determine if someone owed you something.

2. What Does the Term Imply?

  1. It implies that you cannot forgive yourself. Modern-day psychobabble speaks much of "forgiving yourself" as if it is some kind of therapeutic. Your debt is ultimately to God and not yourself. Not only are we bereft of all power to forgive offenses concerning ourselves, the offense was committed against God.

  2. It implies that you cannot refuse to forgive others. You cannot refuse to forgive others unless you are keeping an account of what they have done to you. When we love biblically then we should have nothing on the books concerning the offenses of others.

  3. It implies God has forgiven you. If you are a Christian then read Romans 4 very slowly and prayerfully. The passage is a veritable catalog of the use of the term LOGIZOMAI -

    4:3 - Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness

    4:4 - Now unto him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt

    4:5 - But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

    4:6 - Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto who God imputeth righteousness without works.

    4:8 - Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

    4:9 - . . .for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

    4:10 - How was it then reckoned?

    4:11 - . . .that righteousness might be imputed unto them also?

    4:22 - And therefore it was imputeth to him for righteousness.

    4:23 - Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him.

    4:24 - But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.

3. How Can This Accounting Message Change Your Life?

  1. You can focus on God's estimation of you and not your estimation of yourself.

  2. You can love and forgive others, even if you do not like them (or what they have done to you).

  3. You can relax in the grace of God.

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