Giving Account to God
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
End every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10–12)
In Romans 14, Paul dealt with the problem of Christians judging each another. There were several potential issues that could divide Christians of that time. It could be over what they ate, what days to observe as special, or several other things. It wasn’t that there was no right or wrong in these matters, but there was no clear command or universal right or wrong applying to every believer. Perhaps some Christians worshipped on the Jewish Sabbath, others on Sunday. Perhaps some felt they could eat meat, even if it wasn’t kosher; others were convinced they should not eat meat at all. The Holy Spirit had the liberty to deal with individual believers as He pleased.
The strict Christian found it easy to judge his brother, regarding him as an unspiritual compromiser. The freeChristian found it easy to show contempt against his brother, regarding him as an uptight-legalistic do-gooder. Essentially, Paul’s answer was “In these matters, stop worrying about your brother. You have enough to answer for before Jesus.”
All this does not apply to things that are clearly right or wrong according to the Scriptures. What the Bible says is sin is certainly sin. Yet there are many things about which the Holy Spirit deals with believers individually. He may say “Yes” to one and “No” to another for His reasons and as He pleases.
In these matters, it wasn’t right for believers to judge their brother. It wasn’t right to show contempt for theirbrother. Those who did those things forgot that they themselves would stand before the judgment seat of Christ. We shall all do this; every Christian will stand before Jesus. Paul used the idea of the judgment seat, sometimes called the bema seat, where the judges sat in the ancient Olympic Games. When a race or competition was over, the winners came to the judgment seat to receive their reward.
Paul also reminded believers of this judgment seat in 2 Corinthians 5:10. This judgment is only concerned with the believer’s reward and responsibility in the age to come, not with salvation. The point in Romans 14 is emphasized with the quotation from Isaiah 45:23, explaining that we all must appear before God in humility, and give account of himself before God. If this is the case, we should let God deal with our brother.
Knowing we will face the judgment seat of Christ adds importance to everything we do. Every day gives the opportunity to honor God and do things that matter for eternity. Knowing we all give account to God, we should live each day to His honor and glory.
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