V7-87For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;8for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.. We are to “live for the Lord” and to “die for the Lord”. Everything is for the Lord. Today and tomorrow. When you gave your life to the Lord and started listening to His commands, was He oppressive? No, it was liberating when you made the choice to surrender to the Lord Jesus. From the moment you surrendered to Him, you became completely His.
V99For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.. Once it appeared as if you were your own boss, but in fact you were a slave of sin. Therefore, it can only be liberating to belong to Someone who has died and become alive again.
The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus have been spoken of extensively in Romans. The Lord Jesus rules over the living and dead now, and that includes you too.
V10-1110But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.11For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.”. Because of that fact, you can’t enter into the rights of the Lord by judging or despising your brother. I don’t say this is what you’re doing, but these verses aren’t put here for nothing. God knows how we can talk about one another. Every Christian is able to make these two mistakes. Denying this means you don’t know yourself. And self-knowledge is an important weapon to guard you against these dangers.
Even more important than seeing these dangers is thinking of God’s judgment-seat. We all will stand before it once. This is a compelling thought. A judgment-seat, not one on which an earthly and fallible judge will sit, but a Judge Who has perfect knowledge of all we have said and done. He will review all our motives. He knows exactly why we did or didn’t eat some food. He knows exactly why we observed certain days as sacred or why all days were the same to us. He will make it perfectly clear on which points we have judged or despised our brother. And He will show us that the other was living for Him too.
As a reminder, these verses are not about wrong and sinful things such as immoral conduct and wrong doctrine. If we see something wrong in someone else, we must say something about it to them. We do this because of other verses in the Bible. Here we have our personal consciences. The conscience is not a perfect guideline for our lives; only the Word of God is such, but God will take the conscience into account. And this is what we must do in dealing with others as well.
V1212So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.. The fact that a moment is coming when each of us will render a personal account to God, will have a positive effect upon us today. When I’m thinking of God’s judgment-seat before which I’ll have to stand, I want to live now as if I’m already now standing before it. Therefore I want to give a daily account to God.
V1313Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.. This thought then will bring us to the conclusion that we shouldn’t judge each other. We’ll leave that to God. Everyone will personally bow before God and recognize Him as God. This makes us realize how small we are.
This also makes us very careful in expressing our criticism of what a brother or sister feels he or she must do before the Lord. In our attitude, we’ll be careful in what we think we should or should not do before the Lord. It is possible too that our behavior is a stumbling block for spiritual growth to our brother who is a recent convert or who has little knowledge of his position in Christ. If you say you’d like to serve the Lord, everything you do has a considerable influence on those who want to serve as well, while having a different understanding of certain matters of personal conscience.
V1414I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.. You may be convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself. Here it’s not the uncleanness found in the world, but certain Old Testament regulations. For example, in those days someone could become unclean by touching or eating something that was declared unclean by God.
This is no longer the case. God looks at every Christian in connection with Christ’s work. Someone who still thinks some things are unclean, shows he hasn’t appropriated the full freedom in Christ.
Keep it always in your mind that here we have the personal conscience and the differences that can result in living the life of faith. The following verses make it clear how you should deal with this.
Now read Romans 14:8-14 again.
Reflection: What is your reaction when you think of God’s judgment-seat?