It is a sobering thought to realize that we shall all have to give account before God for every action we have done, every word we have spoken and every judgement we have made.
These few verses should give all people pause to consider their lives and how they choose to live. Note these words:
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. – (Romans 14:10-12)
So let us consider some of the things these words are telling us.
One of the key issues discussed in this section of scripture is the matter of judgement and in particular, judging your brethren. We have not been called by the Lord to judge or despise our brothers and sisters in the Lord, let alone anyone else.
As Christians we are seeking and hoping for the Lord to show us mercy. On the day of judgement we would hope that God is merciful towards us for the sake of His grace.
To that end then we should consider very carefully what the bible tells us about judgement. Consider these scriptures.
For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. – (James 2:13)
First off let us realize how strongly the message of judgement sits with God. As we are seeking mercy ourselves, we too must offer mercy to others. But judgement is not about mercy. Judgement is about condemnation and we have not been called by the Lord to condemn others.
And as we see from this scripture in James 2:13, if we seek mercy, we need to show mercy. But when we judge we do not show mercy and thus will be judged according to what and how we judge. So be merciful towards all for the ultimate judge who will judge both them and you is God and He will be more lenient to those who are merciful.
Who Has The Right To Judge?
Another thing we need to understand about judgement is that we do not have the right to judge others. The bible is quite clear in a number of places that judgement rests with God alone. Note the following verses.
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? – (James 4:11-12)
As we are instructed in the Romans 14 verse under consideration, this verse again shows us that we must not speak evil against or judge our brothers and sisters. This particular verse takes this matter to an even more significant level for it tells us that those who do judge are not merely judging the actions of another but are judging God's law.
There is only one lawgiver and judge and that is God alone. So building on that statement we should understand why we should not judge our brethren.
We do not have the right to judge them for we are not the lawgivers and judges…God is. When we judge someone else we are actually sitting in the place of God and exercising a form of authority that belongs only to God. Thus we must be careful not to take what does not belong to us and use it for we will incur judgement against ourselves.
Instead, if there are actions that deserve judgement, then leave it to God to judge. Any actions or behaviours that do not accord with the will of God will be judged by Him and He will judge all things with truth and equity.
Paul gave us this good advice concerning judgement a few chapters back in the book of Romans 12 saying,
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:18-21)
Do not even judge your enemies and those who oppose you but leave it to the wrath of God. God will judge all men and His will SHALL prevail in all matters. There will be no escaping the will of God or the judgement of God for who can hide from His will and His judgement? God has said again that vengeance belongs to Him and Him alone…and He will repay in kind to those who deserve His wrath. There will be no escaping.
Instead of judging those around us, let us pray for them that they may see the light and that the Lord may show them mercy. As the scriptures above show us again and again, mercy triumphs over judgement.
Every Knee Shall Bow
Finally we must understand that the day of reckoning is coming when the judgement of God will occur. No one is exempt from His judgement for we shall all stand before the judgement seat of God on that great and final day and we shall all give account of our lives to God Himself.
The greatest opposers, the atheists, the agnostics, the worshipers of evil, the followers of false gods and every person who has ever lived or will live on this earth will come and stand before the judgement seat of God and bend the knee and bow before Him.
And they will be judged according to the lives they have led.
So too the Christians will be stood before His judgement seat and they too will be judged according to what they have done and believed in their lives. And some will not be accepted. Some who claim to be Christians today will be rejected because they were not true to the gospel of Jesus Christ but chose to go their own way.
They judged others and used the gospel as a means of worldly gain. They fleeced the flock of Christ and made slaves of His people, supposedly in the name of Christ. And they were rejected for their wrongdoing. And don't think I am just saying this. The bible clearly shows these things to be true as we see in the following verses.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' – (Matthew 7:21-23)
Here in this verse we see Jesus was speaking about people of the church. They were supposedly doing mighty works and teaching and preaching in the name of the Lord, but they were rejected because they did not do the will of the Father.
What is the will of the Father? To believe and have faith in the Son and to come to God through Jesus Christ. But these people who were rejected by Christ were seeking heaven through works and not through faith. That is why they were rejected for the works they chose to follow were to build themselves up rather than to build up the church and the people of God to the glory of Jesus Christ.
So I ask you now, how would you want to be considered on the great day of judgement when you stand before God?
I am sure you would desire to be judged fairly and to receive the reward God has set aside for all who come to Him in faith and who follow His Son, the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I know I would.
So among the many changes that He will make to your life as you walk with Christ, learn especially this one thing. Do not judge others but leave all judgement to God.
Instead, if you see your brothers or sisters struggling with the issues of this world, with the passions and desires that afflict all mankind and lead to sin, pray for them. Help them and support them. Give them someone to lean on and advise and exhort when asked for help so that they may be built up and grow. Because as sure as night follows day, both you and I are likelwise in need of this same support and help from time to time.
Be merciful to one another and do not judge for it is not our place to do so. Leave judgement to God where it belongs.
(Photo sourced from freeimages.com taken by Liz Hiers)
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