Romans 14:10-12: The Judgement Seat of God
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In the human heart lies a contradiction, we all want justice but we don’t want God as a judge. In every culture and human experience there is a cry for justice, an outrage and a desire for a reckoning where the truth will come to light and those who have been oppressors and done evil will receive their due. We can all think of someone who we think deserves to be judged, but how many of us would volunteer ourselves for judgement? The Bible reveals that it is right that we have this instinct to want to see justice done, and wrongs righted, but we are wrong in thinking that our measuring stick of justice is the correct measure, that our opinion of who should be judged and how is the correct one. One day there will be a day for justice; it is called the Day of Judgement, or the Day of the Lord. For that is the Day He will come to right all wrong and punish all crimes, and remake all things anew. It is to this reality Paul turns our minds as he continues in Romans 14:10-12, ‘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.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.’
The tone of these verses is very sharp, Paul addresses them directly, ‘you.’ He uses rhetorical questions to rebuke both the weak and the strong, ‘Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother?’ Paul leans hard on these judgemental and despising Christians. He has told them that it is the duty of a Christian to please God not you, and now he points out explicitly that God is the one who will weigh our deeds and that every person will stand before God. We have discussed in looking at v4 how God has already ruled and justified the Christian and so we cannot have an opinion of them that contradicts that. Now we want to look at further details added here that Paul tells us about God’s judgement. We will observe three things: Paul tells us about the inescapable reality of judgement; he alludes to the fact that the judgement will be universal; and he gives us some details of the nature of the judgement.