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The Bible Teacher's Commentary
Romans 14:7-12 Personal Accountability reminds us how to properly love one another. We need to train our minds to focus on how we conduct ourselves in light of what God wants of us rather than comparing ourselves with others. Part of The Bible Teacher's Commentary on the Book of Romans.
7 “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for 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. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall 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 GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” 12 So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:7-12).
In this section of Romans 14:7-12 Paul further cautions us to focus on what God expects of us rather than what we expect of others. This extends the lesson from the previous verses on what it means to please the Lord. Paul, however, continues to remain in the same context of living with those with different standards.
When we compare ourselves with others, pride easily enters. Paul speaks of a better way. It is much more important to capture every thought and action for the Lord, that is, we live or die for the Lord.
Christ is our Lord. Lord has many possible meanings (including Yahweh from the Old Testament) but clearly he uses it to have us focus on His great governing responsibility.
We are accountable directly to our Lord. If God is Judge, why do we dare act as judge. Should we go up to His seat, push Him off, and then dare to sit in it and judge others! We have enough to do just to ready ourselves for the time we need to come before HIm. Each of us must give an account for our lives before God. Notice the different aspects of Jesus’ lordship.
We do not even live or die unto ourselves. We no longer belong to ourselves but to the Lord. If we live our lives rotating around what pleases the Lord, then truly all these discussions about how other brothers and sisters should properly treat others are really issues about what the Lord wants us to do.
Our devotion to serve the Lord with both our lives and death are only responses to God’s overall plan. He is not Lord because we serve Him, but quite the contrary. He is Lord because of who He is.
Christ humbly served that He might be Lord. Is Paul possibly suggesting that when we live humbly among our brethren during this stage of life (as Christ did) then we likewise will be greatly reward in the future (Christ’s reward)? Although this is true, we cannot be sure Paul was thinking of this here. He could have just been focusing on Christ and His rewarded position.
Paul leaves no room for judging the brethren here. He develops what was earlier stated and concludes with stronger and stiffer statements with the clear intention of humbling us before the great mighty Lord.
Paul further supports his argument by quoting the Old Testament. (This verse is also quoted in Philippians 2:10-11).
“I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance” (Isaiah 45:23).
If we dare judge another, we are usurping God’s position of Judge. This would be reprehensible. By such stern warnings, Paul is trying to bring about a real change in the attitudes of God’s people. If God’s people see their arrogance for what it is, then they will change and restoration will follow. Stern speaking is sometimes necessary.
What will your meeting before God be like? Will it go well?
Can you identify any areas in your life that you try to keep hidden from God? Expose them now and seek to please the Lord in this area.
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