Romans 14:11 (NIV)
It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
Our Verse of the Day affirms that ALL people will stand before the throne of God and give account. Although the immediate context is a warning about judging others regarding matters of religious practice; to me, Paul has inserted the greater issue of God’s sovereign and righteous judgment of His people. It is in this context that we are exhorted to be humble. As we read the exposition of Old Testament scripture found in Paul’s inspired writing, let’s review the context of the prophetic word he quotes:
Isaiah 45:22-24 (NIV)
“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’” All who have raged against Him will come to Him and be put to shame.
Romans 14:10-13 (NIV)
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
I think what Paul is trying to do here is remind us of the dangers of asserting ourselves or our own human judgments of how people should choose to express their reverence and worship of God – the only righteous judge of such matters. (Cf. Romans 14:1-9) Apostolic writings abound with references that instruct us to be humble, gentle, and to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Cf. Ephesians 5:21-22; Colossians 3:18; James 4:11-12; 1 Peter 2:13; 1 Peter 5:5) And this brings to mind another passage that I believe will bring clarity to the point I am trying to make here:
Philippians 2:1-11 (NIV)
Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I believe when we see the alignment of these Scriptures, we see the message of humility before God with greater precision. We should not expect people to bow to us regarding a particular religious practice or denominational creed; rather, ALL will stand before God’s judgment seat and be judged according to HIS Word! So, I will conclude here with what Jesus Himself taught in this regard and let this be our application:
John 12:44-50 (NIV)
Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the One who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the One who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So, whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
My friends, it is the Living Word of God which informs us of our Creator … our Sovereign God … our Holy Father who alone is God! There is no other! Every human being … every living creature … WILL bow down before Him! We can worship God now through faith, in the Spirit and in Truth, because that is the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. (Cf. John 4:23-24) But God has made it known … His Word is eternal … that ALL people will give an account of their lives on the Last Day. Yes, every soul WILL stand in judgment before Him! (Cf. Revelation 20:11-15)
The Truth is sobering! His Word is Truth! “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Cf. Hebrews 4:11-13) So, let us embrace the Word of God … the words God commanded Jesus to speak to us. I pray we will believe and obey Him because His command leads to eternal life! Amen.
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
Therefore, we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So, we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:6-10