Romans Bible Study Lesson 58

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We Will All be Judged

Romans 14:10—23

The one principle that should define our relationship with other believers is love. Everything we do is to be done in love and done for God’s glory. If Israel practiced love for each other and love for God there would have been no need for the giving of the Mosaic Law. If believers would always look out for the needs of other believers then Paul would not need to admonish us not to judge one another. We are not under Law but we fulfill the Law when we demonstrate love by building up and edifying the believers God brings into our realm. When we do this we become a functioning body where every body part is doing its share in service to the Lord. Forgive those who may have wronged you and be sensitive to other’s needs being quick to offer comfort or help as the Holy Spirit directs.

Ephesians 4:29, 32 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Verses 10—12

Notice that when you judge a fellow Christian you are showing contempt toward that person. You look at them as though you are better and you attempt to boost your own self-importance by bringing another person down. We are not qualified or authorized to judge another believer. The only time when we can judge someone is if they are overtly disregarding a clear Scriptural command. We cannot judge a person for what they are thinking nor can we judge someone negatively for an action not restricted by the Bible.

The only one qualified to accurately and thoroughly judge a person is God. There will actually be several judgments of mankind. One is the Great White Throne (GWT) (thronos) mentioned in Revelation 20. We first learn in Daniel that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. Those in Israel who are written in the Book of Life will be rescued while the dead saints will be resurrected and given eternal life. Anyone else will be sent to eternal destruction.

Daniel 12:1—2 1 “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

The GWT judgment in Revelation focuses on the unrighteous dead. At the end of the Millennial Kingdom and after Satan is cast into the lake of fire the unrighteous dead who are now residing in Hades will be judged according to their works, be found lacking and will all be thrown into the lake of fire or hell. Being judged for works hints that different levels of torment will be assigned according to what was done on earth. (Matthew 11:20—22; Luke 12:47—48; 20:47; Romans 2:6)

Satan will be released from the pit and will bring all the nations against God. God will then toss him into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7—10). The first people to occupy hell are the Antichrist and False Prophet (Revelation 19:19—20). Next, the unrighteous Gentiles who are still alive at the end of the Tribulation will be cast into hell (Matthew 25:31—46). The living unrighteous in Israel will also be thrown into hell at this time (Ezekiel 20:33—38; Matthew 24:45—51). All the unsaved dead will then be brought before God to be judged and thrown into eternal torment.

Another is the judgment of the nations in Matthew 25:31—46. I believe the term nations is better understood as being Gentiles or non-Jews. God is judging the Gentile Tribulation survivors according to how they treated Israel during the Tribulation. The unrighteous will be thrown into hell.

Paul mentions a very specific judgment in verse 10, the Judgment Seat of Christ. This concerns only members of the Body of Christ and as the GWT judgment does, judges individuals for their works. The Judgment Seat comes from the Greek word Bema and refers to a raised platform from where leaders would proclaim decisions. It was also the place from which rewards were bestowed at the Greek games.

In like manner we will be judged for how well we “ran the race.” We should run like we are going to win (1 Corinthians 9:24). This judgment is not about condemnation but reward. From 1 Corinthians 3:10—14 we learn that we will be rewarded when we build on the foundation Paul built. If we build with wood, hay and straw (things of the flesh and non-Pauline doctrine) it will be burned up. If we build with gold, silver and gems (things of the Lord in accordance with Paul) then those things will last. There also seems to be some moral accountability since we will be reporting on the things done in the body. There are many moral edicts given by Paul and by subjecting our body to these mandates we will earn reward. Even though our sins have been forgiven we are still accountable and will be judged for our actions.

From this verse (14) can understand that this particular judgment is directed at the Body of Christ since Paul uses the word we. This judgment is also mandatory. Every believer will individually be required to give an account of what he did whether good or bad. There will be nothing that we can hide from God for He knows us better than we know ourselves.

2 Corinthians 5:9—10 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Paul’s point in bringing this up is that we are not qualified to judge each other. God is the Judge of the Body of Christ and we have no right to take His place in judging each other.

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

Stumbling Blocks

Verses 13—19

Now Paul adds another criteria in our relationship with each other. We are not to cause someone to stumble and fall because of what we do in their presence. I may understand the great amount of freedom I have in Christ, but if my freedom causes a brother to stumble then I am violating the principle of love. Is it really worth drinking that glass of wine if it will cause another Christian to drink against his conscience? A person who thinks it is wrong to drink any alcohol and takes a drink is sinning. Another Christian who understands that there is nothing wrong in an occasional alcoholic drink would not be sinning while drinking the same drink as the one who thinks it is wrong. We are always to be mindful of our fellow believer and do what is best for them even if it removes some of our freedom.

Our focus should not be on what we can eat or drink but on the Kingdom of God. We were declared righteous and therefore we not only have a peace with God but we can have a peace between each other because we are in Christ. From our peace with God and peace with fellow believers comes joy.

I believe this Kingdom of God is an all-encompassing Kingdom that includes the Millennial Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Christ. The Kingdom of Christ is mentioned only by Paul and refers to the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 5:5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Colossians 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

The Kingdom of Heaven (mentioned often in Matthew) refers to the Millennial Kingdom. The government of heaven will be brought to earth with Christ as ruler.

“The invariable use of the phrase “kingdom of God,” never “kingdom of heaven” suggests that, for the most part in this area of Biblical history, the teaching deals with the Kingdom in its more universal aspect, i.e., as including the Mediatorial [Millennial] Kingdom and the Church, both of which must be regarded as within the Kingdom of God.”   Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom, page 425

Verses 20—23

In summary, we should not tear down God’s work because we would rather eat or drink or do any other thing that would cause another believer to fall into sin. Everything may be acceptable and good in God’s eyes but if you are convicted in your mind that something is wrong then it is a sin to go against your conscience. The stronger Christian is under compulsion to limit his freedom for the sake of a weaker Christian.

1 Corinthians 8:7—13 7 However not all men have this knowledge [that there is no other god except God and therefore there is no power in idols]; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. 9 But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? 11 For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. 12 And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.