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Why do you judge your brother?
Romans 14:10-13 The apostle Paul reminds us that we are all accountable to God and that judgment is His, not ours, to make.
“But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.”
Romans 14:10-13 NASB1995
This section of Romans is titled “Principles of Conscience” in the NASB translation, an apt description of what the Apostle Paul is teaching the church in Rome in this part of his epistle.
Paul is giving advice about what to do in the case where some of the early church members, perhaps still adhering to Jewish kosher laws, do not want to eat meat, while others are happy to chow down on cooked animal flesh. Apparently, this was causing a rift between members of the congregation, with accusations flying back and forth about who was “right” or “wrong”.
The apostle asks why the people in question feel they have to judge their fellow Christians and treat them with contempt. God will do the judging, not them! Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah as a reminder (Isaiah 45:23) that we will all give an account of ourselves to God. It’s difficult for our sinning human minds to keep from feeling that we are better than others, or that we somehow have the inside track on how to be a better Christian than the next person.
Paul’s advice is to not make this argument about what to eat (or any other question of religious legalism) turn into a judgment of our fellow Christian. Paul notes elsewhere that we all have a responsibility to lovingly admonish (Romans 15:14) or rebuke (2 Timothy 4:2) others over clear Scriptural principles, but never over doubtful things. We can provide advice to others about these things, but should never judge our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Today’s verses end with Paul reminding the readers of the epistle to stop judging each other, and to also make sure that they don’t create obstacles to others living a Godly life. What kind of obstacles? Either discouraging others by imposing legalistic rules concerning those doubtful things, or by encouraging them to sin by feeling that our assured salvation through Christ means “anything goes”!
Studying God’s Word each day gives us a better understanding of how He wants us to live, and how we can help others to live a better life through Christ.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Lord, I offer my daily thanks to You for the family of Christ that You have made me part of. May each of us recognize the need to be accountable not only to You, but to each other as well. Please help me to turn away from judging others, and to know when and how to lovingly admonish or rebuke my brothers and sisters in Christ when they are disobeying Your Scriptural principles. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN