Monday: Before the Judgment Seat

Read Romans 14:10. What reason does Paul give here for us to be careful about how we judge others?

We tend to judge others harshly at times, and often for the same things that we do ourselves. Often, though, what we do doesn’t seem as bad to us as when others do the same thing.

Judging others

Image © Jeff Preston

We might fool ourselves by our hypocrisy, but not God, who warned us: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?” (Matt. 7:1-4).

What is the significance of the statement from the Old Testament that Paul introduced here? Rom. 14:11.

The citation from Isaiah 45:23 supports the thought that all must appear for judgment. “Every knee” and “every tongue” individualizes the summons. The implication is that each one will have to answer for his or her own life and deeds (Rom. 14:12). No one can answer for another. In this important sense, we are not our brother’s keeper.

Keeping the context in mind, how do you understand what Paul is saying in Romans 14:14?

The subject is still foods sacrificed to idols. The issue is, clearly, not the distinction between the foods deemed clean and unclean. Paul is saying that there is nothing wrong per se in eating foods that might have been offered to idols. After all, what is an idol anyway? It is nothing (see 1 Cor. 8:4), so who cares if some pagan offered the food to a statue of a frog or a bull?

A person should not be made to violate his or her conscience, even if the conscience is overly sensitive. This fact the “strong” brethren apparently did not understand. They despised the scrupulosity of the “weak” brethren and put stumbling blocks in their way.

Might you, in your zeal for the Lord, be in danger of what Paul is warning about here? Why must we be careful in not seeking to be the conscience of others, no matter how good our intentions?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons