Stand or Fall (Romans 14:4)

Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Romans 14:4

Believers are just as guilty as everyone else of judging one another. Sometimes, I think we are more guilty of it. Paul, in the verses surrounding this one, is talking about how some believers could eat whatever they wanted while others had dietary limitations — i.e. some folks ate any old food while others could not eat food that had offered to idols because they still thought of the idol as something. Paul was also talking about how some people observe certain days while others do no such thing — think Lent. In this context, Paul writes a question and answers it.

The question: Who are you to judge the servant of another? The question would have sounded absolutely absurd to his audience. It would be like someone asking me who I am to comment on the day-to-day performance of a friend’s BMW. While my friend might let me drive his car, this does not qualify me to give insightful commentary on how the vehicle performs day-to-day. I just do not know. For that matter, not being a BMW owner, I am not even certain that I know how a BMW should perform. All of that to say that I am not qualified to give intelligent or useful commentary on how that car performs. Likewise, I lack the necessary understanding to be able to give any useful insight as to how my brothers and sisters in Christ are doing in their walks. Should they eat certain things or abstain from them? Should they observe certain celebrations? What about clothing? Tattoos? Piercings? Music? The list is endless. The answer I must give to Paul’s question, if I am honest, is that I am no one; I am unqualified to judge my fellow servants of God.

Paul then continues to comment that To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. There is more than one idea in this statement, and both of the things I see packed up in here are comforting to me. To his own master he stands or falls. I am comforted by the knowledge that I will not be judged by human standards, but by God’s. The Bible gives me great hope and comfort on this count and leaves me with every reason to trust that God will find me righteous based on the righteousness of Christ and not one thing I have ever done. But Paul continues on to say that he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. There are things with which I struggle and fail and fall and get up and try again. The message that I get this morning is simple: God is able to make me stand. It is not by any effort of mine that I will stand, but by God’s doing.

Let my fellow believers stand or fall as God is able to make them stand. What things they do, they do to please our Lord and God. If He is pleased with them, who am I to be otherwise?

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