A Study of the Epistle to the Romans
The Christian Life as One of Consideration
"He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord." Let us turn to the other fellow who does not esteem it above other days. How does he regard it? "Unto the Lord." What is the motive of the two men? Each is seeking the honor of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is his motive. It is not the motive of either that he may go out and do as he pleases on the Lord's Day. Though their actions are different, their motive is the same.
"He that eateth," how does he eat? "Unto the Lord," and he gives thanks too. But here is the man who would not eat meat. Why? That he might honor the Lord. The motive is the same in both cases. But beware of confusion on this point. You cannot commit sin unto the glory of the Lord. That is a wholly different matter.
Paul elaborates that principle in the seventh verse: "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself." This verse has been very much misapplied and misinterpreted. We have taken it like this: we do not live unto ourselves; every action affects everyone else. That is true, but that is not taught in this verse. Paul is carrying out the thought of the sixth verse. He is saying that no true Christian lives unto himself. He lives unto the Lord, and that is the aim of every true Christian, whether he is weak or strong. It is not an exhortation; it is a fact. No man lives just for himself if he is a Christian. God is in view all the time. Not only does he live to the glory of God in this life, but even when he dies, he dies unto the Lord because the Lord appoints the time when he goes. The non-Christians do not do that. The mere professing Christian does not do that. Whether we live or die, it is for His glory. Everything is for His glory!
We have lived for His glory, now we are His! We have the same Lord, whether we are weak or whether we are strong. Verse 9 further amplifies this point. "For to this end Christ both died and lived again, that He might be the Lord of the dead and the living."
Then Paul launches into an exhortation. "Why dost thou judge thy brother?" In this question he is addressing the weak. But immediately he turns and addresses the strong: "Why dost thou set at nought thy brother?" Then he addresses both: "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." The man who is not a Christian will never stand there. There is jut one class of people who stand there before the judgment seat of Christ, true Christians. those who are not Christians will stand before the great white throne (see Revelation 20:11-15).
Verse 12 makes it clear that "every one of us shall give account of himself to God." I will not give an account for you, nor will you give an account for me. The strong will not have to defend the weak, neither will the weak have to speak for the strong.
We are all going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. But there is not a word said in this passage, nor any other passage, saying that we shall suffer penal judgment. We shall stand there and give an account of ourselves. Every deed done in the body will be exposed and an explanation given to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.
In summary, we have one aim - to glorify the Lord. We have one Lord - Jesus Christ. We shall all stand before one common judgment seat - both the weak and the strong.
~Alva J. McClain~
(continued with # 84 - " Practical Exhortations")