The first passage we will study that specifically mentions the judgment seat of Christ is Romans 14:7-13.
Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
I always thought that this verse was speaking to the influence my actions have on those around me. That’s a valid application of the statement that doesn’t violate the text and is supported by other scriptures, but if you examine the context (2 Peter 1:20), that’s not the meaning here. Verse 7 is defined by verse 8.
Romans 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
Look closely at that verse. When Jesus died and rose again, He became my Savior (1 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 4:15), and praise God for it, but He had something more, something greater in mind – that he might be LORD… There are many who want Jesus to be their Savior, and He’ll save whoever calls on His name (Romans 10:13), but few are interested in having Jesus as their Lord.
In all honestly, the reason I got saved is far different than the reason God saved me. I got saved for the same reason most saved people did – I didn’t want to go to hell! And because I’m saved, I’m not going to hell. Hallelujah! But that’s not why God saved me. Jesus came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21) not hell. God sent His Son to deliver us from this present evil world (Galatians 1:4) not from hell’s flames. Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity (Titus 2:14) not spare us from the lake of fire.
Again, because I’m saved from sin, I get to miss out on its eternal penalty, but that’s just one aspect of the end result of my salvation; it’s not the purpose for which God saved me. He saved me to be my Lord. He has every right to tell me what to do. And I’m best off following Him.
Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother?
Jesus died to be your Lord, not so you could be your brother’s Lord. This sentiment is repeated in verse 13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
All this leads into the heart of the passage…
Romans 14:10-11 … for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
So one day we’ll stand before the Jesus died to be our Lord. What does that mean? And what will happen there?
Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
We’ll break down that statement in the next post.