Summary: Shades of opinion in the Christian church. We shall all appear before Christ.
This passage has much to say about receiving one another in the Lord. Paul defines “the weak in the faith” (Romans 14:1) as those who have scruples about what they eat (Romans 14:2). Do not “despise” them, warns Paul; but he also warns the weak not to “judge” the strong “for” (he says of both) “God has received him” (Romans 14:3).
Another reason not to reject somebody whom God has received is because that is to set oneself up as a judge over “another man’s servant”. “To his own master he stands or falls”. And, indeed, he will be upheld, “for God is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:4).
In a second point of contention, “One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day (alike)” (Romans 14:5a). These are really “doubtful disputations” (Romans 14:1), and should not cause us to judge or despise one another. Only, says Paul, “Let everyone be fully persuaded in their own mind” (Romans 14:5b).
Here is the key: Whatever you do, do it “unto the Lord”; and whatever you eat, give thanks to God (Romans 14:6). “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself (alone). For while we live, we live unto the Lord; and when we die, we die unto the Lord: so whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:7-8). This is why Christ “died and rose and lived again: that He might rule over the dead and the living” (Romans 14:9).
“Why do you judge your brother?” Paul asks the weak; and “why do you set at nought your brother?” he asks the strong, “for we shall all stand at the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10). In the context, this “all” is referring to Christians, whether “weak” or strong: all of whom “God has enabled to stand” (Romans 14:4). These are those who are ‘born again of the Spirit of God’ (cf. John 3:5), all of whom have ‘passed from death unto life’ (cf. John 5:24), each a ‘new creature’ in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The Greek “bema” - translated “judgment seat” in Romans 14:10 (and Matthew 27:19) - refers to a raised dais, a tribunal (cf. Acts 12:21) or throne. However, the judgment being exercised on this throne of Christ is not a judgment of final destiny as in John 5:28-29, but a judgment of reward (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:10-13; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 4:17-19; 1 John 2:28). If we are believers, we already have ‘everlasting life’ (cf. John 5:24) because the condemnation which we deserved has already fallen upon Jesus at the Cross of Calvary (cf. Romans 8:1).
In Romans 14:11 the Apostle offers a free translation of Isaiah 45:23. That which is applied to God there is clearly applied to Jesus Himself in Philippians 2:9-11. Jesus is God the Son (cf. Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13).
Again, in completing today’s passage, we are reminded that “Every one of us shall give account of himself (not his brother) to God” (Romans 14:12; cf. Galatians 6:4). ‘He that judges me is the Lord’ (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:4-5). So, ‘Judge not that you (all) be not judged’ (Matthew 7:1).