#DailyDevotion Don’t Criticize Your Fellow Christian
Romans 1410I ask one of you, “Why do you criticize your fellow Christian?” Or another, “Why do you despise your fellow Christian?” We must all stand before God to be judged. 11It is written: “As sure as I live,” says the Lord, “everyone will kneel to Me, and every tongue will praise God.” 12So each of us will have to give an account of himself to God.
In Romans we first learn that both Jew and Gentile alike are condemned by God’s law. There is no one good, no not one. God shows no partiality. It doesn’t matter who your ancestor or your father is, if you do not trust God and do not obey the law, whether written by Moses or your conscience, then you are a law breaker and you are condemned by God.
We also learned in Romans that we all have been justified, declared not guilty, declared righteous by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. None of us earned this gift of salvation. It is the free gift of God. It message is proclaimed alike to all people, both Jew and Gentile. It is faith that receives and believes this message and it is faith is also a gift of God.
Ultimately, if we are saved from the judgment of God, it is purely out of the generosity of God and not because of anything in us. If this is the case the what Paul says in the verses above should make all the more sense to us. We have no room in criticizing our fellow Christians as to how they live out their Christian lives. Now we are not talking about morality here, as it is obvious from all of Paul’s letters there is a way of death and there is a way of life and he gives numerous examples of both. A fair amount of chapter 1 and 12 give us plenty of examples of both.
But in matters in which God has given us no command or matters in which we have been freed from the ritual, ceremonial and cleanliness laws, we should not judge one another if one of us does one thing and the other another. What we wear or what we do for a living should not matter much. What we eat or what days we worship on should be practiced in Christian freedom. We could even bring this to what type of musical instruments we use in worship and the style we sing in should not draw the ire of our fellow Christians (this does not excuse vacuous, insipid or doctrinally wrong lyrics though). It doesn’t excuse not getting together with fellow Christians to hear God’s words or receive the sacrament.
Nevertheless, in our daily lives we are free to do as we please in the LORD. We will stand before the LORD and all our works will be judged by him with fire. As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3, some build upon the Rock with wood, hay and stubble and others with precious gems, gold and silver. Each person’s work will be tested by fire and what remains is what makes it into glory. But it is only the fire of the LORD that judges our works, not our fellow Christians. How will our criticism of our fellow Christian’s life stand up to the fire of the LORD Jesus Christ? I doubt it will follow us into our LORD Jesus Christ’s kingdom. Thankfully, our judgment as Christians before the throne of God is not a matter of us getting in or not but rather how much of us makes it in. Paul warns us, some will be getting in like a man who escapes a burning building with just his clothes. But, by the grace of our LORD Jesus Christ, we will make it in by faith in him.
Heavenly Father, grant us wisdom and discernment so we do not criticize our fellow Christians in things that do not matter, but with brotherly love give and receive rebukes to and from our fellows so we may live a life pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.