Romans 14:4 MEANING

Romans 14:4
(4) Who art thou?--This is addressed to the weak. The Apostle indignantly challenges his right to judge. That right belongs to another tribunal, before which the conduct of the stronger Christian will not be condemned but approved and upheld.

He standeth or falleth.--It seems most in accordance with what precedes to take this of judicial condemnation or approval from the Master whom he serves--i.e., Christ.

Holden up.--The same word as that in the clause following, and similar to that in the clause preceding--"Made to stand."

God is able to make him stand.--The true reading here is "the Lord"--i.e., Christ; the word is the same as "his Master" above. "Make him stand" seems to be still judicial. "Secure his acquittal," but with reference to his previous course of conduct on which that acquittal is grounded. The trial is not necessarily reserved for the last day, but is rather the judgment which Christ may be supposed at any moment to pass upon His servants. If they can sustain this judgment, it is only because His grace has enabled them so to act as not to be condemned by it.

Verse 4. - Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? (observe the emphatic position of σὺ) to his own lord he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be made to stand: for the Lord (better supported than God, as in the Textus Receptus) is able (or, has power) to make him stand. The standing or falling here spoken of may be taken to mean standing firm in, or falling from, a state of grace (cf. Romans 11:20, 22), rather than acceptance or rejection at the last judgment. "For God is able," etc., seems to require this meaning. The non-abstainer's freedom does not endanger his position; for God is powerful to sustain him, and to God alone he is accountable.

14:1-6 Differences of opinion prevailed even among the immediate followers of Christ and their disciples. Nor did St. Paul attempt to end them. Compelled assent to any doctrine, or conformity to outward observances without being convinced, would be hypocritical and of no avail. Attempts for producing absolute oneness of mind among Christians would be useless. Let not Christian fellowship be disturbed with strifes of words. It will be good for us to ask ourselves, when tempted to disdain and blame our brethren; Has not God owned them? and if he has, dare I disown them? Let not the Christian who uses his liberty, despise his weak brother as ignorant and superstitious. Let not the scrupulous believer find fault with his brother, for God accepted him, without regarding the distinctions of meats. We usurp the place of God, when we take upon us thus to judge the thoughts and intentions of others, which are out of our view. The case as to the observance of days was much the same. Those who knew that all these things were done away by Christ's coming, took no notice of the festivals of the Jews. But it is not enough that our consciences consent to what we do; it is necessary that it be certified from the word of God. Take heed of acting against a doubting conscience. We are all apt to make our own views the standard of truth, to deem things certain which to others appear doubtful. Thus Christians often despise or condemn each other, about doubtful matters of no moment. A thankful regard to God, the Author and Giver of all our mercies, sanctifies and sweetens them.Who art thou that judgest another man's servant,.... This is another reason, dissuading from censoriousness and rash judgment, taken from civil things; one man has nothing to do with another man's servant; he has no power over him, nor any right to call him to an account for his actions; nor has he any business to censure or condemn him for them, or concern himself about them: so the believer supposed to be judged, does not belong to him that takes upon him to judge and condemn him; he is another's servant, he is the servant of God: he is chosen by God the Father for his service, as well as unto salvation; he is bought with the price of Christ's blood, and therefore not his own, nor another's, but Christ's, he is bought with his money; and he is also born in his house, the church; the Spirit of God in regeneration forms him for himself, for righteousness and holiness; under the influence of whose grace he voluntarily gives up himself to the service of God, and is assisted by him to keep his statutes and do them; and what has another to do with him? what power has he over him, or right to judge him?

to his own master he standeth or falleth, the meaning of which is, either if he "stands", that is, if he serves his Lord and master, of which "standing" is expressive; and continues in the service of him, whose servant he professes to be; this is to his master's advantage and profit, and not to another's: and if he "falls", that is, from his obedience to him, as such who profess to be the servants of God may; they may fall off from the doctrine of grace they have embraced; and that either totally and finally, as such do who never felt the power of it in their hearts; or partially, from some degree of steadfastness in the faith: and such also may fall from a lively exercise of the graces of faith, hope, and love, and into great sins, which is to their master's dishonour, and cause his ways and truths to be evil spoken of; and so it is to their own master they fail: or else the sense is, to their own master they are accountable, whether they stand or fall, serve or disobey him; and it is according to his judgment and not another's, that they "stand", or are and will be justified and acquitted, and will hear, well done, good and faithful servant; and according to the same they will "fall", or be condemned, and hear, take the slothful and unprofitable servant, and cast him into outer darkness: so the words "standing" and "failing" are used by the Jews in a forensic sense, for carrying or losing a cause, for justification or condemnation in a court of judicature, and particularly in the last judgment: and so they explain Psalm 1:5, "the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment": the Targum paraphrases it,

"the wicked shall not be justified in the great day;''

and Jarchi upon the place says, there shall be no , "standing of the foot" of the wicked, in the day of judgment; see Luke 21:36.

Yea, ye shall be holden up; which words seem to be a sort of correction of the apostle's, as if he should say, why do I talk of falling, one that is a true servant of the Lord's shall not fall, at least not totally and finally, nor in the last judgment; for he is holden by the right hand of God, by the right hand of his righteousness, and is kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation:

for God is able to make him stand; and will make him stand: words of power oftentimes include willingness as well as ability; see Judges 5:24. God will make such to persevere to the end, because he has loved them with an everlasting love, chosen them in Christ, made a covenant with them in him, and has put them into his hands, and made them his care and charge; Christ has redeemed them by his blood, now intercedes, and is making preparations for them in heaven; they are united to him, and are built on him, the sure foundation; and the Spirit of God has begun that good work, which shall be performed. God will make such to stand in judgment with intrepidity, and without shame, being clothed with the righteousness of his Son; and shall therefore have the crown of righteousness given them, and an abundant entrance administered into his kingdom and glory: hence they ought not to be judged by man's judgment, nor need they regard it. The Alexandrian copy reads, "the Lord is able", &c.

Courtesy of Open Bible