For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” Romans 14:11 (NAS)
The apostle Paul pulls another quote from the scroll of Isaiah here in the inspired letter to the Roman church.
The passage Paul refers to is in Isaiah 45, verse 23 which reads: “I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” Now in context of the letter to the Romans, the apostle cites this passage in reference to improper judgment of a brother or sister who is acting in faith regarding personal decisions they make about such things as food or “holidays” (this writers paraphrase) with which we may disagree. It’s not about judging them, it’s about what can I do to help them walk and grow in faith. There is a principle here, though, that the apostles and New Testament prophets put forth throughout the New Testament letters of the importance, yeah the imperative, of turning the brethren to the word of God as the means of proper perspective and judgment, in particular, God’s judgment concerning all things. This verse is very similar to another in the book of Isaiah that is more familiar to many of us that may have been on the mind of Paul as the Holy Spirit moved him to transcribe his letter through Tertius, (Rom. 16:22) his faithful scribe. “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11) The apostle goes on to remind the brethren that what “was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus; that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 15:4-6) We can easily see then, that the Lord preserved His word that we would develop perseverance, encouragement, hope and unity when working together as the context contends. There is similar verbiage penned by Paul to the Philippian church regarding every knee bowing: “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10-11) Now, go back and check out the context of the verses preceding this inspired statement of Paul’s. Guess what you’ll see? Unity that comes from humility with a proper perspective and consideration of service to our brethren’s needs and interests first. It’s not about me being right but rather about me helping my brethren walk righteously in his or her faith. However, no one will entrust themselves to the word of God and implement it unless it has first been proven that His word that went forth actually did accomplish that for which it was sent. Thus the critical first step of convincing ourselves and those we study with, proof that the Bible is the word of the one true God. Indeed, the LORD holds Himself to that standard as is born out in a previous verse in Isaiah 45:21, “Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.” Brethren, this is but one verse of several in the book of Isaiah where the LORD points out that it’s ok to check the record of His word as having been faithfully executed. Once that is established, whatever the word of God calls us to observe or practice in the New Covenant in Christ, we willingly and confidently do so! God’s plan for diverse groups of people to work effectively together in the church rests upon our trust and total reliance of the completed word of the Lord having been “delivered once for all.” (Jude 3) This great miracle of God’s word preserved is an awesome gift. God has spoken! There are false brethren who will try to turn you away from it saying, “God put something on their heart” other than what the word clearly states. The Spirit says “do not despise prophetic utterances.” (1Thes. 5:20) Confidently go with what God has said!