for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (ESV)
When it comes to judging our brother or sister in Christ we are given a reality check by the Apostle Paul. When we pass judgment on our brother it is as if we are setting ourselves up as judge over our brother. Paul tells us here that we are not the judge. God is the judge that not only our brother will stand before; but all of us will stand before the Lord.
This verse is in the context of Christians judging other Christians, but Paul is bringing up a bigger concept. The bigger concept is that not only Christians will bow their knee to God as the ultimate judge, but all mankind is included in this idea of judgment. Every single person, whether they have placed their faith in God or not, will bow before God.
I have often said that "Every knee will bow; some willingly, some not." Consider the sinner who has lived his whole life in rebellion to God's Law and rejected the sacrifice of God's Son, Jesus Christ. Do they get away with their rebellion? No. Even in the eternal fires of hell, they will have to declare that Jesus Christ is Lord. They will bow. Willingly? No. But they will bow just the same.
Paul told the church at Philippi a similar thing in Philippians 2:10–11. In those verses he says, "So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." If everyone is going to bow their knee to God, and honor Jesus Christ, our role of judge is resigned to the ultimate judge.
Are you ready to stand before the judge? The way you know the answer to that question is to ask if you are bowing your knee now. If you can bow your knee before the Lord today, and declare Jesus as your Lord, you will be ready to do so when you stand before him.