For it is written,
“AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME,
AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”
This wonderful prophecy, which comes from Isaiah 45:23, and which Paul repeats in Philippians 2:10-11, tells us that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God (Rom. 14:10). It does not mean that everyone is or will be saved.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom. 10:13). Those who call to God for salvation shall have it. But in this passage people aren’t calling to God, they are merely acknowledging him. (The original word for praise means to acknowledge.) Just as the demons acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God (Matt. 8:29), all will come to bow before God. When the Lord shows up in glory, it will be impossible not to.
The context here is not salvation, but criticism and judgment. “Why do you judge your brother?” (Rom. 14:11). Put it altogether and Paul is saying something like this: “Since we shall all be judged, let us not play judge now” (Rom. 14:13). Judging is the Lord’s job.
Further reading: “Was Paul a universalist?”
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