As a retired nurse I am very troubled over Romans 14:12 in relation to individuals with severe learning disabilities, such as Down’s syndrome. Also I speak of those who have major depressive disorders, of abused children, and others who have been traumatized all their lives, plus those diagnosed as manic depressive, schizophrenic, and lastly, demon possessed.
The verse you refer to reads, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” This passage is about the judgment of believers, also called the Bema Seat. It is where Christ will mete out rewards to His saints in proportion to their faithful obedience and service to Him during their allotted days on earth. Some believers will have much reward, others little or none (see 1 Corinthians 3:9–15). It is not to be confused with the Great White Throne Judgment, where unbelievers will be sentenced to an eternity of torment and separation from God (see Revelation 20:11–15).
The answer to your question lies in trusting the sovereignty and justice of God. First, God will see to it that all individuals will be at the right judgment. Second Timothy 2:19 reads, “The Lord knoweth them that are his.” The Bible also speaks of books wherein are recorded the names of all believers (Rev. 20:12, 15; 21:27). Believers will be at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Unbelievers will stand before the Great White Throne Judgment. A perfect God makes no mistakes.
Second, God is perfect in all His judgments. Unlike human beings, who are finite and cannot see every detail, God knows how to evaluate an individual perfectly. He knows what afflictions have been brought on by willful dissipation and sin. He also knows what disabilities are carried by individuals through no fault of their own. God is a just God, and He is a good God. We must trust Him. In the case of the mentally disabled, just as with babies and children who have not reached the age of accountability, God “covers” these with His grace through Christ’s atonement for the sins of the whole world. Second Corinthians 5:21 states, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Those who are unable to exercise volition due to mental impairment from birth surely are objects of God’s divine love and care.
Some students of the Word may differ. They may say, for example, that God knows if the person would believe or not if that person had normal faculties and therefore some in these situations will go to Hell. But if a student of the Word takes this position, he still can and must regard the sovereignty of God and His righteous coming judgments. It is good to be able to trust God’s perfect justice in the lives of all.
In the case of demon possession, I personally do not believe that true believers in Christ can be so afflicted, though they can be influenced or bothered by these evil forces. So in actual demon possession, we are dealing with an unbeliever. An excellent resource on this subject is the book, Demons: a Biblically Based Perspective, by Alex Konya, published by Regular Baptist Press.
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