The ending of this letter is like Paul was trying to cram in what he thought must be said to them. Christ loved the church and therefore Paul also loved the church. He sends out an appeal, in other versions it says, “beseech” which means “I beg you urgently.” This is a cry for them to listen closely. In the KJV it says, “mark those who cause divisions and offenses” or “make note of them.” And do what? Correct them? Address them? Argue with them? NO! He says, “Avoid them!”
Why? Because false doctrine is a big deal! Really big! Proverbs 6:19 says, “a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” What is this talking about? A false witness (or one who teaches false doctrine) and a person who sows discord are among the 6 things that the Lord hates, and 7 that are an abomination to Him.
For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.Romans 16:18-20
Paul then tells us that the one who desires to divide and create obstacles in the church does not serve the Lord but rather they serve their own appetites, meaning they seek to hurt the church not love it. They often are looking for support for their cause and please themselves. One commentary asked this question, “How many local churches have been ruined in their effectiveness because someone didn’t get their own way?” He says these people use smooth talk and flattery to decieve the naive or the simple. The simple are the young in faith. We just established in “A Slow Work” that the strong are to bear with the weak (another way of saying young in faith among other things) by strengthening or to lift and alleviate your fellow brothers and sisters. He is admonishing these believers in this way because they are so famous for there witness in Christ. They already walk and talk their faith and their obedience in known to all. He is asking them to remain diligent against the attacks of the dividers and the deceivers.
Paul says, “BE WISE AS TO WHAT IS GOOD AND INNOCENT AS TO WHAT IS EVIL.” This can be seen as a principle to live by. It is better to be well acquainted with what is good, with what is geniune, than to chase down what is evil. Get to know what is good and what is evil wont have a chance to deceive you. Our true enemy is Satan and can not win against the God of peace! Because Christ has broken Satan’s power, We may claim victory now! It comes shortly once a conquest has begun. God wins, everytime!
Romans 16:21-23 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.22 I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.
Paul points out Timothy – as in the writer of 1st & 2nd Timothy, some friends, his secretary, and the one who has shown him great hospitality.
God is Able! The whole plan of redemption is through Jesus Christ.
Paul started this book saying in Romans 1: 5-6 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ” and here he ends with Romans 16:26 echoing the beginning, “has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith.”
Have you believed the gospel of Jesus Christ, if you’ve done that, you’ve exercised the obedience of faith. The gospel strengthens us in faith so that we will live obedient lives.
What kind of obedience did Paul have in mind, he left us in no doubt. Remember Romans 12:
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Romans 12:9-14,21
Thanks for Listening… reading along, and studying through the book of Romans,