17Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.
18For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.
19For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.
21Timothy my fellow worker greets you, and so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.
22I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord.
23Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother.
24[The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.]
25Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,
26but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;
27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.
As Paul concludes his letter to the Romans, he warns them, and us, of the dangers in the world. Things to be aware of.
Those who become a hinderance to the Word and cause dissensions – we should be aware of those who try to divide the church. For we must remain united. I feel this may be a constant struggle in any church. As men try to infuse their own beliefs and thoughts into God’s Word, other jump aboard and start to believe something OTHER than the word. We must be mindful of these things. I also feel this is an exhortation to us as individuals, not just the church itself. We must be mindful of the company we keep. Certainly, as part of our mission is to witness, we aren’t to completely shut non believers out of our lives, but rather we must draw the line and not simply follow along with their way of living, lest we fall away from living the way God wants us to.
False prophets – Paul warns us of false teachers who do so only for their benefit, not to benefit the Kingdom. It is quite unfortunate but in a world and society that revolves around money, people will do anything to gain a buck. It is also unfortunate that such false prophets that have been realized have caused believers to run from the church, essentially vowing to never trust the church again. We must be wary of this and show our brothers and sisters that while these dangers and thieves exist, so do the true in heart and honest believers of Christ.
Paul mentions that the church in Rome stands out. Does your church stand out? I’m not referring to just the building, but the people inside. Are you viewed as a group of people that have “a Way about them” or simply a horde of robots that fill the building when they are supposed to.
As we learn that Paul has someone writing for him, he ends with a very positive note and one we must keep in mind. The “secret” was the prophecies in scripture that are now realized since Christ has come and gone. I feel this is something we lose sight of when reading the book of John’s Revelation. We try to decipher it, apply it to today, etc. etc. It isn’t supposed to make sense. It is to be an element of the “aha” phase when Christ returns. Sure, its intriguing to read it, study it, and try to decipher it, but we are not meant to fully grasp it until it happens. that’s the “magic” of prophecy. It doesn’t make sense until it happens. Hindsight is 20/20.
Paul’s sign off is perfect:
to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.