Our journey through the book of “Romans” is drawing to a close. We listen to the closing words of the apostle as with a true shepherd heart he sounds the alarm. In our former lesson we were in the midst of a happy group of believers, a precious circle of fellowship. It is just that that Satan seeks to destroy, so Paul warns against
The Work of the Enemy, vs. 17-18.
They were to mark those who caused divisions. Scattering the sheep and causing them to stumble is not a shepherd’s work, it is always the work of the enemy. These false teachers might try to deceive with “good words” and “fair speeches” but they were not the servants of Jesus Christ, they were seeking a place for SELF.
The Safeguard for the Saints, vs. 19.
Simple obedience to the word of God keeps the soul from every snare. A child, nearing the precipice, lured on by a beautiful butterfly it was seeking to catch, heard the mother’s voice calling. Instant obedience to the mother’s call saved the child from possible death. Where there is this obedience we need not to be informed regarding the various forms of evil. “I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil” writes the apostle. Whilst guiding a vessel through a dangerous bit of sea the captain was asked by a rather uneasy passenger if he knew every rock in that region so as to be able to avoid them. “No,” answered he, “I do not, but I know the safe channel.” It is enough to know that we are in God’s way.
The Triumph of the Saints, vs. 20.
The picture of final victory is presented to us in this verse. The crushed serpent under our heels is the symbol used. It is the God of peace who will accomplish this. Satan is the disturber of the peace. His crowning work is to sow discord amongst the brethren. Too often he succeeds in creeping into the assemblies of God’s saints and working havoc there, but thank God his career will be ended soon. War against him was declared in Eden; conflict was waged down thru the ages; his head was bruised at Calvary, and ere long the battle in the skies will be fought and Satan hurled over the ramparts of heaven and eventually cast into the lake of fire. Meanwhile the battle is on but we need not fear for “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is with us.”
The Salutations of Paul’s Friends, vs 21-24.
We can picture that little group of friends surrounding Paul as he dictates this letter to Tertius in the house of Gaius in Corinth. Timothy is there, his child in the faith, dear to the heart of Paul. Lucius, Jason and Sosipater are there, his kinsmen bound to him by nature’s ties as well as spiritual. Gaius himself is there as he writes. No doubt he was a wealthy man for he entertained the entire Church of God in his house. Erastus, the treasurer of Corinth was there and Quartus, known only as “a brother.”
Each of these friends desired to send greetings to the saints at Rome and thus the final page of Paul’s letter is warm with Christian love.
1. What are we to avoid in our fellowship with saints?
2. Who is the real instigator of trouble in the church?
3. What is the simple path for the believer?