Avoid Devisive People

Robert, an experienced sky diver, was readying himself for a jump when he spotted another man outfitted to dive wearing dark glasses, carrying a white cane and holding a seeing-eye dog by a leash. Shocked that the blind man was also going to jump, Robert struck up a conversation, … More

Warning

It seems that Romans was a letter that Paul found very difficult to bring to an end. He has sent his greetings; but before he closed he makes one last warning to the Christians in Rome to keep themselves from every evil influence.

As Paul comes to the end of his message he warns them about false teachers who, instead of preaching the truth, spread their own religious propaganda (vv. 17-18). These evildoers are not Christian teachers who have fallen into error, as some teach, but are ungodly men. They are not servants of Christ, but tools of the devil, brought in from the world to divide the people of God. We need to be very careful how we label true servants of Christ as infidels, etc. even though we may feel that truth compels us to take issue with them about some things they do or teach.

At the same time, Christians must watch out for these false teachers. We have the same problem today, as they come to our front door trying to convince us that they are teaching the truth. Paul says to mark them and avoid them. The way to detect error is to lay its teaching alongside the straight edge of the Word of God “the doctrine which ye have learned” (v. 17).

Even though he warns the Roman saints of the dangers of listening to men of this type, Paul lets them know that he has heard good things about them (vv. 19-20). He is just concerned that they be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. Christians need to be innocent about evil, and not follow the ways of the world (Romans 12:2). These false teachers who are under Satan’s influence will be destroyed, and God will one day establish peace. Heretics may plague the church but through the grace of the Lord Jesus we shall triumph.

Application

When I read books or listen to sermons, I must check the content of what is written or said, and not be fooled by a smooth presentation. The better I know God’s Word, the least apt I will be fooled by these false teachers.

Romans 16:17-20 (English Standard Version)

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 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. 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. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

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