Romans

Romans 16 God Is able.

The church needs every member-including helpers like Phoebe (vv. 1-2). Such people inspire others to also help. Some like Priscilla and Aquila even risk their lives for the church (v. 3-5 Cf. Acts 18:2; I Cor. 16:19-20; Phil. 2:29-30). Epaenetus was a reminder to Paul of the beginnings in Achaia, Mary of those who labour, and Andronicus and Junia as his fellow prisoners (vv. 6-7). Others are of special note to Paul, including whole households in the faith (vv. 8-11). All were like family (vv. 12-16). However, there were “those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” (v. 17 Cf. Acts 15:1; I Cor. 5:9) This was no mere generic judgment which people could make on a whim. There was a standard-the apostolic witness.

Besides teaching contrary to the word, these false teachers had deception as their goal, using “smooth words and flattering speech” to this end (v. 18 Cf. Col. 2:4). These were people who were only interested in satisfying their own needs (Cf. Phil. 3:19). This would be proof of his reader’s obedience, which was already well known. We are called “to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.” (v. 19 Cf. 1:8; Mt. 10:16) The word ‘simple’ means innocent. It is through this consistent adherence to the word that the church will be victorious, and this by His grace (vv. 20-21, 24 Cf. I Cor. 16:23). Paul’s companions also sent their greetings, including Tertius who wrote for Paul (v. 22-23). Christ will establish His people in the apostolic witness, the mystery once hidden but now revealed Cf. Eph. 1:9; Col. 1:26; 2:2).

“By the prophetic Scriptures” the apostolic witness is “made known to all nations.” (v. 26) It is through this word that the church marches forward, crushing Satan and his work under our feet, in fulfillment of that beginning gospel promise (Cf. Gen. 3:15). The gates of hell shall not prevail as a defense against the churches onward march (Mt. 16:18). God is able to establish His church and His kingdom in the earth (Cf. Eph. 3:20). “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 25). This is the faith and approach that the church is to continue to have to the very end.

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