Paul’s letter to the Romans has covered a lot of ground. The foundation for all that is written in this book is the righteous of God. By means of faith alone in Christ alone, the believer is called to a life lived in response to righteousness. That response was addressed specially in 12:1-15:13. In this final chapter of his letter Paul makes mention of two different groups. One is to be appreciated and the other is to be avoided. He then concludes with a fitting benediction reminding his readers that all glory and praise belong to the Lord our God alone.
1. THE PEOPLE TO APPRECIATE (16:1-16)
Without question, the Apostle Paul accomplished so much in his service for the Lord. The gospel was proclaimed, churches were planted and letters were penned. Paul dealt with daily pressures coming from within the church and from without. He was constantly committed in his labour for the Lord. Yet in all this, Paul understood that he couldn’t achieve what he did without the support of God’s people. If you were to write down every name of those who supported Paul in his ministry, you would arrive at a list of around 100 individuals. Paul surrounded himself with an incredible team of helpers. This team of helpers were a part of making Paul who he was. In this section of Romans, Paul takes time to greet some of them and declare his appreciation for their service and support. This particular of names has a number of individuals that we have additional information about in the Book of Acts whereas some of them are only mentioned here by name. This list shows an amazing diversity and unity in the church in Rome.
2. THE PEOPLE TO AVOID (16:17-24)
After reading the opening sixteen and being reminded of the great encouragement of the support of fellow Christians, Paul is quick to warn his readers. The warning is concerning false teachers which is a common theme in Paul’s writings and among other authors. Christians are to constantly be on guard against any teaching that undermines the Lordship of Christ. He calls for his readers “to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you had been taught” and then he says, “avoid them” (16:17). These false teachers are not serving Christ and they are motivating by selfish desires (16:18a; cf. 2 Tim. 3:1-2). Their method is “smooth talk and flattery” which becomes a means in which they deceive the naive (16:18b). Paul then encourages them to grow in their discernment and obedience, which will help guard them from being taken captive by error (16:19). The one ultimately behind all this error is Satan himself. Paul reminds his readers that in Christ they will have the final victory over himself as they participate in the crushing of Satan (16:20) –an allusion to Genesis 3:15.
After issuing some greetings (16:21-24), Paul concludes his letter with a doxology in which he summarises the themes found throughout this letter. This can be summarised by the words to God be the Glory. God alone is able to save (16:25-26) and God alone is wise (16:27). For this reason He deserves all the glory.
- Why should all Christians be involved in ministry? How is this beneficial?
- Discuss the danger of false teaching the importance of being on guard. How does verse 19 provide instruction in being protected form error?
- Verses 25-27 are words of praise to God. How does Romans direct our praise to God?
- What were some helpful things you learnt from the book of Romans?