17 I am warning you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who try to keep you from staying together. They want to trip you up. They teach you things opposite to what you have learned. Stay away from them. 18 People like that are not serving Christ our Lord. They are serving only themselves. With smooth talk and with words they don’t mean they fool people who don’t know any better. 19 Everyone has heard that you obey God. So you have filled me with joy. I want you to be wise about what is good. And I want you to have nothing to do with what is evil. 20 The God who gives peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 21 Timothy works together with me. He sends his greetings to you. So do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives. 22 I, Tertius, wrote down this letter. I greet you as a believer in the Lord. 23/24 Gaius sends you his greetings. He has welcomed me and the whole church here into his house. Erastus is the director of public works here in the city. He sends you his greetings. Our brother Quartus also greets you. 25 May God receive glory. He is able to strengthen your faith because of the good news I preach. It is the message about Jesus Christ. It is in keeping with the mystery that was hidden for a very long time. 26 The mystery has now been made known through the writings of the prophets. The eternal God commanded that it be made known. He wanted all nations to believe and obey him. 27 May the only wise God receive glory forever through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Today's passage is Paul’s last greeting and reminders and blessings to the church in Rome.
Paul has been longing for many years to see them. He wanted to give them some spiritual gifts, so that they may be made strong (1:11) and stand firm in Jesus Christ.
Beside the greetings, Paul patiently taught them how to defend the temptation of anti-Christ : Not just being obedient, but to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. To watch out for those who cause division and put obstacles in our way.
The anti-Christ (false teachers) deceive the minds of naive people by smooth talk and flattery, they are not serving the Lord Christ, but their own appetites.
The challenge to me is: I like to be an obedient person, but, it’s not good/strong enough in this world. I have to be wise and able to tell what’s good and what is evil behind the flattery and smooth talk. I think that’s why the Bible said: … be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (Matt10).
Oh Lord, help me “to be wise about what’s good and innocent about what is evil”, but not “to be INNOCENT about what’s good and WISE about what is evil. Amen.
Written by Allen Leu