Romans 16:17-19

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 21, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” (Romans 16:17-19)

We’re almost at the end of 2015, so we’re almost at the end of the book of Romans! Paul is continuing his concluding remarks here toward the end of this lengthy letter to the church in Rome.

The general theme Paul is trying to get across in this passage is a warning against false teachers. This is not a new theme for Paul, but it is a very important one. False teachers are dangerous because they are not serving Jesus, and they can easily deceive the people away from the truth. They may sound like they’re teaching truth, but they’ll twist it ever so slightly to gradually fill people’s minds with lies. Unfortunately, this was not only a problem in Paul’s time, but it’s a problem today too. There are many churches today where the truth gets twisted, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Spend a few minutes clicking through these comics. Have you been following any of these “American Popular Versions” of Scripture? Can you see how much our society’s worldview has shaped how we view Scripture?

But how do we recognize false teachers? People who look for counterfeit money know that the best way to see what is false is to know what is true. If they know what a true $20 bill looks like, down to the tiniest detail, they can easily recognize a fake one. The same works with us as followers of Jesus Christ. If you know God’s truth so well, down to the tiniest detail, you’ll easily be able to see when someone is preaching falsehood. This is why spending time reading and studying the Bible is so important, so we can get to know what God has given us as Truth.

Paul also shares with us that a common indicator of false teachers is their smooth talking, which they use to mask their lack of real truth. If they sound like they know what they’re talking about, they must be right, right? We as humans are easily deceived, especially when many others are going along with the deception.

The early Roman church sincerely desired to obey what God wanted them to do. However, this made them more susceptible to false teachers, since they would obey any teacher who came along and sounded like he knew what he was talking about. Paul encourages them to remain innocent in the truth, rather than becoming corrupted by these false teachers.

We need the same warnings that Paul gave to the early Roman church. We need to be rooted in the truth so that we are not deceived by falsehood, or even led astray by a slight twisting of the truth. What are you doing to make sure you remain strong in God’s truth?

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