As we come to the end of Romans, I hope we can all reflect on how much we have learned about the relationship between the law and grace. I hope we have all grown in our knowledge of salvation and Christ’s righteousness. Some of it may feel a bit over our heads, but we can continue to dig into His word to understand these things. That’s actually what we are called to. We need to know the Bible to protect our hearts and minds.
Verses 17-19 say, “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.”
To make sure that we cannot be deceived, we have to know His Word. How can we be obedient to the truth unless we know the truth? Nowadays, with TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram reels, we hear so many attractive messages. They will use dramatic statements and emotional words to make it seem like what they are saying is from the Holy Spirit. They may even use a little bit of scripture so that it appears that their message is truly from the Lord. Paul tells us to watch out because these preachers can cause division and hinder the Holy Spirit from moving. They are more focused on building up their own kingdom.
The Bible is like the litmus test for truth. If someone is preaching a message that is contrary to His word, it is contrary to the truth. When we know the Bible, that is how we can be “wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” Paul also tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:20 that we should “be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”
That is why it is good to test what preachers and teachers are saying against the word of God. So that we can be mature in our thinking. It’s also good to be with other believers to make sure that we are not misinterpreting scripture. It is also so helpful to have other believers keep us accountable in our struggle with sin.
Throughout the whole book of Romans, especially in this chapter, you see all of the people that Paul did ministry with, and who he ministered to. Not only did he list the person, but he also listed the unique qualities he appreciated about them. We should not be doing our Christian walk alone. We need to get in church and we need to be in Life Groups where we can discuss sermons and scripture to help build us up as Christians.
All of this will bring glory to the “only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever.” He is worth all of this study and testing because is the only true God. There are no other gods or idols that are true. So why not give it all we have? Why not continue to study and hide God’s Word in our hearts? He is the only God and He is the only one that truly deserves the glory.