Sunday: Romans 16:17, 18
vs17-18: This brief passage (vs17-20) is no afterthought. Paul speaks here with that tone of apostolic authority so characteristic of his other letters. He warns the churches in Rome to watch out for these false teachers. In affect he tells them: “The Lord didn’t send these false teachers to you. Their motivation in coming to you is not to serve the Lord, but to use religion to feed themselves. Here’s the technique they use: They come into a city and pretend to be very warm and friendly to believers. They say they’ve come to help you, and they flatter you, and they’ve proven to be very effective at deceiving naïve, unsuspecting people.”
Monday: Romans 16:17, 18
vs17-18 (continued): “Their goal is to pull away from your churches as many people as possible. Their real intention in coming to you is to start a rival church which will not be based on the righteousness of faith, but will reintroduce elements of the Jewish Law. They want to put in front of you the old stumbling block of legalism. And, of course, as soon as possible they’ll take offerings to support themselves. What they’re doing is not harmless. It’s not just another way of looking at Christianity. It’s evil. They’re serving Satan whether they know it or not.”
Tuesday: Romans 16:19
v19: It appears from the way Paul words this statement that the believers in that city had resisted all attempts by false teachers to gain a foothold. They stayed true to the gospel. They refused to allow themselves to be divided. So Paul tells them their obedience in the face of this temptation was being celebrated by churches everywhere. Their example was an encouragement to those who were facing the same type of attack. And he added that he personally rejoiced over the report of their faithfulness.
Wednesday: Romans 16:19
v19 (continued): No sooner had Paul finished complementing them for resisting the influence of these false teachers, than he adds one more strong pastoral warning. Clearly the danger had not passed. They still needed to stay vigilant, so he says, “…I want you to be wise concerning that which is good, but pure, uncontaminated by that which is evil and full of deceit.” They must rely on God’s revelation of the gospel and not listen to the legalistic logic of those trying to mislead them.
Thursday: Romans 16:19
v19 (continued): Wisdom is a wonderful quality as long as it’s based on truth God has revealed, but His wisdom will always appear to be foolish to the natural mind (1Co 1:18-20; 2:14). So to be genuinely wise, believers must be willing to have the world consider them to be “simple,” to be as “innocent” as children (Php 2:15). They must have faith in God’s “foolishness” (1Co 1:18-25). The word Paul uses here which is usually translated to mean “innocent” (akeraios), also means “pure” and “unmixed,” so it’s likely these Roman believers also heard in his words an admonition to keep their thinking uncontaminated by evil. He didn’t want their thinking about God to be part true and part false, part revelation and part human speculation, and in this case, part grace and part legalism. He wanted them trusting wholeheartedly in Christ’s righteousness.
Friday: Romans 16:20
v20: Paul reminds them that the spiritual battle they’re fighting is not against people but against Satan himself (Eph 6:12). He tries to confuse people so they can’t comprehend the gospel (Mk 4:15; 2Co 4:4). He tempts and afflicts believers (Lk 22:31; 2Co 12:7; 1Th 3:5; 1Pe 5:8). He raises up false teachers and sends them to deceive the church (2Co 11:15). And he schemes in order to bring discord between believers (2Co 2:11). But Paul also reminds them that God is fighting for them. He assures them that “Satan will soon be crushed (ground down to dust) under your feet,” probably meaning that the spiritual assault that was trying to divide them would soon subside if they firmly refused to turn away from the sound doctrine they had been taught (v17). The “God of peace” would triumph by preserving their love for one another. Paul pictures this victory using a vivid image from Israel’s history. He says God would place Satan under the feet of these victorious believers just as Joshua had instructed his tribal chiefs to place their feet on the necks of defeated kings (Jos 10:22-25). Paul didn’t mean Satan’s influence would disappear altogether, but that this particular attack would come to a decisive end.
Saturday: Romans 16:20
v20 (continued): Deeply aware of the struggle they were facing, Paul prays “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” When he uses the word “grace” in this context he means the active power of the Holy Spirit (Ro 1:5; 12:3, 6-8; 15:15; 1Co 3:10; 15:10; Gal 2:9; Eph 3:7-10; 2Ti 2:1). For him, God’s grace meant not only undeserved forgiveness, but also undeserved power. He was very conscious of the fact that he personally was effective in ministry (1Co 15:10) and victorious over temptation (Ro 8:11-13) because God was working with him. It was this “grace” that would deliver them as well.