Reading through the Bible together
Paul begins his concluding chapter to the believers at Rome by sending greetings to his friends. Of note, are Priscilla and Aquila who had met Paul in Corinth and had been converted by his teaching (Acts 18:1-3). He begins his final instruction by admonishing the believers to “notice them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and to avoid them.” He points out they do not serve Jesus Christ, but actually serve themselves, and let their carnal passions control their lives. Yet they give “good words and fair speeches” which deceive those who simply do not understand (vs. 17,18). This exhortation holds true today as it did back then. There are professed leaders and teachers in the Christian world today who are controlled by their carnal desires, and contradict the plain teachings of Scripture. These false teachings bring division into the Christian church. Paul exhorts us to notice these false teachers and to avoid them.
Next, Paul speaks prophetically of those who are transformed by the gospel when he says that “the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet” (v. 20). This goes back to the promise of the gospel in Genesis 3:15 in which we see the promise that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. This promise was fulfilled when Christ died on the cross and crushed Satan’s head prefiguring his final end, for we are still here nearly 2000 years later. Paul shows that those who are transformed by the power of the gospel will become a demonstration of the righteousness of God in Christ (v. 20). And as the earth is lightened with the glory of God on a global scale (see Rev. 18:1), Satan’s head (his lies) will stepped on again as God demonstrates that He can transform sinful human beings into righteous ones. This has happened throughout history in the lives of the faithful. At the end of time, God will have a remnant that will develop a spiritual maturity through the power of Christ in us that will usher in the closing scenes of this earth’s history, and end Satan’s charges against God once and for all.
Paul offers final greetings and tells us that the gospel he has preached is a revelation of the mystery (Col. 1:27 and Rev.10:7), that was kept secret from the beginning of the world, but now is made manifest. The results of the preaching of the gospel are demonstrated by obedience of faith (vs. 21-27). The Second Advent Movement was raised up (Rev. 10), for the finishing of this mystery and for the demonstration of God’s power in this world. May we be among those who take this everlasting gospel of the kingdom to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people! Amen!
Norman McNulty, M.D.
Neurologist, Lawrenceburg, TN, USA