We have come to the end of studying the book of Romans. We see in chapter 16 how Paul has a heart for people. He dearly loves other believers and He wants to make sure they are taken care of wherever they go.
We are to be the same way. We are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ and help them in whatever needs they face. We are to walk united in love.
Read chapter 16. Paul talks about his dearly beloved friends who are now family because of Christ. Let’s see what kind of friends Paul considers worthy and who choose to walk united in love. He first talks about Phoebe.
ASK YOURSELF: From verses 1-2, what do you learn about her?
Then he mentions Priscilla and Aquila in verses 3-5.
ASK YOURSELF: What do you learn about these women?
ASK YOURSELF: What do you know about Epenetus, Mary, Andronicus, Junia, Ampliatus; see verses 5-8? Who are Paul’s co-workers; see verse 9?
People had some difficult names to pronounce back in Jesus’ day. I am glad that through the generations, names have become simpler.
We see how Paul associates himself with others who are approved by God, those who live for the Lord.
ASK YOURSELF: Would Paul consider you approved by God? Would he want you to join his team; aka God’s Church?
If you struggle with answering yes, may I encourage you to talk with God and ask Him to show you what is in your life that may be tripping you up from walking obediently?
ADDED INSIGHT: Look up 1 Samuel 7:3-4, 1 Kings 18:21, Isaiah 29:13 and Matthew 6:24 to help with understanding what God wants you to know.
Paul calls Apelles a good man whom Christ approves. The whole household of Aristobulus believes as well as the home of Narcissus. He mentions other workers for God. These are families that are living united for God.
ASK YOURSELF: What do you learn about Rufus in verse 13?
My friends, God is still in the field picking people to be His very own. He searches for those who desire to follow His Son. Look at Ezekiel 34:11, “The Sovereign Lord says, ‘I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock I will find my sheep and rescue them.'” Also, Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man, Jesus, came to seek and save those who are lost.”
ASK YOURSELF: Take some time and allow God to speak to you. What is God saying to you after reading these verses along with the scriptures in the Added Insight section?
Paul wants believers to be greeted in Christian love; some Bible translations may say, a sacred kiss. This would be similar to a handshake or a hug in today’s society. When God’s loves is abounding, believers are able to work together.
Now, we see how Paul makes one more appeal to us before ending Romans. He is giving us a warning. A warning which is applicable today as the world faces a pandemic and the United States faces a radical presidential election.
“Watch out for people who cause division and who are out to upset people’s faith.”17
ASK YOURSELF: What does Paul say to do in regards to people like this; in verse 17? According to verse 18, how does Paul describe these kind of people?
Paul wants us to be alert to how the world operates. In the world, people do not follow the ways of God, thus, they live their own ways. This causes division, comparison and egos wanting their voices to be heard above everyone else’s. It is a dog-eat-dog world of chaos and destruction.
But we know that God calls us out of the world. We live in the world but we are not of the world. Stop and think about that. God is calling us to live differently.
ASK YOURSELF: What does verse 19 say about how we are to be living?
While it appears that lawlessness and evil are gaining traction, Paul gives us a great promise.
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”20
Satan is a defeated foe. Christ resurrecting from the grave was the kick-in-the-face that caused Satan to, forever more, have to ask God for permission before he is allowed to reek havoc on anyone. Read Job 1:6-12 to see how Satan had to get God’s permission before attacking a man of God. This is no different today.
God allows Satan to sift each of us so God becomes greater and greater and we become less and less. (John 3:30) We become image-bearers to Christ as God transforms our hearts and minds; just like He did with Paul.
Paul ends this book with more of his friends sending their greetings and he gives a recap of why we follow Jesus Christ.
ASK YOURSELF: Who receives all the glory in verse 25? What does God do for you? According to verse 26, the message of Christ is made known to everyone. Why?
We are called to believe and obey.
“All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.”27
The greatest calling that has been bestowed on each of us is to follow after Christ and make Him known. We would be wise to say yes. Our world is needing it desperately.