Watch out for deceivers
Scripture: Romans 16:17–16:23
Romans: The Gospel for God’s glory
Watch out for deceivers
Watch out for deceivers, being wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil
1) I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them, 16:17.
Why do you think Paul gives this warning to the Roman church? How do such people create divisions? How do you recognize counterfeits? What kinds of false teaching do you think Christians today are most likely to be deceived by? How does Paul say we should deal with those who are creating divisions by false doctrine?
2) For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive, 16:18.
What motivates those who create divisions? What can make them hard to identify?
3) For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil, 16:19.
What reason does Paul give them as to why they must be on guard? What should we rejoice in most in a church? How does being wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil keep us from being deceived by false teachers?
4) The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, 16:20.
Why does Paul say that deliverance from false teaching/Satan will come from God as the God of peace? For someone to be under one’s feet is a military metaphor expressing a resounding victory over one’s foe. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:25 to Ephesians 1:22. In what sense has Jesus already defeated Satan and in what sense does his defeat of Satan still need to be fulfilled? What is Satan’s ultimate destiny (Revelation 20:10)?
How can Paul say God will crush Satan under YOUR (believers’) feet? What is the only weapon Satan can successfully use against us for eternal spiritual harm? (See Colossians 2:13-15). What are ways we can stand firm against deception and the devil? How should we understand Paul’s use of the word “soon” in this verse?
5) Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you, 16:21-23.