We’ve come to the end of Romans. Paul closes with personal greetings and a doxology. Over 30 people mentioned. People doing Church together; life together. Male and female, Gentile and Jew. Some wealthy, some slaves. Different occupations and roles in the Church. Beloved brothers and sisters.
“A servant of the church... A fellow worker... One who risked their necks for my life... The first convert in Asia... One who worked hard... My kinsmen... My fellow prisoners... My beloved in the Lord... Workers in the Lord... A mother to me... A host... The city treasurer.”
Paul has poured out his heart to ensure the Gospel is known. Fully known. He meticulously described the sin problem we all have and our lack of solving it on our own, despite our best efforts and religious activity. He shared the Gospel story; the story of Jesus. And he taught how to do life, ministry, relationship with one another. His final instructions, “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.” Remember truth. Remain obedient. Be wise. Know good from evil. Many have come and will come seeking to divide or deceive. They will use smooth words and flattering speech. Remain solid and united in truth. In the Gospel.
David Guzik summarizes the warning, “Truth without unity leads to pride; unity without truth leads to a Gospel departure. Each must be guarded against.”
“Now to him who is able to strengthen you…”
God is able. And God is willing. Where other empires seek glory and power lifting themselves up on the backs of crushed and broken people, God strengthens us. Settles us. Plants us. Gives us firm footing. Foundation is everything.
“…according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ…”
The Gospel is our power. God strengthens us through the gospel. Whether a new Christian or a seasoned elder, the Gospel gives us power. Whether praising an abundance of blessing or flat out in the weight of suffering, the Gospel gives us power. There is no season or situation where we move on from it.
“…according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed…”
It was always God’s plan, but it was revealed in layers from the beginning of time. Through lives of people and nations and prophets and priests and kings and slain lambs, the mystery was unfolding. But it was not fully developed or known until Jesus came. Now we know. The gospel has been revealed.
“…to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ!”
Only God. His wisdom surpasses all understanding. Who else could devise and execute such a plan to bring us back to Him? Amen.
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