Paul concludes this letter to the Romans with a beautiful benediction. First, however, he calls out a special greeting to those believers already in Rome. If he hasn’t come to Rome yet, it seems hard to fathom how he already knows so many people there. Especially without social media! It’s hard to imagine what life was like. But Paul had already started building relationships with many people who now apparently have moved to Rome.
We are all missionaries when it comes to sharing the Gospel. Jesus has entrusted each of us to tell of his love and sacrifice. When we tell others, and they tell others, there is a ripple effect. We can’t let the ripple die out. We need to be encouraging each other at all times to keep the ripple moving.
Paul has a special remembrance for each of the believers that he names. I especially like what he has to say about Rufus, “whom the Lord picked out to be his very own.” How would you like to be remembered? What would you like Paul to say about you and your relationship with God?
Paul has been speaking of unity and helping bridge the gap between the Jew and the Gentile. That has been his mission, and he is clear on that in this book. He issues a warning to be on the lookout for people who will sound good but who will be teaching contrary to what we have been taught. We do need to be careful. Just because someone calls themselves a preacher doesn’t mean wholesome, God-approving words will come out of their mouth. We need to have discerning hearts.
I love the images this statement conjures up for me. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Crushing Satan sounds like a good thing to be focused on doing, doesn’t it? I checked a few other translations and “crush” was the verb of choice. However, in the old King James, it was “bruise.” I think that crush is a much better descriptor for what we need to do. Crush or smash like a bug.
Did the old camp song, Romans 16:19 come to mind for you, too? I couldn’t find a good recording or I would have shared it. It talks about being excellent and to do what is good. Of course, crushing Satan is my favorite part of the song! What does it take for us to stand up to the schemes of the evil one?
God is able to make us strong. Jesus had a plan to involve us all, and we know that there is power available to us. The resurrection power is alive in us, we just need to tap into it for the right purpose. To give glory to God. That’s the right purpose! How are you giving glory to God today? This week?
Let’s pray. Lord, we want to be excellent and focused on your goodness at all times. Help me to stand strong against the evil one and crush him underneath my feet. I want everything I say and do to be a reflection of you and your goodness. Help me to discern right from wrong. Give me the influence to help others do the same. In Jesus’ name. Amen.