Wednesday after the Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Romans 16:1-27 (NKJV)
1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. 8 Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.
17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
21 Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you. 22 I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. 24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
Paul began the body of his letter to the Roman Church with an affirmation of the power of God at work in the Gospel. The whole letter has set forth the past and present workings of that power for salvation. Paul closes with praise of the God of power. He is a God at hand, able to sustain the Romans in their conspicuous and responsible position, able to strengthen them for the greater tasks which Paul’s coming will open up for them. His Word is near them.
Paul’s Gospel itself is that Word. It can strengthen them because Jesus Christ is preaching in Paul’s Gospel. Jesus Christ is the disclosure of God’s mystery, the revelation of His long counsels of salvation which worked among His people of old. In Christ, that plan is now disclosed and is working on the stage of universal history to the ends of the Earth. All nations shall know the Christ. The prophetic writings of the Old Testament are the witnesses to what the eternal God has revealed in Christ. Thus men will be brought to the obedience of faith.
The Church must be on guard against those within her ranks who cause divisions and put obstacles in her way. And not just any divisions and obstacles, but those which were contrary to the teaching they had learned. The Romans did not need to fear; whatever apostolic task they undertook would not be undertaken in vain. They needed only to bow with Paul in adoration before the God Whose wisdom guides all history to His goal, to the glory of His grace. Whatever serves that glory cannot fail.