Glory to God

from the Romans reading plan

Romans 16:17-27, Matthew 7:15-20, Jude 24-25

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Scripture Reading: Romans 16:17-27, Matthew 7:15-20, Jude 24-25

I took a personality test the other day, and I wasn’t thrilled with the results. It confirmed what I already knew: I avoid conflict like the plague. Put me in a tension-filled room and I’ll moonwalk away so fast, you’ll never even know I was there.

I tell you this not to confirm that I was raised in the 80s (which I was), but so you’ll understand why I so desperately want to misinterpret today’s passage from Romans. I’ll show you what I mean.

Here we’ve come to the close of the longest of Paul’s letters. We’ve heard him preach on sin and salvation, grace and faith, and now we’re leaning in to see how he’ll land the plane. What does one say to wrap up what would become known as the most comprehensive expression of the gospel in all of Scripture?

He begins his conclusion with a warning:

Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create divisions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them… (Romans 16:17).

This is where my comfort-loving ears perk up. Steer clear of those who cause problems? Avoid conflict at all costs? If that’s what our friend Paul is selling, I’m buying in bulk. But he continues:

…because such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words (v. 18).

No smooth-talkers allowed? Yep, works for me.

In my humanity, I want Paul’s words to leave me right where I am: a well-intentioned gal who doesn’t like to rattle or be rattled. I want a divine endorsement for a head-down, hands-off way of living. I want to look to the folks on my right and my left and say, I’m fine. You’re fine. Everything’s fine. In short, I want to read Paul’s words as permission rather than admonition.

He keeps writing:

The report of your obedience has reached everyone. Therefore I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise about what is good, and yet innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you (vv.19-20).

Crushing evil is not a passive activity. Our holy and sovereign God is currently and constantly at work, overcoming darkness with light (John 5:17). As Christ followers, our work is not passive either. We are called to right doctrine and right living—to cling to Christ and to His gospel, shunning all false gods and gospels that beg our worship. This is Paul’s parting reminder.

It’s true that I’m predisposed to being a coaster—a person who’d rather stay the course than question questionable coordinates. But the gospel Paul presents in this letter is not a matter of right or left. It’s a matter of life and death. The mystery of Jesus Christ has been “revealed and made known through the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the eternal God” (Romans 16:26). Our Savior has come. He has opened the way to God, the rescue and restoration of our wrecked, restless souls.

The truth is, you and I are not fine. We “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But in God’s great love and compassion, we have been “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). What’s more, “since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

This is the gospel. This is our hope.

This is what we cling to, what we live by, what we fight for—to the glory of the One who created us, saved us, and calls us His own.

To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ—to him be the glory forever! Amen (Romans 16:27).

Post Comments (47)

47 thoughts on "Glory to God"

  1. Melissa Simmons says:

    I am very delayed in finishing this study up. But so glad I am. Thank you churchmouse. That is exactly what I needed. Scripture is truth and the answer. I’m so late in finishing this study up. For some reason Hebrews 6 is coming to mind as I finish this reading of scripture, devotional, and your comment. “The Lord is my helper.;I will not fear;What can man do to me?”

    1. Nikki says:

      Just finished myself!

  2. Becky Flores Alcantar says:

    “Its true I’m predisposed to being a coaster – a person who would rather stay the course than question questionable coordinates. It’s not a matter of right or left, it’s a matter of life or death .” Wooooo pa -reach sister Amanda Bible Williams!!! #sogood

  3. Aimee D says:

    This is my first SRT devotion series, and what a book to start with. I’ve read Romans a number of times but have never gleaned so much. I’ve been doing devotions through books and youverson and journaling for years. But I’ve never felt so much like I’m in the right place, right time. Never felt

  4. Jessi says:

    I Am immediately drawn to the verse “you will know them by their fruits”. It’s one I’ve heard quoted many times and never really understood. What fruits are we talking about here? If left undefined many people could put names on fruits and call them whatever they desire. But the Holy Spirit spoke to me today and showed me something that was already there- the fruit of the spirit are the fruits that will be our guide. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control. That is what we use as our guide to evaluating character. When posed with a person or doctrine of questionable nature- evaluate the message and the deliverer. Are these the fruits they produce? Or is the vine withered?

    1. Chris Gruhlke says:

      Thank you for this!

  5. Sheryn says:

    I am so thankful to have found SRT. When I can’t study the Bible with a small group, I am able to learn more here. What a blessing! I look forward to my next study with SRT and look forward to growing even more than I did through this study. Thank you for your dedication and hard work, SRT team, you are blessed and a blessing to all of us!

  6. Michele says:

    I think I finish each study with “this is my favorite!”, yet this one truly is! Thank you, SRT team, for an excellent, challenging presentation of Romans.

  7. Kari says:

    What a great, strong way to end this series Amanda! Paul closes with a bang and you completely illuminated that. Amazing series SRT team!

  8. Diane Huntsman says:

    27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
    The only wise God… just wow.

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