The greater part of this chapter is taken up with salutations or greetings from the apostle to a number of the believers in the church at Rome.
(1) It is to be noted that several of those mentioned were FAITHFUL women. While they did not preach or usurp authority, they did teach the children and other women. Paul referred to them as being a blessing to him and to many (Vs. 2), as helpers in Christ (Vs. 3), and as laborers FOR him (Vs. 6) and WITH him in the gospel (Vs. 12).
(2) While all praise and glory for ail things is to be first given to the Lord (for we are nothingGod giveth the increase, and whatever gifts and graces we show are of the Lord), yet it is Christ-like and commendable TO BE GRATEFUL FOR ONE ANOTHER AND TO ONE ANOTHER for every work of faith and labor of love. Paul is saying to these people, "I appreciate you, and I appreciate your faithfulness to our Lord and to me" (II Tim. 1:16-18).
(3) The people of God are also to be an AFFECTIONATE PEOPLE. Four times he exhorts us to greet one another with an holy kiss (Rom. 16:16; I Cor. 16:20; II Cor. 13:12; I Thess. 5:26). Peter says this in I Peter 5:14. He calls it a holy kiss as distinguished from that which is lustful and that which is common among relatives. Much ridicule and criticism has been cast on a show of genuine affection between believers, yet it was practiced by the early churches.
Believers are more to one another than holders of a common doctrine. They are brethren in the family of God and genuinely love each other with a deeper affection than natural men can know. If you are a stranger to this affection, you may also be a stranger to HIS LOVE; for He said, "This is My commandment that ye love one another as I have loved you, and, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another" (I John 3:14-18).
(Vs. 17) Be on your guard concerning those who create dissension and division among you in opposition to the doctrine and teaching which you have been taught. Paul is referring to all that he has written to them in this inspired book.
(1) No flesh is justified by the Law, but by faith in Christ.
(2) Righteousness is imputed by faith, not by works.
(3) Reckon yourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God in Christ.
(4) The ground of our hope is the sovereign grace of Godsovereign mercy!
(5) Salvation comes by faith through the preaching of the Word.
(6) Charity and love to be given to Jew and Gentile, weak and strong.
(7) Follow after those things that make for peace, unity, and edification.
When you are aware of those who teach contrary to these things, avoid them. Shun their ministry, their company, and their conversation!
(Vs. 18) They have not the glory of the Lord Jesus nor the good of His church at heart. They sow seeds of dissension and division by their oily words and reasonable criticisms; and, unfortunately, they deceive simple people who cannot discern their motives and hypocrisy. It is their own glory they seek and their own pride and recognition which they feed. When you hear these fair speeches that divide the family, rebuke them and then avoid those who make them!
(Vs. 19) Your faith and obedience are well known to other churches, and I rejoice over you; for I would have you to be well-versed and wise in acts of kindness, charity, and promoting good. But I would have you to be simple and naive (unaffected, artless, and unsophisticated) in the ways of evil and deceit. Craftiness and manipulating others are unbecoming to believers (Rom. 12:17; II Cor. 8:21).
(Vs. 20) Were it not for the overruling power of our Lord, His people would never have any rest or peace in this world. But the Lord Jesus rules and gives His people peace in the midst of their enemies. The battle is not ours but His, and He will defeat Satan (John 16:33).
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." This is repeated again in Verse 24. It implies that there is a constant supply of grace to be communicated from Christ to His people at all times. We need His grace to redeem us; and we need His grace every moment to believe, to stand, to live, to love, to persevere, and to die! He told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you"RIGHT NOW!