Romans 16:17-23 – Final Instructions
I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offenses, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise in what is good and guileless in what is evil. The God of peace will shortly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Timothy, my co-worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my relatives.
I Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.
I got this picture during a trip to the Zoo with my youngest over the weekend. This is a King Cobra looking right at me. Thankfully this was with a pretty significant zoom lens and some thick glass in between. However, I think that Paul would probably go with the analogy of those he is concerned about being like snakes with smooth talk and slick movement but then biting when the opportune time comes about. As much as we don’t like it, there are people like that in the world, and sometimes those people are us as well. What I hear for me in Paul’s words is to be always checking my motives and what is underneath how I am acting and what am I saying? Am I speaking out of how Christ desires me to speak or am I speaking out of unhealthy, selfish, or sinful motives?