Romans 16* The apostle recommends Phebe to the church at Rome, and greetsseveral friends there. (1-16) Cautions the church against suchas made divisions. (17-20) Christian salutations. (21-24) Theepistle concludes with ascribing glory to God. (25-27)1-16 Paul recommends Phebe to the Christians at Rome. Itbecomes Christians to help one another in their affairs,especially strangers; we know not what help we may needourselves. Paul asks help for one that had been helpful to many;he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Though the careof all the churches came upon him daily, yet he could remembermany persons, and send salutations to each, with particularcharacters of them, and express concern for them. Lest anyshould feel themselves hurt, as if Paul had forgotten them, hesends his remembrances to the rest, as brethren and saints,though not named. He adds, in the close, a general salutation tothem all, in the name of the churches of Christ. 17-20 How earnest, how endearing are these exhortations!Whatever differs from the sound doctrine of the Scriptures,opens a door to divisions and offences. If truth be forsaken,unity and peace will not last long. Many call Christ, Master andLord, who are far from serving him. But they serve their carnal,sensual, worldly interests. They corrupt the head by deceivingthe heart; perverting the judgments by winding themselves intothe affections. We have great need to keep our hearts with alldiligence. It has been the common policy of seducers to set uponthose who are softened by convictions. A pliable temper is goodwhen under good guidance, otherwise it may be easily led astray.Be so wise as not to be deceived, yet so simple as not to bedeceivers. The blessing the apostle expects from God, is victoryover Satan. This includes all designs and devices of Satanagainst souls, to defile, disturb, and destroy them; all hisattempts to keep us from the peace of heaven here, and thepossession of heaven hereafter. When Satan seems to prevail, andwe are ready to give up all as lost, then will the God of peaceinterpose in our behalf. Hold out therefore, faith and patience,yet a little while. If the grace of Christ be with us, who canprevail against us? 21-24 The apostle adds affectionate remembrances from personswith him, known to the Roman Christians. It is a great comfortto see the holiness and usefulness of our kindred. Not manymighty, not many noble are called, but some are. It is lawfulfor believers to bear civil offices; and it were to be wishedthat all offices in Christian states, and in the church, werebestowed upon prudent and steady Christians. 25-27 That which establishes souls, is, the plain preaching ofJesus Christ. Our redemption and salvation by our Lord JesusChrist, are, without controversy, a great mystery of godliness.And yet, blessed be God, there is as much of this mystery madeplain as will bring us to heaven, if we do not wilfully neglectso great salvation. Life and immortality are brought to light bythe gospel, and the Sun of Righteousness is risen on the world.The Scriptures of the prophets, what they left in writing, isnot only made plain in itself, but by it this mystery is madeknown to all nations. Christ is salvation to all nations. Andthe gospel is revealed, not to be talked of and disputed about,but to be submitted to. The obedience of faith is that obediencewhich is paid to the word of faith, and which comes by the graceof faith. All the glory that passes from fallen man to God, soas to be accepted of him, must go through the Lord Jesus, inwhom alone our persons and doings are, or can be, pleasing toGod. Of his righteousness we must make mention, even of hisonly; who, as he is the Mediator of all our prayers, so he is,and will be, to eternity, the Mediator of all our praises.Remembering that we are called to the obedience of faith, andthat every degree of wisdom is from the only wise God, weshould, by word and deed, render glory to him through JesusChrist; that so the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be withus for ever.
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