Thursday, March 17, 2016

Informed by the Law and Motivated by Love

17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, [6] and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
 21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.
 22 I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord.
 23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you. (Romans 16:17-23 (ESV)
Paul starts to wrap things up again. One last admonition to hold fast to the doctrine they have received. They aren’t to be tolerant of those who create divisions by teaching things contrary to what they have received from the apostles. We are actually to be diligent in this. Paul will tell Timothy to pay attention to his teaching, his doctrine because by it he will save himself and others. It is through the teaching of the church that people are saved. For how can they believe if they are not taught? Those who never hear the gospel are not saved by the gospel. And when one teaches contrary to God’s word confusion is sown, and faith is often lost.

Paul is probably speaking here of Judaizers who are trying to rob Christians of freedom and put them back under law. And this is something to pay attention to, because the Christian never wants to ignore the law, but he doesn’t want to subject himself to it either. Christians love, and love does good works, and wants to do good works. So we don’t ignore the law of God. Good works are informed by God’s law. The problem is, they are never motivated by God’s law. And when the law becomes motivation, the focus is on you, and no longer on Christ and your neighbor. We don’t need to be concerned about us, Christ has taken care of us, so that we can take care of others paying attention to our doctrine so they too would know the forgiveness of sins and the love of God that motivates all good works. 

No comments: