Watch Out

Romans 16:17

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The Book of Romans is a book of tremendous gospel comfort. We read that eternal life is the free gift of God. (Romans 6:23) We read that the gospel is the power for our salvation. (Romans 1:16) We read that we live by faith. (Romans 1:17) We read that baptism connects us to Christ Jesus and his saving work for us. (Romans 6:3-5)

Romans is full of comfort. Near the end of this letter, in the midst of St. Paul’s final instructions, we come to chapter sixteen verse seventeen where we read:

But I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and keep away from them. (Romans 16:17)

Why would Scripture gives such a command? Because false teaching hurts people. False teaching harms faith. The truth of God’s Word feeds our faith but false teaching does the opposite. So a teacher who teaches some of the truth of God’s Word but also some falsehood is like a baker who has added some poison to his ingredients. That poison is harmful to one degree or another and it has the potential to kill.

The same is true of false teaching and our faith. This is why scripture commands us to not fellowship, to not join, in the means of grace in the acts of worship with those who teach anything contrary to God’s Word. It is to protect our faith.

So whom should we fellowship with? Whom should we receive the sacraments from and pray with and worship with and receive the truth of God’s Word from? Those who teach the full truth of Scripture. Then our faith will be protected and the faith of others will be protected as well. Seek out those who teach the full truth of Scripture and receive the saving truth from them. Receive the pure saving Gospel. Amen.