Romans is a letter written by Apostle Paul to the church in Rome. Paul writes about basic gospel and God's plan of salvation for all people. Salvation is available to all, regardless of a person's identity, sin or heritage. We are saved by grace through faith. Paul also talks about freedom from power of sin, freedom from the domination of the law, freedom to become like Christ and discover God's limitless love. Paul also gives some practical advice as to how a Christian should behave. Paul almost concludes this letter by letting the church know about his plan to visit them and by giving his personal greetings to many people.
But just before the end he gives a final instruction to the church, Paul says that he is making one more appeal. I want to bring out few things out of that here.
And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. (NLT)
In these verses Paul is making an appeal. In NIV version it says "I urge you". He is making this appeal to everyone. What is Paul’s appeal? His appeal is that watch out for people who cause divisions and teach things contrary to what you have learned. These types of teachings not only upset people but also put obstacles in the faith of people. We are living in times when Christianity has been highly commercialized by people who claim to be teachers of Bible and in reality they are not. They earn millions by selling their books and other things which they claim to be biblical in nature but they are not. Lot of books and sermons comes on our way which looks too good to be avoided in the first place. But we should check what the content is and make sure it goes in line with what is taught by Jesus Christ.
Now we see lot of people like this. What should we do? Paul’s instruction is simple- Stay away from them. They are not serving Christ our Lord; but they are serving their own personal interests. Paul gives identification about such people. By Smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. In NIV version it says that they deceive the minds of naïve people. How true it is. Mind manipulation has always been a strategy which Satan has used from beginning to deceive people. He will try to manipulate the minds by bringing ideas and thoughts which are completely contrary to the command of God. They will sound good. They use smooth talk, flattery or glowing words to make people think that it’s true. In the Garden of Eden also similar thing happened. We have to careful to avoid any resources which can corrupt or manipulate our minds.
Acts 17 talks about the church in Berea. It says that they searched the scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth (Acts17:11). We should be people who search the scriptures on a day to day basis and make sure that we are following the truth as it is revealed in the word of God. When it comes to the truth of word of God remember that Ignorance is not bliss.
May God Bless You!