Romans 16:17-18,20 – 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. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive…The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
As we finish out the incredible book of Romans, Paul has a few admonitions for the Roman church. By all accounts, they seem like a fantastic, Spirit-filled church, but even here, he warns against those who try to cause divisions. Even in Heaven, Satan rebelled against God and was cast out of Heaven. Even in a perfect Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve fell prey to the Serpent’s schemes and committed the first sin. In a perfect environment, people can still be led astray.
Here, Paul essentially categorizes people into three categories – wise, foolish, and evil.
In the Bible, Satan tries to tempt and draw away three particular men – Jesus, Peter, and Judas Iscariot. With Jesus, he’s unsuccessful, as Jesus never sinned and did no wrong. With Peter, he was almost successful, as Peter first denied Jesus three times but then had the opportunity to profess his love for Jesus three times. With Judas, he was successful. Judas was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, the men who walked closest with Jesus while He was on the earth, and he ultimately betrayed him and was instrumental in Jesus’ physical death.
What Paul is talking about here is people who are evil but come across as very spiritual. They say they’re serving God, but they’re actually opposing God. Sometimes the most evil people are the most religious – they say God called me, God told me, or this is my ministry. Does this sound familiar in today’s world of attacks, criticisms, and apostate former believers? The spirit behind many of these attacks is the same demonic spirit that led Judas or Adam and Eve astray.
Satan is not creative. He does not create things; he only breaks things. He only destroys what God constructs. In other words – God creates, Satan counterfeits.
How have you noticed Satan counterfeiting something God created?
To find the free Romans 12-16 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.