Here we go – the final chapter of Romans! I have thoroughly enjoyed this book of the Bible and enjoyed recording my thoughts of the treasure I discovered while reading and studying it. What an incredible book of the Bible!
Romans 16:16a says,
Greet each other in Christian love. (NLT)
The Apostle Paul says this after 15 verses of greetings to his friends in a letter. These greetings were much more than a “hello.” As Paul was sending his greetings I noticed he was also speaking words of affirmation over his friends. I think it’s pretty evident that he was calling them out one or two at a time, not just to greet them, but also to honor and encourage them!
Then, in verse 16a Paul encouraged them all to greet each other in Christian love. How blessed they were that he had just given them a living example of how to do this in his letter to them. There’s definitely a lesson to be learned here, by watching how Paul communicated to his friends.
Here are some examples:
Romans 16:1-2 (NLT)
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. 2 Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.
Romans 16:3-4 (NLT)
3 Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. 4 In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches.
Romans 16:6 (NLT)
6 Give my greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for your benefit.
Romans 16:7 (NLT)
7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did.
Romans 16:8-9 (NLT)
8 Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.
I personally read though verses 1-16 three times because I was so inspired by Paul’s great leadership example.
I’ve never understood why leaders think they’re going to get the best out of their team by yelling at them, insulting them, intimidating them and making them feel as if they are never good enough. That form of leadership is such a deception.
After reading verses 1-16, I’m sure we would all agree that there is no possible way Paul’s friends could have felt anything other than encouraged by his greeting. Paul’s respectful treatment of them would only serve to make them want to work even harder for the advancement of the gospel because they felt valued by him. Now that’s good leadership!
25 Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed His plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. 26 But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey Him. 27 All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.
Verse 25 – God is able to make us strong. How can we be sure? The Good News says so!
Verse 26 – One of the most important things that I have learned on my grace journey is how important my believing is and how right believing leads to right living and wrong believing leads to wrong living; therefore, I always notice something when reading the Bible now that I never noticed before. I notice the phase believe and obey. So they too might believe and obey Him. (from verse 26) Right believing has to come first, then obedience will follow.
For example, if I believe the Bible is a book full of rules and my whole goal (when reading it) is to find out what rule there is in each verse for me to follow and I believe that I’m going to be punished by God if I fail to follow those rules, I am not going to be very enthusiastic about reading it.
On the other hand, if I believe the Bible to be a love letter from God to me and a book full of His amazing grace and His promises, then I will be enthusiastic about reading it and I won’t have to be talked into reading and studying it because I will want to as a result of having a right belief system.
Here’s another example. If I believe I have to accomplish a certain amount each day or else I’m a failure, that wrong belief will cause me to be anxious and frustrated. That, in turn, will end up pressuring me to constantly launch forward in works (self-effort), trying to accomplish everything I think I need to in order to keep me from being a failure that day.
Then, because works and self-effort get me absolutely nowhere, it will only end up resulting in an increase of anxiety and frustration for me. Sadly, I’ll lose out on the benefit of trusting in God’s grace to carry me through.
On the other hand, if I believe that my worth and value come solely from the fact that I am a child of God and I am assured that He loves me unconditionally, I will be able to receive His grace to help me do my best everyday and peacefully leave the unfinished tasks for the next day. In addition, I won’t be tempted to feel better about myself on days I get more accomplished or worse about myself on days I get less accomplished. Instead of my accomplishments or lack of accomplishments making me feel emotionally unstable, I will live in stability, all as a result of that right belief. Wow!
And interestingly enough, believing this way will actually free me to get more accomplished because I’ll be working from a place of rest and peace, assured that I am already loved and valued, instead of trying to work for my worth and value!
Do you see how wrong believing leads to wrong living and right believing leads to right living? It really made a huge difference for me when I began to grasp this truth four years ago.
These days, if I’m struggling and living in disobedience in a certain area of my life, I go to the throne of grace (see Hebrews 4:16) and ask God to show me what area my believing is off in so I can begin to believe correctly in that area again, according to His Word. Then I move on, assured that my gracious Heavenly Father is helping me replace my wrong beliefs with right beliefs and that my obedience will naturally flow out of my right believing – out of my renewed mindset!
All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen. (Romans 16:27)
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!