Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. KJV
Paul immediately after his words of love and affection to those individual brothers and sisters in Rome that he knew and who Paul had found the qualities or character in them described by the Apostle Peter when he said, 2 Peter 1:2-8 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. NKJV “beseeches” them for the third time in this epistle or letter and we are reminded once again that this English word is translated from the Greek word parakaleo which means to call near, to invite, to invoke, to implore, and to exhort or even beg.
Paul had always been aware of the wiles, schemes, cunning, and craftiness of the devil to infiltrate the domain of the true believers by disguise so that he could root up the true gospel of grace and lead some away into liberalism, license, or legalism as Paul said very passionately on this occasion as he was about to depart from the family of our Lord Jesus Christ in Ephesus with these words, Acts 20:25-32 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. NKJV Paul tells those Christians in Rome to “mark” those people found “speaking perverse things” and this English word “mark” Paul uses is translated from the Greek word skopeo and it means to take aim at (spy), to observe, to fix one’s eyes upon, or to direct one’s attention to those particular people. Paul wanted these beloved believers to him as were those in Ephesus and all the saints to spy out these individuals or groups of professing believers who began to go away from or abandon all together the Apostles doctrine or teachings passed down to them (Acts 2:42).
Paul calls these people those who cause “divisions” or “offences” and this would be how the faithful and true disciples would be able to recognize them. The first character trait of these men would be to cause “divisions” and this English word is translated from the Greek word dichostasia which means disunion (the act of separating), dissension or discord (disagreement among those expected to cooperate), and sedition (the act of resisting lawful authority in this case the Word of God). The second character trait of these men would be to cause “offences” and this English word is translated from the Greek word skandalon which is where we get our English word scandal from and it means to trap or to snare or to cause displeasure or to cause others to stumble or offend or to fall into sin that defiles the person or persons and destroys the body’s fellowship and unity and lastly that dishonors our Lord, Master, and Savior Jesus Christ. Paul shines the light of truth on these false brethren and urges the true brothers of our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:11) to “avoid” them and this English word is translated from the Greek word ekklino and it means to deviate from, to shun (stay away from deliberately; stay clear of), to turn aside or away from or finally to completely depart from or cessation (to stop something).
Paul painted the picture for the believers in Corinth making it crystal clear their responsibility to any person that claimed to be a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ that did not hold to the doctrine or teaching from the Apostles in their everyday life by word and deed. Paul had been made aware of a man in the Corinthian fellowship that carried on a continual sexual relationship with his father’s wife and Paul wrote to that body of believers as to their responsibility with him or any others who would live in that manner without repenting and turning from sin so that our Lord Jesus could then forgive and cleanse them (1 John 1:9). Paul’s word to these in Rome to “avoid” such people can be found consistent with his teachings to all the churches as we see in these words written to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves. NKJV
“Those who cause divisions on obscure points of doctrine are to be avoided, lest they lead us away from the fundamentals. We need to be wise in heavenly wisdom and guileless in regard to evil. The pure, childlike heart is quick to discern the right and wrong, because of the breath that evil leaves on its clear mirror.” F. B. Meyer
“A danger discovered is half prevented. To shun it: ‘Avoid them. Shun all necessary communion and communication with them, lest you be leavened and infected by them. Do not strike in with any dividing interests, nor embrace any of those principles or practices which are destructive to Christian love and charity, or to the truth which is according to godliness. - Their word will eat as doth a canker.’” Matthew Henry
“It is a treacherous, tragic, but true fact that there are many among us that present themselves as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, but have no love for Him born out of a regenerated heart and consequently they have no true love for us either and will seek to bring us down into their level of easy believism that acknowledges sin, but accepts sin, and acts out all manner of sin with no remorse, regret, or repentance ever desired.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…