Romans 16:18-20 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. KJV
Paul now begins to describe in more vivid or graphic detail for us the type of men that are responsible for causing the divisions and offences among a body of true believers. Paul declares that these men do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but instead are servants of their own belly. The English word serve Paul uses is translated from the Greek word douleuo which means to obey or to submit or to yield to or to give one’s self up to or to be in bondage to or finally to be a slave to something or someone. Paul loudly warns these beloved believers in Christ of the character that will come to the forefront from the heart of these men that will be manifested or made visible in their daily lives. What they will visibly display is a strong desire to satisfy their own belly and this English word “belly” is translated from the Greek word koilia which means here figuratively the innermost part of man, the soul, or the heart as the seat of thought feeling or choice. Paul declares them to be slaves of their own thoughts, feelings, and choices that are ungodly, profane, and immoral as described by the Apostle Peter here, 2 Peter 2:14-15 Having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. NKJV
Paul then says that these men will use “good words” and “fair speeches” in order to “deceive” the “hearts” of the simple. Paul uses four very rich and deep words in describing to these beloved believers the character of these men that will rise up from among them having never been true, real, or genuine believers at all. The first English word or phrase is “good words” and it is translated from the Greek word chrestologia which means to speak with smooth and plausible words which simulates, feigns, or makes a pretense of goodness. The second English word is “fair speeches” which is translated from the Greek word eulogia which means polished language in a bad sense, or language artfully adapted to captivate the hearer. The Apostle Peter wrote in his epistle or letter these words about these sort of men that buffet every warning that Paul gives to the Christians in Rome, 2 Peter 2:18-19 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness or by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. NKJV
Paul says that it is by this speaking that they will “deceive” and this is the third rich word Paul uses in this discourse and it is translated from the Greek word exapatao which means to seduce wholly or to beguile, bewitch, enchant, or hoodwink. Paul here begins to point to the true source behind the motivation of these men and that is their father the devil, as our Lord Jesus spoke briskly, directly, and forcefully these words to the religious hypocrites the Pharisees, John 8:38-44 “I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” NKJV
The fourth very rich word Paul uses here to warn these beloved brothers and sisters in Rome is the English word “heart” which is translated from the Greek word kardia which means figuratively the thoughts or feelings, the center of all spiritual life, the seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, emotions, and sensibilities and finally the soul or the mind. Paul warns these believers that this is where the devil’s arsenal of wicked weaponry is launched upon every true, faithful, and steadfast believer in our Lord Jesus Christ. It is because these people themselves possess only a wicked mind that they too want to corrupt as many others as possible. Paul describes the minds of the wicked or unregenerate man as he speaks these words to the believers in Ephesus warning them of their responsibility to not live in the very same manner as these people lived, Ephesians 4:17-19 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. NKJV Paul wants these beloved members of our Lord Jesus’ Mystical Body to not be simple or naive or unenlightened or uninformed of the character of these men or inexperienced in the recognition of them as they infiltrate within their midst or without instruction as to their true nature, true motives, and their true intentions toward the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ true sons and daughters.
Paul acknowledges to them the news or reports of their true character and obedience to the Apostles doctrine and teachings that has been given to him perhaps by some of the previous list of beloved believers he named earlier in verses 6 through 16, but by whatever method Paul received this information, he was convinced of their authenticity and wanted them to recognize the evil persons that would filter in among them and turn away from them (2 Timothy 3:1-5) and continue in their shunning of all things that were evil. Paul then concludes by giving them this great truth to encourage and strengthen their hearts and keep them all knit together in love and the truth of the gospel of Christ and the Apostles doctrines and teachings by reassuring them what our Glorious God is going to do to satan and all who follow him. Paul uses the English phrase “shall bruise” in referring to what God is going to do to satan and his cohorts and it is translated by the Greek word suntribo which means to crush completely, that is to shatter or break into pieces, to tread down or to put satan under foot and (as a conqueror) trample on him to break him down, and this is very clearly demonstrated by these words written by the Apostle John here, Revelation 20:10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. NKJV The English word “tormented” the Apostle John uses is translated from the Greek word basanizo which means to torture or to vex with grievous pains. This the Apostle Paul declares to them to set their hearts and minds at ease that although they may now be experiencing injury from satan and his cohorts, that the final page of the whole story is yet to be fulfilled, but as certain as we can expect the sun to rise at the dawning of another day, we can even be more certain and assured that the troubler of all of us faithful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ will be “crushed completely under our feet shortly” and Paul then says “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, Amen or let it be so”, for it is His Grace only that we need to sustain us.
“The devil and his agents have a particular spite against flourishing churches and flourishing souls. The ship that is known to be richly laden is most exposed to privateers. The adversary and enemy covets such a prey, therefore look to yourselves, 2 John 1:8. ‘The false teachers hear that you are an obedient people, and therefore they will be likely to come among you, to see if you will be obedient to them.’ It has been the common policy of seducers to set upon those who are softened by convictions, and begin to enquire what they shall do, because such do most easily receive the impressions of their opinions.” Matthew Henry
“Our walk with Christ Jesus our Lord in this world of evil, woe, and sin, as we are always hounded by the devil and his minions, as well as the human instruments he uses, is just like the 1972 Miami Dolphins football team, though they were in hard fought games Sunday after Sunday, and despite many players being bruised and injured during the season, at the end their team was undefeated and the last one standing holding the Super Bowls Lombardi Trophy.” 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…