The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet, (16:20).
In closing his letter, Paul affectionately sends love and greetings to many individual believers in Rome (at least twenty-eight by name), as well as to house churches and households. And before he signs off, along with several of his fellow servants during this third missionary journey, Paul sends the Roman church a liberating and empowering word of exhortation. A word essential to the growth and well-being of the church; a church, primarily made up of Gentile converts who now find themselves bound by faith with believing Jews.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet, (16:20).
Throughout his letter, much attention had been directed towards systematic doctrine, as well as the history of the nation, Israel. Jews and Gentiles, who had lived for centuries as enemies, had now been brought to unity through Him, the God of Peace. And Paul’s point is abundantly clear, believers have peace with God, and with one another, through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.
Consider Him, the God of Peace
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet, (16:17-20).
And through Paul’s words of warning, ending with the grand declaration of the believer’s assured outcome in Christ, it is as though he invites his readers to join him on a trip down memory lane, to recall every truth that had been so diligently presented.
For it is in remembering, that faith is strengthened to believe and experience all His powerful provision culminated in Him, the God of Peace:
- His Power for Salvation (Romans 1)
- For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith,” (1:16)
- His Kind Gift of Repentance (Romans 2)
- Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (2:4).
- His True and Faithful Word (Romans 3)
- What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar… (3:3-4).
- His Righteousness through Faith (Romans 4)
- For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” (4:3).
- His Justification and Reconciliation (Romans 5)
- Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation, (5:9-11).
- His Free Gift of Eternal Life (Romans 6)
- For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, (6:23).
- His Deliverance from Death (Romans 7)
- Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!… (7:24-25)
- His Ensured Security in Christ (Romans 8)
- Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?… 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, (8:1, 31, 38-39).
- His Faithful Fulfillment of His Word (Romans 9)
- But it is not as though the word of God has failed… 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. 9 For this is the word of promise… (9:6, 8-9).
- His Fulfillment of the Law through Christ (Romans 10)
- For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes, (10:4).
- His Unfathomable Grace (Romans 11)
- In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace… Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! (11:5-6, 33).
- His Magnanimous Mercy (Romans 12)
- Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship… 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good, (12:1, 20-21).
- His Assurance through His Authority (Romans 13)
- Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God, (3:1).
- His Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14).
- for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (14:17).
- His Abounding Hope (Romans 15).
- Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, (5:13).
- His Victorious Peace (Romans 16).
- The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet, (16:20).
How do we respond to Him, the God of Peace?
It was also necessary that the church in Rome be assured that the days of the enemy are short-lived, and that his day of reckoning is surely coming.
We too need reminding:
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet, (16:17-20).
We must commit to grow in His truth in order to detect teachings that are contrary to His Word.
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:17-18).
And as we seek Him in His Word, He will be faithful to unmask the real enemy and to calm the petty skirmishes. We are not to be overwhelmed or fearful; rather we are to be both wise and innocent in understanding that disunity is the work of Satan and is manifested in the flesh.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, (Galatians 5:19-20).
We have been given His Holy Spirit and called to bear His fruit. Let us, therefore commit to answer His call. Let us offer Him our lives, lived out in faith and obedience, that we might be His vessel to foster unity in Him, the God of Peace.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law, (Galatians 5:22-23).
And we can confidently live in His Peace, even in the midst of the most unstable and difficult circumstances. When we intentionally remember all He has done for us in the past and remain convinced of all He will do in the future, we can trust Him Who is able and faithful to establish us in His truth.
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. (16:25-27).
Let us hold fast to His Word, that He would grow us in faith and obedience so as to establish us in His Spirit, that we might daily commune in fellowship with Him, the God of Peace.