Romans 16. In this final chapter of Romans, Paul puts flesh on the practical principles that he had been teaching in the letter. He does this by greeting and showing appreciation to his friends and fellow Christian workers who are known to the Romans (1-16,21-23). The length of the list shows that Paul was not a “lone ranger” in his promotion of the gospel message. Even in his pioneer work, Paul had opportunity to make many friends who lived out the gospel they were ready to die for. The flip-side of the story is that Paul had also encountered many who caused divisions and created obstacles contrary to the gospel of salvation by grace. He encourages the Romans to watch out for such people, and to deliberately avoid them and their influence (17-18).
LORD, may we appreciate and cultivate many friendships that help us to share your gospel and give glory to your name. May we learn to stay away from friends that would sidetrack our commitment to you, and hinder the spread of your word.