17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. (Romans 16:17-19)
There are those walking among the body of Christ causing divisions and offenses. How are they doing this? By using flattering speech, soothing words. Lifting up men, praising men instead of Christ. They pretend to be of Christ but stealthily pit one brother against another seeking to destroy our relationships. Sometimes this is done out ignorance, sometimes another spirit motivates a man or uses the weakness of a man’s understanding. But if a man (or woman) is weak on foundational truths of the Gospel then that person may not be saved. Especially when the brethren are found to be preaching the simple Gospel truths as the Bible teaches them to that weak person. For there is no other truth than Christ crucified and man is appointed to die once and then the judgment (see Heb. 9:27).
Let’s now take a closer look at a couple of words in verse 18 from above.
“smooth words and flattering speech”
The Greek word for smooth words is chrēstologia, numbered G5542 in Strong’s numbering system. It is defined by Strong’s dictionary as: fair speaking, the smooth and plausible address which simulates goodness.
Which simulates goodness. Doesn’t that say it all? Doesn’t that which is antichrist seek to replace Christ and simulate His goodness for a season until satan’s work is destroyed?
Now the Greek word for fair speeches is eulogia, numbered G2129 in Strong’s dictionary. The definition as follows: in a bad sense, language artfully adapted to captivate hearer: fair speaking, fine speeches.
So those who simulate goodness artfully craft their language to captivate and deceive the hearer of what they write and speak. Lord have mercy! Open our eyes to the Truth! This kind of person seeks their own glory, their own will, their own way.
The apostle Paul is clear concerning those who cause divisions and offenses in the body of Christ. AVOID THEM! For how can light and darkness walk together in agreement? Let us continue to stand in the Truth of Christ, gently yet firmly. We do not need to beat anyone over the head, yet we are not called to fellowship with those who cause these divisions and offenses.
Oh Brother – if the church would only grasp today what this verse says. Lies can be spoken softly as well as truth. Many people are deceived by gentle speakers who tell lies.
I have a few scriptures which speak volumes on this. Listen to the response of The LORD to those who speak flattery to unbelievers.
[Jer 6:14-16] 14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. 16 Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
[Jer 8:11-13] 11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. 13 I will surely consume them, saith the Lord: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.
[Jer 23:17-22] 17 They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. 18 For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard [it]? 19 Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. 20 The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. 21 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
God bless you brother
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. [Proverbs 14:12]
Amen, Al. The Lord has told me exactly the same thing …