Vs. 16, “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.” In an unprecedented list (twenty-seven people), Paul encourages the church in Rome to greet each warmly (vs. 1-16) with a holy kiss. Numerous people are given honor for their love and devotion to the Lord. This reveals the type of person Paul was when it came to building deep friendships. He certainly appreciated others. In the next section of our closing chapter (vs. 17-20), Paul reminds the church in Rome that not everyone was to receive such a friendly greeting. It’s quite notable the action on to which Christians should take regarding false teachers and people of ulterior motives; avoid them (vs. 17). And lastly, Paul gives some ending “shout outs” to a few people before ending with a beautiful benediction (vs. 21-27).
Regarding application…Innocent about Evil? Vs. 19, “Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” There is some irony from Paul because earlier he had just warned everyone to be mindful of evil ways (vs. 17-18). Question: What does Paul mean by this? Remember that Rome was like any modern-day metropolitan city. I live in the greater Los Angeles area and there is always the danger to get caught up in the glitz and glamor. Unlike the small farming town I grew up in, evil is much more prominent and in your face in the big city. The point is: we don’t always have to experience evil to know to stay away from it. Though we have witnessed evil in history and sometimes before our very eyes, we would be wise not to get caught up in it. When I wanted to be a police officer, I used to get intrigued on reading real life crime stories. But, it was quite disturbing and I realized that some evil is best to stay away from. This is what I believe Paul was conveying to us.