“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 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” (Romans 16:17-18).
Satan is the master of disguise. Because of his arsenal of stealth, he can create and equip false apostles and deceitful workers (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).
In his final admonition to the Romans, Paul urgently addresses his beloved brethren about these wolves in sheep’s clothing. The verbs employed are vigorous and graphic: “NOTE” these smooth-talking spiritual charlatans and “GET AWAY FROM” them.
The doctrine of Christ is not an ever-evolving body of truth. It has been delivered to the saints once-for-all (Jude 3). Any teacher who is at odds with its contents is divisive and scandalous. Therefore, he is to be avoided.
With this final admonition, the apostle Paul exposes the Roman Catholic Church’s massive and fraudulent claim of continual divine revelation beyond the New Testament: By the end of the sixth decade of the first century A.D., there clearly was no authority for any doctrine contrary to what the inspired apostles had received from God and delivered to the saints. Nothing written after Romans by Paul or any other inspired writer contradicts the earlier writings of the New Testament. Truth never contradicts truth.
In light of the egregious apostasy that has emanated from Rome since the first century A.D., Paul’s final admonition stands today as a somber and enduring warning of the essential need to note and avoid those who teach anything contrary to the apostles’ doctrine.
Smooth words and flattering speech are not on par with “It is written”.