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6. A warning against the deceivers
(Romans 16:17-20)
17Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.18For 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. 19For 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.20And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Paul probably learned, while closing his letter, that fanatics of the group of the law of Moses began to call the Christians in the church household meetings in Rome to keep the law of Moses and the customs inherited from Judaism. These laws included abstaining from some foods, fasting on certain days or months, keeping the Sabbath instead of Sunday, and observing the Jewish verses before keeping the Christian verses.
Paul soon recognized the true nature of the temptation, which the devil contrived in the midst of the household churches, and the danger of falling away to the heresy founded on good works, and keeping the law, without embracing the grace of God alone. The cross of Christ, according to this heresy, is not sufficient for obtaining salvation, but we ought to rely on our own efforts, and keep the law of Moses, and observe it with strictness.
Paul saw the devil’s attack against the righteousness of Christ, who has forgiven sinners all their sins, according to his statement: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned”. He described those who sought to twist the free grace of Christ as those who caused divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine about whom the prophet David said: “They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3).
Paul explained this bankruptcy of humanity in his Epistle to the Romans, emphasizing the way of Christ as the only way to our salvation (Romans 3:9-24). After this explanation, the Jewish deceivers came, and endeavored to abolish what Paul came with, before the arrival of his epistle to the church of Rome. Therefore, Paul warned the church in Rome of those lying deceivers.
Before that, in the first meeting of the apostles in Jerusalem, and after a heated argument with those who were fanatic about the law among the believers, Paul said frankly: “Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they” (Acts 15:10-11).
When Peter, the leader of the apostles, endeavored to turn Jesus away from proceeding to the sufferings and crucifixion, Jesus said to him: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:23).
All the endeavors of men to abolish the cross of Christ, and to establish their salvation on their own diligences, failed. They are but satanic deceptions in their essence. In the same manner, the endeavors to revive Humanism appear beautiful, but they are, in essence, against the grace of God. Everyone who seeks to gain paradise through keeping the law, denying the historical truth of crucifixion, and the invaluable redemption of Christ, is entrapped and deceived by the devil.
In his epistle, Paul called upon the confused believers in Rome and said to them: “Be cautious about those deceivers, and keep away from them, and do not allow them to speak in your home circles, for did you not understand what Jesus meant by his statement: ‘It was said to those of old… But I say to you…’ Those deceivers live in the past, and have not passed into the new age, the age of grace. So take hold of the Crucified who was raised from the dead, and you will live forever.”
Paul added to his warning praise and homage to the believers in Rome, saying to them: “I am glad for your true faith and your spiritual love, because you learned obedience, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and you practiced it in your practical life, and this spiritual truth has become known in all the churches of Greece. Therefore, seek wisdom from the living Jesus that you may distinguish good from evil. Do what is good, and leave the stupidity of evil. Ask the living Lord, at all times, for guidance established on the gospel that he may lead you to the right faith, and live in peace with God”.
After these encouraging words, Paul in his holy anger promised them by his unique statement, which we do not find in any other place of the Holy Bible: “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Rom 16:20). This decisive statement means that the God of peace, who from the fullness of peace in himself, will pour out his peace in their hearts. This God, who does not confess confusion, will overcome the devil when Christ comes back from heaven. Paul confirmed to the church in Rome that it was the spiritual body of Christ, and therefore it would practically experience how the Almighty would annihilate the evil one under their feet, for they were in Christ, and Christ in them. “You cannot overcome the evil one by yourselves, but God throws him down under the feet of his beloved Son, because in him you partake of the demonstration of the apparent radiant glory” (Psalm 110:1).
Paul was realistic. He asked the Lord Jesus to keep the believers in Rome from the temptations of the devil, and to establish them in his grace, for grace is the key to the pleasure of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

O Lord Jesus, you taught us to pray: “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”. Open the eyes of our hearts to see you prevailing over the evil one, and keep us from every attempt to redeem ourselves by ourselves, for you, and nobody else, is our Savior.
What is the focus of the temptations of the devil?