The Weekly Perspective

by Burke Shade, Assistant Pastor

Often when you hear a sermon or teaching on Romans 16:3-16, it’s called the “Greet One Another” passage and a lot of hay is made of how we should great one another in the church. You hear this sermon in church plants, encouraging everyone to greet visitors so the church will be friendly and they will return because the place is so warm and loving.

But that’s missing the forest for the trees! It’s not just a command to say hello often and nicely, but it’s a catalog of saints in various churches and a catalog of how we ought to be relating to one another — of what kind of saints we ought to be! Paul is saluting a faithful bunch of people, people that we should emulate. People he regards highly.

For example, three times Paul mentions “fellow workers in Christ Jesus,” or “fellow prisoners,” or “fellow workers in the Lord.” Paul is in a Christian body that works together; how often do you strive for that? Four times Paul mentions greeting a “beloved” saint. Paul wants greeted those who “risked their necks for my life,” a woman who was a “mother to me as well,” and twice those who “worked hard for you” or “worked hard in the Lord.” Mothering and hard work don’t go unnoticed by Paul! And there are whole churches, relatives, and friends in the Lord he wants greeted on his behalf. Finally, he instructs them to greet one another with a holy kiss! This is a warm body that exemplifies serving in the Spirit of Christ!

So the next time you greet someone in the body, think about how blessed you are to commune with such people, and strive to serve like those that Paul commends.