I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.
Do divisions happen in churches? Why yes! How do they happen? We learn here that divisions happen through certain people who’s smooth talk and flattery create obstacles and divisions among naive church members. They create hurdles that have to be jumped over in order to become christians. These people have an appetite for destruction that burns from the fuel of hell itself and not from heaven. They are ministers of Satan who are disobedient to the commands of scripture. They appear as light when in reality they are dark as night.
We are commanded here to do four things regarding these individuals. We are to “avoid them,” “watch out for them,” “be wise as to what is good,” and “be innocent as to what is evil.” We are encouraged that they, along with Satan, will soon be crushed under the feet of Jesus. We are reminded that the grace of Jesus is, and will always be with us; enabling us to discern these individuals, discern good from evil, and remove obstacles through the truth of the gospel.
Have you been taught doctrine? Are you currently seeking to grow in your understanding of truth? If you are naive with regard to true christian doctrine, the likelihood of you being led astray is very good. If you are instead daily growing in the truth, you have all of the tools necessary to stay strong and planted upon that which is eternal. If you are a child under the instruction of your parents, you have an obligation to learn and grow in the truth. If you are a parent, you are instructed to teach and train your children in true doctrine; that is if you don’t want them to float down the river that leads to hell; and more than likely, suffer the same fate yourself.