Monday, June 28, 2010

St John Chrysostom on Romans 16:17-18.

"Now I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught, and avoid them. For such people do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own appetites; and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded."
St. Paul says, "I appeal to you to take note," that is, to be exceedingly particular about, and to get acquainted with, and to search out thoroughly— whom, pray? Why, "those who create divisions and difficulties, contrary to the doctrine which you have been taught." For this is, if anything, what undermines the Church: being divided within itself. This is the devil's weapon, this turns all things upside-down. For so long as the body is joined into one, he has no power to get an entrance, but it is from division that the offense comes.
And what causes division? Opinions contrary to the teaching of the Apostles. And where do such opinions come from? From men's being slaves to the belly, and the other passions. "For such people," he says, "do not serve the Lord, but their own appetites" (literally, "belly").
And what are we to do to those who make mischief in this way? He does not say have a meeting and come to blows, but "avoid them." For if it was from ignorance or error that they did this, one ought to set them right. But if they sin willingly, run away from them. And he says this elsewhere as well. For he says, "Withdraw from every brother that walks disorderly" (2 Thess 3:6), and in speaking to Timothy about the coppersmith, he gives him similar advice, saying, "Beware of him" (2 Tim 4:15).

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