Every so often, pastors must protect the church from a person who has an agenda that does not fit with the gospel. It could be a flyer we won’t put up, or a book we won’t promote. It could be a speaker we can’t welcome, or a volunteer who has strayed into questionable behavior. It could be that someone is doing things under our roof we can’t condone, and they won’t modify or change their stance. It’s not fun to do this work of protecting. But we do it.
However, we can’t protect our members when they aren’t under our roof. You will see and hear things that are awful, deceptive, sensational, but false and wrong. You will hear versions of the gospel message that are skewed or twisted, and you will have to know that what you are hearing is wrong. We often sit down with people who are wrestling with something deceptive or evil they have been exposed to, to talk it all over, to be discerning together.
Paul reminds us that as we wrestle with things like this, we should remember that God who is good is already victorious over anything that is wrong in our world. When he says, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet,” he is reminding us of Genesis 3:15, when the serpent that spoiled Eden hears that there will be a descendant of Adam and Eve who will crush him finally. That descendant who has crushed evil flat is Jesus. That God will win in the end is not in doubt, no matter the troubles we struggle with in our time. As we remember this fact, sure enough, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is truly with us!