Do you have anti-virus software on your computer? Is your network behind a firewall?
"Of course!" you respond. "That's hugely important. Vital, really."
It's hard to deny. With as many viruses and hackers as there are in today's world, it's crucial. It's really foolish not to have it.
As Paul wrapped up his letter to the Romans, he encouraged them to build a spiritual firewall against hackers wanting to invade the "network" of the Roman church. He encouraged them to install doctrinal anti-virus to protect their hearts.
The apostle had been around the block a time or two. He knew well that even with intense security, there were many "viruses" and "hackers" who would still try to invade the church, and rob the Roman Christ-followers of their most treasured possession -- their faith in Christ.
Today, Paul issues the same strong warning to us. False, unbiblical teaching is a "virus" we can't afford to allow inside our churches or our own hearts. False teachers are nothing more than "hackers" that want to seek out and exploit the weaknesses in our faith.
Watch out for them, Paul commands. And keep away from them.
Because the Bible has everything we need to know God, to trust in Jesus as our Savior, to find forgiveness for our sins, and to discover the path to eternal life.
Anything else -- anything not found in the Bible -- is nothing more than a corruption of the truth. It's a contagion that will threaten the security of your faith!
I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them (Romans 16:17, NIV). Our Bible reading for Monday, August 3, is 1 Chronicles 15:1 - 16:36, Romans 16:1-27, and Psalm 90:11-17. Lord, protect me and my church from viruses and hackers. Jesus called them "wolves." Help me to be strong in your word, so that I am protected from the damage that false teachings and false teachers can do.