“The next question to which we address ourselves is this: here is Paul writing a letter to Christians in Rome. Why did he write to them? What is his reason for writing? He must have had one, and in verse 11 he tells us it was this:
‘I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift to the end ye may be established.’
That is the reason — they needed to be established. Conversion is not the end; it is the beginning. Though a man be soundly converted and born again, he may be in a dangerous state. Why? The Apostle tells us in the last chapter—chapter sixteen, in verses 17 and 18:
‘Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.’
When I read that, I almost feel that Paul was writing to modern Christians. I am writing to you, he says, in order to ‘establish’ you. There are people going about using fair words and specious arguments. They are so ingratiating, they seem so fine, and the simple and the ignorant believer is liable to listen to them, and so be carried away by every wind of doctrine. To be converted is not enough; we need to be established and to be built up. This surely was never more necessary than it is today, and that is why it behoves us to study the Epistle to the Romans.
This is a persistent problem. There were false teachers then, the Judaisers and others — and they were leading people astray and many Christians were losing their joy. Look at the Galatians, for instance. They seemed to have lost almost everything by listening to these other teachers. The same thing is happening today. It is not so much false teaching today, as the suggestions that ‘it does not matter what you teach.’ Here it was specifically wrong doctrine, but today the tendency is to say that doctrine does not matter at all — that as long as a man has had some sort of an experience, it does not matter.
‘Surely’, they say, ‘we can all be ecumenical in evangelism at any rate.’ In other words, ‘Let us offer Christ to the people.’
But I say, Who is this Christ? What is He like? Ah, but, they say:
‘…now you are causing divisions; you must not ask those questions. The thing to do is to get people converted first, then we can consider teaching them.’
But we must be certain that they are established, that they come on to the right foundation, because ‘other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid.’ There is false teaching abroad, and it behoves us, therefore, to study this Epistle in order that we may be established.”
~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones