For the next few Sundays we’re going to be exploring Romans 12. Specifically, we want to see how the gospel of Christ leads to renewal in the life of a Christian and in the life of a Christian community. Last week we saw how the gospel renewal results in transformed lives. Next week we’ll look at how the gospel renews us for service. Finally, in two weeks we’ll see how the gospel renews us as a community of brotherly love. Each of these messages corresponds to the identities that we wear as Christians: we are Learners who are being transformed into the image of Christ. We are Servant Missionaries who use our gifts for Christ. And, we are one Family in Christ.
In regards to last Sunday we saw how the gospel, or in other words – the mercies of God, transforms us. We examined this under three headings: What are God’s Mercies? What Do We Do in Light of God’s Mercies? How Can We Live Out God’s Mercies?
In the first category we highlighted our need for mercy. This realization is challenging because we live in a culture that does not clearly define right and wrong; therefore, the concept of mercy gets muddied. Our need for mercy is often overlooked as well because of our own tendency to justify ourselves. Despite these obstacles Romans 1-3 clearly points to our need for mercy, but it also points to the joyful reality that God is willing to show it to us! Of the many mercies presented in Romans 1-11 we highlighted four: the mercy of justification in Christ, the mercy of reconciliation in Christ, the mercy of glorification with Christ, and our inheritance in Christ.
All of that mercy comes to us freely; we receive it as a gift by faith. And it comes to us at the cost of the life of Christ! What should we do in response? We should offer our entire being, body and soul, to Him as an offering of worship. That conclusion is as simple as it is challenging. In this second section we saw that all of life is an expression of worship based on the past, present, and future mercy that we receive from God.
In order to live a sacrificial life of worship to Christ we noted that it is necessary for us to be transformed by these mercies. This was the final move in the sermon. Justification by grace through faith in Christ must change our hearts. It moves us from pride and self-sufficiency to humility. If we’ve been reconciled and united to Christ, then righteousness and holiness must emanate from our lives. And, if we have such a glorious inheritance, then we can have hope even if we are groaning and suffering. The mercy of Christ makes us a humble community, a holy community, and a hopeful community.
May this glorious gospel bring renewal to us all!
- What are some ways that you can continually remind yourself of your need for God’s mercy?
- How would an awareness of God’s mercy on you change the way you respond to correction?
- In light of God’s mercy, are there areas in which you are holding back from presenting yourself as a sacrifice of worship to the Lord?