25 May 2018

Romans 12

With Romans 12 still fresh in our minds from the recent sermon series and our midweek connect groups, we end this week reflecting on the apostle’s call to the church in Rome, and to us – a call to remember God’s mercies.…

  • We are made righteous before God because of Christ’s death for us (Romans 3:21-22), God having given us His very own righteousness, infinitely exceeding that of the Pharisees and thus assuring us that we shall enter heaven (Matthew 5:20)
  • The benefit of Christ’s death comes to us through faith, not works, it is a gift of God’s grace (Romans 3:27)
  • There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)
  • We have been given the Spirit of Christ to live a life no longer controlled by our old sinful nature (Romans 8:9-11) and to help us in our weakness (Romans 8:26)
  • We have been adopted as God’s very own children (Romans 8:15)
  • What God has done for us is done forever and cannot be undone. Who can be against us when God is for us? (Romans 8:31) Who can accuse us when God has justified us? (Romans 8:33) Who can condemn when Christ is there to intercede for us? (Romans 8:34) What can separate us from the love of Christ? Nothing in all creation (Romans 8:35-39)

Who could have ever imagined that the God of the universe, who called everything into existence out of nothing, would show such mercy to us, a disobedient and undeserving people? And yet in His tender love He chose us, and so we are His holy possession, set aside for Him. In light of this, Paul calls on us to give ourselves fully and unreservedly to God, all that we are, all that we think or feel, all the influence we can exert, all the difference we can make, all our gifts and abilities – nothing is excluded. Our grateful response to God’s mercy is not to bring a sacrifice, but to be one. To the world, this would be an outrageous claim, but to those who have been transformed by Christ’s indwelling spirit, nothing can seem more reasonable – to the mind that delights in God’s law (Romans 7:22), that eagerly desires to know what pleases Him, that recognises that God’s way is the best way, and that realises that God’s will alone is good, perfect, and pleasing, and so joyfully submits to it.

Paul always offers practical wisdom to support his theology, and as we end this week, let’s consider what the apostle holds before us as examples of living sacrificially for Christ…

  • thinking humbly of ourselves, and with sober judgement
  • cultivating a heart that grows more and more tender towards others
  • serving family and friends in ways that can lead them closer to Christ
  • becoming more patient with life’s difficulties and disappointments, both big and small
  • living peaceably in our communities, even with those who make life difficult for us
  • working hard and acting honourably at all times
  • reaching out in mercy to those we come across in need, expecting no return

As we do this, we have the blessed assurance that we shall grow in love for Christ, being transformed into His image from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18).