Focal Passage: Romans 12:1-21
What motivates you in your walk with
God? Are you motivated by fear that God will strike you down if you blow it?
Are you motivated by the idea that if you serve God enough (whatever that
means), He will be forced to bless you? Do you know what served as a motivator
for the Apostle Paul? The mercies of God.
Paul spent the first 11 chapters of Romans showing the
theological foundations for our relationship with Christ. Paul showed God to be
the sovereign, faithful God who had brought salvation to the Gentiles and who
would be faithful to keep His covenant promises to Israel (Rom. 9-11). So the
question that logically follows is, “What difference does all of this make?”
In the remaining chapters, Paul pleads with the Romans to
let their orthodoxy (what they now understand and believe) issue forth in
orthopraxy (how they live). In other words, they are to live according to what
they have learned. This is always the point of divine revelation. God not only
wants us to believe the right things, but to live out those beliefs in ways
that glorify Him (James 1:22ff).
How is it possible, then, for us to live lives that please
God? We must present ourselves as “living sacrifices” – which seems like an
oxymoron. However, as we saw in Romans 6, we have been declared dead in Christ
to our sin and ourselves, and alive in Christ through the power of His
Our lives more and more reflect the power and presence of
Christ as we stop being squeezed into the world’s mold and as we keep on
allowing Him to change us by renewing our minds. There is no aspect of our
lives that goes untouched by this transformation.
In light of God’s mercies, we should gladly lay down our
lives as living sacrifices – which is our very reasonable act of worship. After
all, as the great hymn-writer, Isaac Watts said so well, “Love so amazing, so
divine, demands my heart, my life, my all.” Only this kind of life – dead to
self and alive in Christ – can please God. So, the question is, “Does your life