First off, I know that I’ve done many posts before (at least one) about Romans 12:1-2. It’s basically the whole purpose this blog’s existence. I’m in Romans again. For a long time I was in 1 John, and I didn’t get a chance to write more on all that God was teaching me while reading that letter. I’ll return to it eventually. But I went back to Romans and began reading it again because of the A.D. series on NBC. I read through Acts to be sure to follow along, but couldn’t stop! I got excited about the beginning of the Church and reading the history of all the church planters that traveled that known world. Since I finished Acts, I kept on reading and went into Romans.
Such an incredible letter. The whole message of all that Christ has done for us, God’s original plan, our mistakes, and what He has done in spite of them all found in one letter to Romans. Paul didn’t stop with those things though. He went on to our response toward Him. Toward His mercy. If God left Israel because of their unbelief, founded a church through faith, and grafted us into His “olive tree,” as Paul puts it, our faith should rouse them toward jealousy to take hold of the saving grace in Jesus themselves. But if we decide to make a righteousness based of our own definition, we won’t ever arrive at the righteousness God gives.
Paul talks about vessels at one point. He mentions that some are for wrath and some for mercy. Some are made for holy things and some for a trash can. All of this now is based on whether or not someone believes. Paul moved from describing an appointing of individuals in one direction to how or that it can be changed or moved into a different direction. It all hinges on faith. Faith is the key. It all hinges on whether or not one believes that we have a condition that needs a Savior, a condition that has an antedote found in Jesus’ blood. Through faith that His blood is enough to cover my punishment for my condition, God has shown us mercy.
So what about this mercy? How do you respond to it? If I’m going to understand His mercy like Paul puts it in Romans, I have to get this through my head: I’m messed up and need a Savior.
All have been shut up in sin, everyone, in order that God could show us His mercy.
And now I have it! I know about it. I’ve read it. How to respond to it? Offer my body as a living sacrifice. Give my body to God, in spite of my wants, because of all He’s done for me. Not just offer it to Him, but offer it to Him alive and holy.
There’s a few things that are important to notice in this. They’re unspoken and slightly hidden. My response to God’s mercy toward me is to surrender to Him. Let go of my wants and desires to cultivate within my life all that He desires. Let go of everything that I already know is wrong and begin to do what He wants, to live the way He designed me to live. To go against the grain of the world. Let go of success. Let go failure. Let go of acceptance, fear, rejection, bitterness, offense, and anything else. Let go of this need to have people like me, fear me, want me, or love me. To just be loved by God and find that most important. To just trust in God.
If I am to offer myself holy to Him, living to Him, my life needs to have been changed by Him. It becomes a “trusting in God” thing. Only He can make me holy. And it’s important to note that it needs to be holy as He defines it, not as I do. So holiness as He defines it is found by faith in Jesus.
The equation: I’m messed up + Jesus paid for my sin + I trust He did it + He shows me His mercy + I surrender/offer myself to Him having been made holy by Jesus’ payment = holy living, true worship, Jesus living through me.
My response to His mercy is to surrender to Him and let Him be holy in my life. To live according to His holiness.
There are so many things that can be impied here. I have to figure out what holiness looks like. I need to understand this. It’s all found in the Bible. So I have to pick it up. But that’s not too difficult. What’s difficult is surrendering. I’m not good at it. Sometimes I want too much to surrender. I have goals, dreams, and hopes for a success that isn’t defined by God, but by what I’ve been surrounded with in my culture and country.
Surrender. We’re taught to fight to the death, not surrender. Kick the enemy while he’s down, not pray for him. Punch those who punch you, not serve them. God’s kingdom rules are backward to what we know. So surrendering what we know to trust in all that God has done for us and how He’s designed us to live is…difficult and demanding.
We have to decide if it’s worth it. If it’s going to be difficult and demanding, then we’re obviously attached to the world a little more than we might think we are. If we truly want what God has in store for us, if we want to know His will (something we might pray for even on a regular basis), then it is worth it.
Let me encourage you (before I lose my train of thought and get on a soap box rampage) to go against the grain of culture! It’s exhilerating and freeing! Nothing can hold you back when you allow yourself to be lost in God’s love! There is no other trust worth having that can compare to the most Trustworthy! If God did His work on the cross before I even had a chance to sin, then my appreciation for that work should be limitless. In view of God’s mercy? Humbled. Bow. Hands raised. Praise. Trust. Rest. Let go. Surrender. And believe me, nothing and no one can touch you.