Living Sacrifice Motive

Friday: God’s Mercy and Grace to Us

Romans 12:1 In this week’s study, we see that we must look at our Christian life in view of God’s mercy.
God’s Mercy and Grace to Us

Rather than striking Paul dead, instead Jesus sent him to Damascus where he would be told what he should do. When the message came to him by a disciple named Ananias, it was that he was to be God’s “chosen instrument to carry [God’s] name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel” (Acts 9:1-15). 

Mercy? I should say it was. Paul never forgot it. 

That is why, years later, he could write to his young friend and co-worker Timothy, saying, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life” (1 Tim. 1:15-16). It was because he knew himself to be a sinner saved only by the mercy and grace of God that Paul joyfully gave himself to God as a living sacrifice and worked tirelessly to please Him.

Now I come to you. Up to this point I have been asking you to put yourself in the places of Adam and Paul, trying to feel what they must have felt as an awareness of the greatness of the mercy of God swept over them. But if you are a Christian, you should be feeling the same things yourself, even without reference to other characters. 

Ephesians 2 describes your experience. It says that before God revealed His mercy to you, you were “dead in your transgressions and sins” (v. 1). You “followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (v. 2) and were “by nature [an object of God’s] wrath” (v. 3). “You were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and [a foreigner] to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (v. 12). That was your condition. 

But now listen to what God did. “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (vv. 4-7). 

That is the nature of the goodness, love, grace and mercy of our great God. If you are a Christian, shouldn’t it motivate you to the most complete offer of your body to him as a living sacrifice and to the highest possible level of obedience and service? How can it do otherwise? In my opinion, you can never understand and accurately appreciate what God has done in showing you mercy in Christ without replying wholeheartedly,

     Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Study Questions
  1. Read through Ephesians 2:1-10, which describes what we were before Christ, and who we are in Christ. How does Paul describe us without Christ in verses 1-3?
  2. What did Christ do according to verses 4-10? List and explain all the benefits Christ brought us mentioned in these verses.
  3. What does this passage reveal about the character of God?

Application: How can you better offer your body as a living sacrifice to God?

Prayer: Reflect on all of God’s mercies toward you. Go through the passage again verse by verse, confessing your sin and giving thanks and praise to God for His mercy and grace.

For Further Study: Download for free and listen to Donald Barnhouse’s message, “John Newton’s Text.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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