Summary: One with each other and Christ
December 19, 2010
If there’s one thing we can take away from the first 11 chapters of Romans it’s that God has done it all. We were totally unable to rescue ourselves because we were steeped in sin which we loved (1-3). But God in His everlasting love predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son and so He called and justified and glorified us (8-11). He gave us faith that we might believe (4, 10), and with it He gave us every other blessing in Christ (5).
Now we stand before His throne with boldness, not because of our own righteousness or ability, but because of the righteousness and ability of His Son, Jesus Christ. We are hidden in Him and clothed with His righteousness.
We deserved wrath, but instead we found mercy when our punishment was poured out on Christ at the cross (3). We’re reckoned to have died with Him there, and His resurrection is our resurrection, His life is our life, and His death to sin is our death to sin (6-7).
When we stand in front of God we find not judgment and wrath for all our wickedness but mercy and love for His Son has pleased Him and we are in His Son!
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? 35Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? 36For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Isaiah 40:13; Job 41:11)
God is beyond understanding, and no one can give anything to Him or even make a suggestion to Him. He knows everything and sees everything, and everything that exists only does so because of Him.
He is the Sovereign Lord of all creation who has chosen in His immeasurable wisdom to show us mercy and give us life:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Because of all that God has done for us, and because He’s set us truly free from the bonds of sin, we love Him and offer ourselves to Him with genuine love. It’s our new nature to produce His fruit the same way an apple tree naturally produces apples—
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit (I Jn. 4:12-13).
Love is the natural result of being in Christ and it’s the natural fruit of the Holy Spirit; it’s not forced or faked. The unregenerate hate God and cannot love or please Him. The regenerate cannot help but return His love as a result of their union with Him and as fruit of His work in them.
And so now, because of love, and in view of His mercies toward us, we freely and sincerely present our bodies to Him: a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
We know there’s no good thing within our flesh (Rom. 7:18), but now we’re joined with Christ, so our bodies can be found holy and acceptable. He paid our debt through His sacrifice, so there’s no more need for blood. “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10).
So, in response to His mercy, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices. We’ve been bought at a price, and so we honor God with our bodies (I Cor. 6:20). We’ve been set free, so we offer ourselves as instruments of righteousness (Rom. 6:13).
This is the reasonable (or logical) response.
If He’s shown us such mercy, then it stands to reason that we’ll walk according to our new nature and bear the fruit He produces within us.
2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
To be “conformed” is to be fashioned after something. He says, don’t fashion yourselves after the world; don’t try to look like them and fit in and blend. Instead, be transformed.
The word is “metamorphoo,” [meta-mar-fa-o] and it sounds a lot like “metamorphosis.” Caterpillars undergo metamorphosis to become butterflies.
When Jesus was transfigured it says: “He was transfigured [metamorphoo] before them” (Mt. 17:2).
Paul describes believers as being “changed” [metamorphoo] into the glory of the Lord (II Cor. 3:18).
We aren’t fashioned after this world—we’re in Christ, and we have a renewed mind, which is the work of the Holy Spirit. (Tit. 3:5). Instead of looking more like the world, we look more like Him! “Those whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (8:29).