Romans 12:1 How to live in view of God's mercy
How to live in view of God's mercy
Scripture reading: Romans 1:1-17, secondary reading could be Psalm 136
In the Book of Romans, Paul is writing to the church in Rome (a church he did not found, but
prayed for regularly and desperately wished to visit)
Paul on his way to Jerusalem with a gift for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem
Paul hoping to visit Rome one day (on his way to Spain-- a missions journey he was planning
to do after visiting Jerusalem)
Note: Romans divides neatly into Sections. i.e Romans 5-8, 9-11, 12-15
Key verses of Romans are found in Romans 1:16-17; "I am not ashamed of the gospel,
because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew,
then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness
that is by faith from first to last,c just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
Romans clearly explains the Gospel. Romans begins with our unrighteousness/our sinfulness,
God's righteousness. Romans speaks of the folly of relying on the Law and good works for
salvation. In Romans, Paul emphasizes God's amazing provision for our salvation--Jesus.
Romans speaks of the righteousness we come to have in Jesus. Romans clearly outlines that
Salvation is by faith in Jesus alone. Furthermore, Romans addresses: The assurance that is
ours in Christ, the struggles we will face as Christians, the future God has in mind for the
Jews, and the expected response and lives we are to live as the followers of Jesus-- righteous
This morning I'd like to focus your attention upon Romans 12:1
Romans 12:1 introduces to the last major section of the book of Romans-- spanning Romans
In Romans 12:1, Paul, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, writes "Therefore, I urge you,
brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy
and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual/reasonable/expected act of worship."
Following this, Paul spends the next 4 chapters giving clear instruction as to how we are to
live as the followers of Jesus-- unpacking for us the righteous life that God requires us--
coming of course from our hearts.
While Paul has much to say in Romans 12-15 as to how we are to live, we won't have the
right heart or attitude as it regards God's will for our lives, unless we pay careful attention to
these words "in view of God's mercy"- Romans 12:1
"IN VIEW OF GOD's MERCY"
Some thoughts about God's mercy
1. God's mercy is something that we cannot earn. See Ephesians 2:8-9
To many people think that God's mercy and favor is something that can be earned. Hence
people try to do good deeds or they try to follow the 10 Commandments-- and yet the
Scriptures are clear-- the Law cannot save. The 10 Commandments, as good as they are,
proves us guilty of sin before God.
In Romans 10:3 Paul speaks of how his fellow Jews instead of submitting to God's
righteousness, sought to establish a righteousness of their own. This is a failing prescription
2. God's mercy is something that we do not deserve
Why is God's mercy something that we do not deserve? Romans 3:10-18 details exactly why
3. God's mercy and grace is best understood in view of the Judgment and
punishment that we deserve for our sins. See Ephesians 2:1-7
In Romans 6:23 it says "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ
Jesus our Lord."
4. God's mercy is an incredible expression of His love for us
In Romans 5:8 it says; "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were
still sinners, Christ died for us."
This truth is declared in many other places. For example, one of the most well known verses
is John 3:16; "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
5. God's saving mercy is something that is received by faith in Christ alone
In Romans 1:17 it says; "For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a
righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by
Notice the last phrase of v.17 "The righteous will live by faith." Salvation is by faith alone--
faith in Jesus alone.
Romans 5:1-2 says; "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into
this grace in which we now stand"
6. The experience of God's mercy and love is something that we are meant to
a. We are to respond with rejoicing to God's mercy and grace
In Romans 5:11 Paul speaks of "rejoicing" in response to the mercy that we have received in
Such reminds me of the song we sang on Wednesday "Happiness is to know the Savior",
being sung as follows; "Happiness is to know the Savior. Living a life within his favor....
Happiness is a new creation, Jesus in me in close relation. Having a part in His salvation....
Happiness is to be forgiven... Taking a trip that leads to Heaven. Happiness is the Lord."
b. We are to respond to God's grace by obeying God's commands-- from a heart filled with
love for God
As I John 5:3 says; "This is love for God: to obey his commands."
TWO KEY WAYS WE ARE TO LIVE IN RESPONSE TO GOD'S GRACE
-a sampling from Romans 12-15:8
I. In response to God's mercy and grace, we are not to live like the people of this
world- like we once did. See Romans 12:1-2; 13:11-14, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
In Romans 12:1 Paul writes "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world"
This is again picked up by Paul in Romans 13:12-14; wherein Paul writes; "So let us put
aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the
daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in
dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not
think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature."
The ways of the world: Lying, cheating, stealing, laziness, living beyond ones means,
drunkenness, greed, selfishness, unforgiving, dishonesty, homosexuality, abortion, pre
marital sex, angry outbursts, crude language
Note: The world applauds when people join in and is disturbed when they don't. 1 Peter 4:4
II. By loving each other -- Romans 12:9-21; 13:8-10; 14, I Corinthians 13
In Romans 12:9 it says; "Love must be sincere". Love must be genuine and not two faced or
In Romans 13:8 it says; "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love
Romans 12:9-21 provides example after example of what love looks like in practice--- being
devoted and loyal to each other, practicing hospitality, serving one another, not retaliating,
not acting as if we are better than anyone, loving our enemies, etc
Romans 14-15 with it's discussion of peoples convictions about religious days and on
whether it was alright to eat food that had been offered to idols, at its core is all about loving
one another as Christians
CONCLUSION: How to live in view of God's mercy
Romans 12-15 holds for us many instructions on how we are to live before God. If we are not
careful, these instructions can devolve into a bunch of do's and don'ts. If we are not careful
we will start to pick and choose which commands of God we think we will try to obey. To
counter this we must pay attention to the first sentence of Romans 12 "In view of God's
When God's incredible mercy, lavished upon us who are so unworthy, is our focus then His
commands will never be about do and do; rather our hearts will be inclined to say "Yes Lord,
I will obey because of your grace and mercy in my life. I will obey because my heart is
devoted to you and I want to live the righteous life that you require-- with a heart filled with
love for you."