Grace: How God’s People Put His Righteousness On Display – Notes
Grace: How God’s People Put His Righteousness On Display
“Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a
living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” (Rom 12:1).
Romans 12 begins with the word translated “therefore” in the NIV and is quickly followed with
a word that could be translated “urge” or “appeal” or even the polite “please” as that word is
sometimes used in our day. It’s Paul’s way of saying, “Based on what I have told you about
God and His story and your place in that story I am asking you to do some things in
response.” What follows is a practical list of specific actions that followers of Jesus ought to
take as they interact with each other and their neighbors and even the governing authorities.
The danger of a list like this is almost always the temptation to either measure yourself or
others based on how many checkmarks there are on the checklist. That’s why the words that
come next in Romans 12:1 are so vitally important…”in view of God’s mercy…” Our
obedience is ALWAYS a response to God’s mercy already freely given and not an attempt to
secure a love that is withheld until we have done enough to deserve it. Take a few moments,
before we delve into the verses that come next, to reflect on a way that you have personally
experienced the mercy of God in your life. If you are with a group, share some of those
thoughts with one another.
Consider Romans 12:3,10b and 16b. What do these verses have in common? Why is
humility such a crucial part of discipleship to Jesus? Paul’s practical suggestions for faithful
living likely do not come out of nowhere. As one scholar has said, “You only hang ‘No
Smoking’ signs in places where people might smoke.” Why does Paul mention the idea of
humility multiple times? What makes humility so difficult?
Romans 12 begins with an appeal to unity in the church (12:3-13) then it moves to how we
treat our neighbors (12:14-21) and then how we ought to interact with the governing
authorities of our world (13:1-7). Which of these do you find most concerning? Which do
you find to be most difficult? Focus in on one of these sections and consider these questions:
1) Which verse or sentence do you find to be the most challenging? 2) What makes it so
challenging? 3) What does it look like to respond to that “appeal” in our day?
Romans 13: 8 offers the phrase “…the continuing debt to love one another…” That word
(love) suffers from overuse and muddles meaning in our day. What do you think Paul meant
by that word? So much of what Paul says in 13:8-10, sounds a whole lot like Jesus. What do
you think Jesus meant by that word? What does love look like in practice?
Romans 13:11-14 takes the practical suggestions for faithful living that make up much of what
has come in Romans 12 and 13 and anchors it in a future hope. Why do you think Paul
chooses to make that move? How does our future hope fuel our present action?
Consider Romans 12:12. Which of these three are most convicting to you? How will you