Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercies, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. – Romans 12:1-2
Everything we say about transformation must be said “in view of God’s mercies”. God is overflowing with mercies toward us, and this is our only hope of transformation. For that matter, it is our only hope (period). By grace and mercy, we are made right with God in Christ. By grace and mercy, we are united with Christ in His death and resurrection through Baptism. By grace and mercy, we are not separated from God’s love. By grace and mercy, we have hope of transformation even in this life.
That word “therefore” is very important. What Paul says in Romans 12 is built upon what he wrote in Romans 1-11. He is saying, since the gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16); since all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, being justified freely by God’s grace (Rom. 3:23-24); since God demonstrates His love for us in this, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8); since the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:23); since there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1); since nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:31-39); since God is mysteriously faithful even to Christ’s own people who have rejected Him (chapters 9-11); therefore you can and should present your bodies as a living sacrifice, and really expect God to bring transformation out of this.
In short, it all depends on God’s mercy. It is when I start and remain there that I can hope to be changed by the renewing of my mind.
Prayer: Father, I only have hope in view of Your mercies, brought to me through Christ. Send Your Spirit into my heart, that trusting in Your grace, I may be transformed. Amen.
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