Jerry Bridges – Why Pursue Holiness?

28 Apr

Romans 12:1&2 – therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1) I urge you

Paul uses appeal (or urge) here like in Philemon where he chooses to appeal rather than command. Paul is appealing to the emotional connection the believer will feel.

Up to this point in Romans he’s been reminding us of the basis on which he will appeal. Therefore (i.e. on the basis of chapters 1-11) he shows us how we should be living in light of the Gospel.

What’s the difference between grace and mercy? Grace addresses our guilt, while mercy addresses the sad situation we are in as a result of our guilt. Grace and Mercy are like the two arms of Gods love.

Ephesians 2 :1-4 – shows our sorry state before god. Dead. And absolute term. Money or morality doesn’t matter. We are following the world and Satan, objects of Gods wrath…it couldn’t get any worse! But God, rich in mercy, made us alive together with Christ!  This is the mercy that Paul appeals to us with in Romans 12.

2) Offer your bodies

Paul’s appeal is that we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. The body is the whole being. The sacrifice is referring to the Levitical sacrifices. Possibly the burnt offering, the offering of consecration. Only offering where the whole animal is offered (except the skin). Also was the only offering that was continually offered.

So we present our entire selves, wholly and constantly to God.

Remember Paul doesn’t command, but appeals, doesn’t want it done out of duty (although it is our duty) but wants the sacrifice to be offered out of our own desires, because of the wellspring of what God has mercifully done.

Do we honestly realise and dwell on the difference between being an object of Gods wrath and an object of Gods mercy!?! Aliens and enemies made friends, sons, beloved. If we dwelt on it more we might have a deeper thanks for what Jesus has done.

3) Holy and pleasing.

The holy that Paul uses could mean our character, just as God is holy in his character. Or it could simply refer to one who is set apart. Someone who is set apart should live like those who have been set apart. We are saints so it makes sense to live like saints!?!

Holy and PLEASING – 1 peter 2:5 says that we should be making spiritual sacrifice that is acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. This through Christ is important because alone even our best works are like filthy rags. On our own it is never acceptable to God, it’s always imperfect and therefore unacceptable. Jesus obedience and sacrifices were the only acceptable sacrifices ever offered.

Gratitude can drive growth

Think of the sinful women who anoints Jesus feet in Luke 7:36. She anoints Jesus feet out of gratitude for what Jesus had forgiven her for (which was much).

“He who has been forgiven much will love much, he who loves much will serve, obey and worship much.”

The Heidelberg Catechism can be summed up like this:

God (leads us to) guilt (leads us to) grace (leads us to) gratitude

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