For several weeks we have been considering how God’s mercy in Christ transforms us. When Paul makes an appeal to us by the mercies of God, he is reminding us that God saved us for a purpose (Romans 12:1). The first appeal is that we live dedicated to God, as living sacrifices. The second appeal is that we think of ourselves with sober judgment, as recipients of mercy. Now, we are being called to live together, as the community of Christ.
In Romans 12:4-8, the community of Christ created by the mercy of God is described. Paul uses the image of a human body to shed light on what the church is and how the congregation should live together.
First, we are many. A body has many parts, the Christian community has many members. Praise God for the mercy he extended to many. Glory be to him for showing his mercy to many different people in terms of ethnicity, social status, cultural background, age and sex. How great is the love of God that he would save many.
Second, we are one. The many parts make up one body. The many members make up one community of Christ. By God’s mercy, we are one in Christ. We belong to Christ by grace through faith in him. Though there are many congregations, there is only one church. That church belongs to Christ through his redeeming blood.
Third, we are members one of another. In Christ, I belong to you and you belong to me. Paul said we are individually members one of another. No where else do we find the right understanding of individual and corporate identity like we do in the gospel. In Christ, there are individuals (remaining, acting, responsible, and honored as such) who are members of each other (connecting, caring, contributing as such).
Fourth, we are gifted to serve. Each member has gifts according to the grace given to him. These gifts are to be used in the community of Christ. No one is left out. Let each one come in and serve.
The God of mercy has made community in Christ a reality. The mercy of God is appealing to us to pursue it. Romans 12 is instructing us in it.
Do you wonder how to pray for Grace Community Church? Start in Romans 12:1 and pray line by line through this chapter. Ask God to cause his mercy to transform each of us in the heart that the goodness of this chapter will be lived out in each of our lives.
Do you wonder how to enter the life of our congregation? Join us Sunday as we consider this question from Romans 12:3-8.