To be sure, we can all relate to the phrase, “2 steps forward and 1 step back!” Life is a series of forward movements . . . and, at times, backward movements. The ultimate goal is to move forward farther and more frequently than we move backward! Here is the sacred key that unlocks the forward movement door:
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.Do not conform 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. (Romans 12:1-2)
Here Paul gives us the only motive for consistent forward movement in the life of the Christian: THE GOSPEL! Notice what Paul does not say. He does not say “in view of your trying harder” or “in view of your renewed resolve” or “in view of your consistent commitment.” Instead, Paul gives us the Gospel with these words: In view of God’s mercy.
The Gospel gives full testimony to God’s mercy, and God’s mercy is the key to forward movement throughout this New Year. You see, while we were enemies of God (Romans 5:10), God in Christ sought us, caught us, and bought us with His precious blood on the cross. Because of the cross-work of Christ, we have been liberated from the death grip of sin and slavery to Satan (Romans 6:6-7). And if all that was not enough, God sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of us to guide us, govern us, and grow us into the image of Jesus Christ!
It is “in view of God’s mercy,” not in view of our merit, that we are motivated to keep moving forward, no matter how many times we step backward. Keeping before our eyes of faith all that God has done for us is the key to getting up again and going after the prize again and again and again.
The Gospel’s stunning demonstration of God’s mercy is the motivation for never giving up and never giving in. The more we marinate in God’s mercy—we who deserved only His wrath and judgment—the more we will be motivated to keep moving in the direction He is calling us to go.
Nothing will motivate the Christian more than keeping the reality of the Cross in view. God refused to withhold His precious Son; He gave Him up for us!
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
Is there anything God will withhold from you this year that you need to live the life He is calling you to live? In view of God’s mercy, the Cross is proof that God has given us—and will continue giving us—all things. What greater motive could there be for forward movement?
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!