The Visionary View of the Mercy of God

By J.D. Walt

Prayer of Consecration

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body as a holy and living sacrifice to you.

Jesus, We belong to you.

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:3–8 (NIV)


Consider This

I want to return to the missing phrase from yesterday’s Wake-Up Call entry. Let’s remember the text first:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, (Rom. 12:1).

The magical, miraculous phrase which contains the coherence of the whole letter, if not the whole Bible, is this one: in view of God’s mercy

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice . . . is a fool’s errand without the little phrase, “in view of God’s mercy.” It is not possible. Without the active, living view and vision of God’s mercy, the best you can hope for is religious activism by human willpower. You will endlessly try harder to do better and slowly convince yourself you are not as bad as your neighbor and soon start phoning it in, embracing a tepid faith leading to a mediocre life. 

But that’s not you. 

You live in the view of God’s mercy. The view is of the Son of God. He was there in the garden of Eden, clothing the naked and ashamed Adam and Eve with the sacrifice of animal skins. This is the one Melito of Sardis, second century bishop called,

“the Pascha of our salvation; who in many people endured many things. This is the one who was murdered in Abel, tied up in Isaac, exiled in Jacob, sold in Joseph, exposed in Moses, slaughtered in the lamb, hunted down in David, and dishonored in the prophets. This is the one made flesh in a virgin, who was hanged on a tree, who was buried in the earth, who was raised from the dead, and who was exalted to the heights of heaven.”

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, . . .

The mercy of God is a vision. It is the vision of the eternal, endless, outreach of the almighty God of heaven and earth—offering the gifts of mercy and grace to all who would freely receive. Yes, the mercy of God is Jesus Christ offering himself freely and fully to broken sinners like every single person who has ever lived. Far from some sort of transaction of salvation, it is the gift of relationship becoming a completely transformed and transformative life. 

In view of that, the invitation is this: Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice. In light of God’s offering to us, let us now make an offering of ourselves to God. But here’s the deal. It’s not something you can just decide and do. You can only make the offering if you have truly received the offering. And you can only receive the offering if you have come to know your deep need of the offering of mercy. 

Instead of “the view of God’s mercy,” many translations say, “by the mercies of God.” The offering of your life itself can only happen “by the mercies of God.” It is his mercy that saves us and it is his mercy that enables and empowers us to offer ourselves back to him. We are moving in the realm of the power of God here, which means we are moving in the realm of faith, which means we are moving in the realm of divine relationship. Let’s remember where this letter began:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16–17)

When you catch even a glimpse of the mercy of God it moves you to want to offer yourself as a gift back to God. The great Isaac Watts hymn nails this movement. He begins with “When I survey the wondrous cross on which the prince of glory died,” and he finishes with, “Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small, love so amazing so divine demands my soul, my life, my all.” 



Abba Father! How we thank you for your mercy, who is Jesus. I want to see Jesus. Open the eyes of my heart that I might see Jesus, to behold him—the view and vision of God’s mercy. As we behold him, by the mercies of God, we become like him, by the mercies of God. Holy Spirit, help me to turn my eyes upon Jesus and so be transformed by the renewing of my mind that I might know the will of God and do it. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.