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Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Romans 12: 1

CONSECRATION TO God is one of the greatest privileges that a human being can possess. From our text, we may define consecration as a separation from the common and ordinary, and a dedication to God. We may prove this definition by considering consecrated persons: In Old Testament times Israel was consecrated to the Lord in being separated from the heathen and in entering into covenant relationship with Him; the Levites were consecrated to the Lord in their separation from the ordinary Israelites and in their being wholly given to the Lord (Numbers 8: 16); and the priests in turn were separated from the ordinary Levites and more closely dedicated to God, for they were to do the sacrificing. 

In the New Testament we have examples in Jesus (Hebrews 10: 7, 9), the Apostles and others, in their separating themselves from the common and ordinary pursuits of life and yielding themselves fully to God and His service. Consecrated things also prove our definition: The Sabbath was separated from the rest of the week and devoted to the Lord; and the vessels of the sanctuary were separated from the ordinary vessels used by the Israelites and were used only in tabernacle and temple services. A wrong definition of consecration is sinlessness, as proven by 1 John 1: 8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Let us proceed by asking a number of questions pertaining to consecration and answering them by the help of pertinent Scriptures. We first ask: Who are invited to consecrate? We answer: Neither the world, nor primarily those already consecrated, but the justified, the “brethren” of our text. Those who are already consecrated are invited to consecrate only in the sense of daily re-consecration, as a beloved saint taught on his death bed, “Daily renew your covenant of consecration and daily seek to carry it out.”

Of What Does Consecration Consist?

It consists primarily in surrendering one’s human all to God, and taking His will instead of one’s own. This is accomplished by performing the following seven steps:

  • self-denial (Matthew 16: 24) and world-denial (Mark 10: 37-39)
  • meditation on God’s Word (Psalm 119: 97; 2 Timothy 2: 15)
  • watchfulness and prayer in harmony with God’s Word (Matthew 26: 41; Colossians 4: 2)
  • spreading God’s Word (2 Timothy 4: 2)
  • practicing His Word (James 1: 22)
  • suffering for loyalty to God’s Word (2 Timothy 2: 12)

What are the kinds of consecration? There are two, the first one being consecration unto death. This type of consecration is only available during a faith age, when conditions in the world favor evil and evildoers. Consecration under these conditions implies sacrifice, laying down one’s life unto and until death. The second kind is consecration unto life. This type of consecration will be available in the Millennial Age, when conditions favor righteousness and rightdoers. Consecration will then mean obedience in the performing of God’s will, but because of the changed conditions, will not imply sacrifice. The obedient will then gradually gain life, eventuating in human perfection. The rewards will, however, be greater for those who faithfully carry out their consecration during the faith ages, due to the more difficult nature of consecration when sin is in the ascendency.

What Are the Attributes of Consecration?

In our text the Apostle, by using the word “living,” that is, energetic, indicates power as an attribute of character; by the word “holy” he indicates love, for love is the real spirit of holiness; by the word “acceptable” he indicates justice, for it is our Lord Jesus’ merit making us just or righteous in God’s sight that makes us acceptable to Him; and by the word “reasonable” he indicates wisdom. Thus we see in this consecration text the same four great attributes of character that God possesses. 

Why should we consecrate? Because we owe our all to God (Matthew 22: 37), for He is the One who caused us to come into existence and arranged for our redemption; it will honor God (1 Peter 4: 11); it will uplift ourselves and others (1 Corinthians 6: 9-11); and it will overcome evil (Romans 12: 19-21).

How is Consecration Produced and Carried Out? 

A proper consecration is not produced from fear of punishment, neither from a desire for the approval of others, nor from the hope of reward, but by gratitude for, and appreciation of “the mercies of God,” that is, His past favors. A consideration of these things will awaken faith and love in those who possess a proper heart condition. And it is carried out by faithfulness in following in the Master’s footsteps, in doing the things of which consecration consists (listed above).

When and where should consecration be made, and how long should it last? It should be made as soon as we have counted the cost (Luke 14: 27, 28), and it should not be made before others, but alone with the Lord. It is to last eternally. 

In what Manner should Consecration be Symbolized?

It should not be symbolized by sprinkling, nor by pouring, but by immersion. In sprinkling there is no symbolization of a burial into death and a rising into newness of life (Romans 6: 4). This could not ordinarily be symbolized in pouring either, unless enough water was poured upon the one being baptized to cover him completely, which would normally be impractical. Only in immersion is there a symbolical burial and rising again.

By what is the true spirit of consecration overcome? The Christian’s three great enemies – the world, the flesh and the Devil – seek to undermine our consecration by sin (Hebrews 3: 13; 12: 1), error (1 Timothy 6: 20, 21), selfishness (Romans 8: 13), and worldliness (James 4: 4).

What are the Advantages of Consecration?

Five of the greatest advantages of consecration are:

(1.) The privilege of fellowship with God, Christ and the brethren (1 John 1: 3; 1 Corinthians 1: 9; 1 John 1: 7). How blessed it is to have this fellowship!

(2.) The precious insight which it gives us into the characters of God, Jesus and our Christian brethren. Jesus taught us (Matthew 5: 8): “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” In this life we see God with the eyes of faith, through the knowledge of the Truth, in which we may comprehend Him as being absolutely perfect in wisdom, power, justice and love; and the elect classes will have the privilege of seeing the Heavenly Father face to face and eye to eye. Next to the insight into God’s holy, noble and grand character is an insight into the character of Jesus, whose character is an image of the Father’s. And we are privileged to behold Him, not only as the One “full of grace and truth” (John 1: 14), but also as the One who is at the Father’s right hand in the majesty and beauty of the Divine nature. Next to God and Christ, we have our brethren, into whose characters we are privileged to have an insight.

(3.) The preparation which it gives us for our future office, no matter what may be our place in the Kingdom. How blessed it is to know that God is dealing with us and preparing us for service in the future!

(4.) The best kind of life now. What life can equal the life of the consecrated now? Even though we give up some good things pertaining to self and the world in consecration, we receive a hundredfold, even here and now in this life (Mark 10: 30).

(5.) The final advantage of consecration which we will mention is the glory to come, the blessed privilege of assisting in carrying forward God’s purposes in the future, in the endless succession of Ages to come, as God develops various parts of the universe, one after another, through the Christ. Great and glorious indeed are the benefits which our Heavenly Father will bestow. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of [the natural] man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2: 9)!

When we consider these benefits which God bestows, our hearts cry out, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” Let us, therefore, in anticipation of all these glories, join with every power of heart and mind, of body, soul and strength, in ascribing everything good to God, and in doing everything good for God and Christ and the brethren! All praise and honor and glory be unto God and unto the Lamb, who is seated with Him on His throne, having been a true overcomer!