under a special agreement with
presents "New Life in Christ" Course 3
under a special agreement with
We have been studying all of the wonderful things God has done for us in Christ. We have seen how God put us in Christ, how He delivered us from the kingdom of darkness, how He has delivered us from the power of sin, self, the flesh, the world, and from Satan. We have seen how Christ came back to live in us that we might fulfill the righteous requirements of the law.
All of these wonderful things are "the mercies of God." We deserved nothing but death, but God has freely bestowed all of these great blessings on us. Now God asks us to do something for Him.
What does God ask us to do? God asks us to consecrate ourselves to Him. Let us hear what God says to us through His servant Paul:
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1
What is consecration? What is the basis of consecration? What is its motive? What is the result of consecration? These are important questions, and we are going to find the answers in this lesson.
What Consecration means
What is consecration? Consecration is the giving of my life to God to do His will instead of my own. It means that I present my body to Him as a "living sacrifice."
The animals which were offered to God in the Old Testament were slain—they were dead sacrifices. God does not ask me to place my body upon an altar to be slain. Instead, He asks me to become a "living sacrifice." This means that He wants me to live for Him. Now let's see more of the meaning of consecration.
The sacrifices in the Old Testament were types of the Lord Jesus. For example, when a lamb was offered as a sin offering, it was a type or picture of the Lord Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.
But there was another sacrifice which had nothing to do with sin. This sacrifice was called "the burnt offering."
The Burnt Offering
What did the burnt offering represent? It represented the Lord Jesus offering up His life to the Father to do His will. This sacrifice was very precious to God, and from it we can learn many things about consecration.
Consecration is Voluntary
Concerning the burnt offering, the Bible says,
"If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord…he shall offer it of his own voluntary will…" Leviticus 1:2-3
This tells us that consecration is "unto the Lord," and that it must be voluntary. God does not compel me to consecrate my life to Him; instead, He says, "I beseech you." God wants me to give my life to Him, not because I have to but because I love Him and want to serve Him.
Consecration is to the Lord
When I consecrate myself to the Lord, does this mean that I am giving my life to be a preacher or a missionary? No, I do not consecrate myself to be a preacher or a missionary. I consecrate myself TO THE LORD, to do His will wherever I am—in school, in the home, or wherever He may send me.
God is the One who decides what He wants me to do and where He wants me to serve Him, and whatever He chooses for me is sure to be the very best for me.
Consecration: the offering of a whole life to God
God permitted four kinds of creatures to be used as sacrifices in the burnt offering. The people who were wealthy brought a costly animal such as a bullock; those with less wealth brought a sheep; and those who could not afford either of these brought a dove or a pigeon. But in each case, it was the offering up of a whole life to God. God could not accept anything less than this.
What does this tell us about consecration? It tells us that consecration is the offering up of a whole life to God.
I cannot give God part of my life and keep part of it for myself. This would not satisfy God, and it would not satisfy me either. All the joy and blessing in the Christian life depend upon our holding back nothing from God.
Consecration is Final
Once an animal was placed on the altar as a burnt offering to God, it was not taken down again. It was holy unto God. The Bible says,
"…every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord." Leviticus 27:28
Once I have dedicated my life to God, I cannot take it back again. God expects my dedication to be a once-for-all giving of myself to Him.
What happens if I fall into sin? Does this mean that I must "rededicate" my life to God? No, it does not mean this. If I have sinned, I should confess my sins to God so that I can once more enjoy His fellowship, but it is not necessary to "rededicate" to God something that has already been given to Him.
Consecration is Continual
The burnt offering was offered to God each morning and each evening, day by day, continually. What does this tell us about consecration?
This tells us that our consecration must be continual. My consecration begins with the act of giving myself to the Lord, but it does not end there. I must live out my consecration. Day by day, I offer myself to the Lord to do His will instead of my own will.
This is what the Lord Jesus meant when He said,
"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross DAILY, and follow Me." Luke 9:23
Why should I Consecrate Myself to the Lord?
Because I belong Him. The Bible says,
"…do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…and YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN? For you were bought at a price…" I Corinthians 6:19-20
"…whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Romans 14:8
These verses tell me plainly that I am not my own. I belong to the Lord. I have been bought with a price.
What was the price the Lord Jesus paid for me? His own precious blood! The Bible says,
"…you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold… But with the precious blood of Christ…" I Peter 1:18-19
The Lord Jesus has redeemed me; He is my Lord and Master; I belong to Him. Since I belong to the Lord, it is only right that I give myself to Him. The question is not, "Do I belong to the Lord?" but "Have I given to the Lord that which already belongs to Him?"
Consecration is simply recognizing Christ's ownership of me and saying to Him, "Lord, I am Yours by right, and I wish to be Yours by choice."
The Bible makes it clear that this is "the reasonable service" of every born-again person.
The Motive for Consecration
I know that I should give myself to the Lord, but what makes me want to do this ? It is the love of Christ. The Bible says,
"The love of Christ compels us…" 2 Corinthians 5:14
When Christ's love touches my heart, I can do nothing but fall down before Him and offer my all to Him. I say with the songwriter:
"When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain, I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Were the whole realm of nature mine.
That were a present far too small
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, MY LIFE, MY ALL."
What is the Purpose of Consecration?
The purpose of consecration is that God's will may be done in my life. It is really the Lord Jesus who does God's will in me. The Bible says,
"Now the God of peace…make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST…" Hebrews 13:20-21
The Gospels tell us how the Lord Jesus did His Father's will when He lived here on earth. The book of Acts tells us how He continued to do the Father's will through the apostles and disciples of that day. Now, the Lord Jesus wants to work through us to do God's will. To do this, He needs us to offer our bodies to Him as a living sacrifice.
The Lord Jesus has no hands to do God's work here on earth except our hands. He has no feet to take God's message to the lost except our feet. He has no lips to tell men of God's salvation except our lips. This is why the Bible says,
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1
When we give ourselves completely to the Lord Jesus, He will work through us even as the Father worked through Him.
How do I consecrate myself to God?
The Bible tells us that we are to present ourselves to God "as being alive from the dead." God does not want me to offer my old self life to Him. It is the new life in Christ which God wants me to present to Him. The Bible says,
"…present yourselves to God, as being alive from the dead…" Romans 6:13
God cannot use anything of the old life. Only those who are "alive from the dead" can serve Him. It is only as I see that I have been crucified with Christ, buried with Him, and raised up again with Him, that I can truly consecrate my life to God.
The result of consecration is that I die to my own plans and ambitions; I live to do the will of God.
The Lord Jesus is our Example. He did not come into the world to do His own will or to be great in the eyes of men. He came to do the will of His Father. Though He was God, He humbled Himself and took upon Him the form of a servant. He was obedient to the will of God, even unto the death of the cross. God now says to us,
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…" Philippians 2:5
Do not think that, if you consecrate your life to the Lord, you will become a world famous preacher or evangelist. Our Saviour was despised and rejected of men. We are His servants, and the Bible says,
"The servant is not greater than his Lord…" John 13:16
No, we will not be great in the eyes of men, but there is a great blessing in consecration. What is it?
The Blessing of Consecration is in finding God's perfect will for my life. God has a work for every child of His. The Bible says,
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
When I consecrate my life to the Lord, He can show me that work which He has for me. My greatest satisfaction comes when I find God's will for my life and do it.
Think of the joy of meeting the Lord in glory and hearing Him say,
"Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your Lord." Matthew 25:21
God has asked me to present my body to Him as a living sacrifice. There is no substitute for this. Prayer, Bible reading, Christian work, witnessing, going to church —all of these things are good but they will not take the place of consecration.
Do you understand what God is asking of you? Have you seen that you belong to Him—all that you are and all that you have—for all time? Have you considered what He has done for you? Has Christ's love touched your heart so that you want to give yourself to Him? If so, study carefully the following statement of consecration. Then, if this is your decision, sign your name to it.
As a born-again person, I realize that I belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I believe that the Lord Jesus is dwelling in me by His Spirit because God's Word says so. 2 Corinthians 13:5; Romans 8:9-10
I believe that He is seeking to work out His purpose through me. John 15:16; Ephesians 2:10
I realize that my life must be yielded to Him in order that He may accomplish this purpose. Romans 6:13
I hear His call to me, "I beseech you…by the mercies of God…that you present your body a living sacrifice."
I now heed that call.