Consecrationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
After we have been born again, there is still much work for God to do in our lives, and there is also much service that we can render to God. But this calls for a complete surrender of our lives to Him. We need to allow Him to do His work in us; we need to allow Him to use us; and we need to allow Him to lead us over the stretch of road that lies ahead. All this demands an utter consecration of our lives to Him. It amounts to giving our consent to His working in us, to His using us, and to His directing of our ways. In dealing with inanimate objects, God does not require their surrender; but in dealing with living men and women, He needs to gain our consent before He can work in us, or use us, or direct our paths.
If we want to fill a bottle with medicine, the procedure is perfectly straightforward. We simply take up a bottle and pour in the medicine. But we who are parents know that when we want to give medicine to a child, it is quite troublesome. We have to exhort, entreat, and even offer some reward to the child. If that fails, we have to call the older brother or sister, and put the child on the bed, because everyone must help to hold down the child while a little medicine is poured in.
But, brothers and sisters, God does not deal with us as we parents deal with our children. If we do not want Him to do His work in us, He waits. He is extremely patient. We parents may use compulsion with our children, but God waits for our consent. Our consecration is our consent.
In the case of very many Christians, a long time elapses after their new birth before you see any evidence of their really having advanced in the way of God. After a period of perhaps ten years, you still find them more or less where they were before—clearly born again, possibly having acquired a certain amount of doctrinal knowledge, perhaps even actively engaged in a certain amount of “church work,” but as far as true spiritual values are concerned, no further on than they were at the time of their new birth. The explanation is that there has been no handing over of their life to God. There has been no time in their history when they have had a thoroughgoing transaction with God and have definitely said to Him: “I want to be in Your hands for You to work in me and through me and for You to lead me in Your way.” Everyone who wishes to serve God must have such a transaction with Him. Only in the measure in which we allow Him to work in us shall we be able truly to work for Him. Only to the extent to which we have been laid hold of by Him can we be used by Him.
Consecration is a favorite theme with many preachers. Scarcely anywhere is there a series of devotional meetings without the subject of consecration being dealt with. In many instances, however, the emphasis is on man offering himself to God for the ministry. The consecration of which we are speaking here has no such emphasis. If you have such a concept, we trust you will set it aside.
When anything of consequence is undertaken by God or man, the basis of such an undertaking needs to be clear. Now this matter of consecration is one of supreme importance; therefore, it must rest on a solid foundation. If God requires that we surrender ourselves to Him, on what does He base His requirement? He must have ground for requiring our surrender, and we in turn must have ground for surrendering ourselves to Him. The Bible shows that the question of consecration is settled on the ground of purchase. “Ye are not your own,” says the Word in one place, “For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20). And elsewhere it says: “Whether we live, we live to the Lord, or if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:8). The Bible speaks also of our being God’s “bondslaves.” A bondslave is one over whom his master has full rights because of his having bought him. The term “bondslave” does not sound particularly pleasant, but we who have experienced the grace of the Lord know the sweetness of being His bondslaves.
The Lord has purchased us with a great price so that now no one of us has a right to himself. The authority over our lives was given into His hands by right of purchase. It is on this basis that He claims our surrender. At great cost, even at the cost of the precious blood of His Son, God has bought us for Himself. By virtue of His having bought us, the authority over our lives is neither the world’s nor our own; it is His. He has, therefore, clear ground to require that we hand ourselves over to Him.
And from our side, since we were bought by Him, if we do not hand ourselves over to Him, we are acting like runaway slaves. We are like Onesimus, whom Paul sent back to his master Philemon. Many Christians, right up to the present day, are runaway slaves. The Lord has established His rights over them by redemption, yet they refuse to recognize His legal claims. He has paid the price, but they will not let Him take possession of what is His own. This amounts to an offense against the law of the universe. We must settle this matter of God’s legal claim upon us by handing ourselves over to Him.
The sound basis of consecration is a legal one. Our consecration is not based on the constraints of love, as many Christians think. They offer themselves to or withhold themselves from the Lord according as they sense His love or fail to sense it. But in the sight of God, our consecration is not an optional matter; its legal basis is established. You have been bought as His bondslave, and whether you like it or not, you belong to Him. The right to your life is not yours, but His, for He has acquired it by purchase.
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