20 Jul Sanctification and Consecration
This is one of the secret treasures of the people of old who walked with God in their times and had very successful outcomes in their obedience and response to God’s dealings in their lives.
Our study is an attempt to unravel some of these secrets to enhance our own walk with God;
a study on holiness which is made possible through a lifestyle of separation unto God, for His purposes not to be hindered in our lives. It also includes an understanding of quality decisions called consecration. A quality decision is a decision based on God’s Word from which there is no changing of mind due to pressure.
The enemy has taken advantage of our humanity’s tendency to laziness, entertainment, carelessness and generally pandering towards ease. He (Satan) has combined this well with disappointment and hurts to breed strife and disconnections among the saints of God. All of these were designed to stop the advancement of God’s kingdom, influence and purposes in the lives of individuals, then corporately in the Body of Christ.
What is needed is for every believer to realise these things and to learn to cultivate lifestyles that are contrary to Satan’s plans and in alignment with God’s ways of doing things: consistency in obeying God’s Word, deepening our intimacy with God, being quick to forgive one another and being battle ready against the schemes of the devil. God’s plans are great and exciting but sometimes the trials we go through make them look dull and unexciting. There are different phases in God’s plans for our lives, so let us develop the necessary disciplines to go through every phase to the final outcomes God has for us.
Understanding Sanctification and Consecration
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
And so for their sake and on their behalf I sanctify (dedicate, consecrate) Myself, that they also may be sanctified (dedicated, consecrated, made holy) in the Truth.
Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching,
That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.
Exodus 28:41 (Amplified)
And you shall put them on Aaron your brother and his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain and sanctify them [set them apart for God], that they may serve Me as priests.
So you shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him. You shall anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister to Me as priests.
For consistency, I suggest the two versions of the above verse be swapped and put in italics.
Consecration is the quality decision made to keep one’s self separated, dedicated and holy unto the Lord. Sanctification is the act of separation unto God. We consecrate when we make the decision .
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. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
To present your body as a living sacrifice is a decision that anything that will not please God will not be allowed on or in your body. When sacrifices are offered, the object used for sacrifice is usually killed and offered entirely to the god they are worshipping. In our case our God is the Almighty Father and we present our bodies, not dead but alive unto Him, wholly available for His service, not for sin. Only then can we truly begin the process of renewing our minds with the Word. Once again a decision is needed. Our minds need the discipline of choosing the thoughts we permit into our thought life! Every new insight into God’s Word concerning our lifestyle demands a decision to allow that lifestyle to become ours. It is not enough to do what we like to do but doing what is pleasing to God.
2 Timothy 2:1-7
You,therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things
Soldier for hardness, athlete for scope and excellence, then farmer for the tool of the kingdom: the seed. The seed needs to be planted in us in all areas, then in others also. All these demand consecration!
2 Timothy 2:1-7 (Amplified)
SO YOU, my son, be strong (strengthened inwardly) in the grace (spiritual blessing) that is [to be found only] in Christ Jesus. And the [instructions] which you have heard from me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also. Take [with me] your share of the hardships and suffering [which you are called to endure] as a good (first-class) soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of [civilian] life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.
And if anyone enters competitive games, he is not crowned unless he competes lawfully (fairly, according to the rules laid down). [It is] the hard-working farmer [who labours to produce] who must be the first partaker of the fruits. Think over these things I am saying [understand them and grasp their application], for the Lord will grant you full insight and understanding in everything.
We consecrate to meditate in the Word day and night. We also decide to be doers of the Word even when it is not convenient. We decide to always ask, “What does the Word say?”, in any matter before we make decisions. Our choices of words, thoughts and actions are products of our consecrated lives.
Consecration helps us stay consistent in being doers of the Word. It helps our intimacy with God. It keeps us from yielding to the flesh and hence to the enemy, Satan. It calls for being hard on one’s self and having the mind to suffer in the flesh.
1 Peter 4:1-2 (Amplified)
SO, SINCE Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], So that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills.
1 Timothy 4:12
Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
Being an example for believers in speech implies a watchfulness over the words of our mouth. Our choice of words is supposed to be a function of our dedication to God.
1 Peter 3:9-11
Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God—that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection].
For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good—whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit).
Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace (harmony; undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) and seek it eagerly. [Do not merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, go after them!]
The same applies to our faith. Consistency in living by faith to please God must be a function of the decisions we have made. Faith pleases God. Our hearts and mouths must be aligned with God’s Word and ways. Being an example will not happen accidentally; it must be on purpose.
Examples of consecration and sanctification
Daniel and his friends are key examples in the Old Testament of how their dedication to God led to their decisions to be separated unto Him. They left the outcome in God’s hands as they stayed in faith believing God to come through for them. And He did!
See the book of Daniel, chapters 1-3 and 6.
And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
Daniel purposed not to defile or pollute himself with the king’s delicacies. While others may have felt privileged to enjoy the king’s delicacies, Daniel realised the defilement this would bring to him if he were to partake of it. Apparently these delicacies may have been involved in the idol worship of the king’s realm at the time. God proved to Daniel that He was interested in the well being of His people. Daniel did not do this with a mind to impress God but decided to do it out of a clear understanding of God’s will and his desire to please God, he decided to do it. Daniel’s friends too!
Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Their decision was final; not subject to debate. No bowing down to idols or images! To live or to die, doing God’s will was paramount for these guys!
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast [him] into the den of lions. The king spoke and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will save thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his nobles, that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting; neither were concubines brought before him; and his sleep fled from him. Then the king arose with the light at break of day, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came near unto the den, he cried with a mournful voice unto Daniel: the king spoke and said unto Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, hath thy God whom thou servest continually been able to save thee from the lions? Then Daniel spoke unto the king, O king, live for ever! My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before him innocence was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
This is the case of Daniel in the lions’ den. It’s a classic case of one man’s consecration being made to be seen as an obstacle to his career promotion because some people envied him and wanted to get rid of him. How this scenario replays itself in many ways today. Do you pursue your career promotion at the expense of your consecration to God? When you know you are being envied, would you throw caution to the wind and still pursue your consecration to God? There seem to be some decisions that there was require no negotiation about. Do we have such today where God is concerned? This guy’s life was at stake; not just his job. He was willing to lay down his life for his consecration to God! Wow! Where are the Daniels of today?
We know from the New Testament writers that their consecration is not less than these ones we are talking about. They would rather suffer than not please God. They considered it an honour to be counted worthy to suffer for the Lord.
The summary is as follows: what decisions need to be made to ensure our consistency in practising the Word of God and staying intimate with the Lord? Such decisions will include time in the Word of God, in study, meditations and confessions. Regular times of these as well as prayers of all kinds and then guarding our hearts and minds from worldly pollutions. Things that have to do with wrong motives, wrong focus and selfish ambitions need to be decisively dealt with in our lives. There should be no area of our lives where we are not open to God’s input and scrutiny. What does the Word say about it? And what is God saying about this? Once your heart is set to establish godly standards, the Holy Spirit will help you as He enlightens your mind and helps transform your mind and thought patterns. God will help us when we make the decision to step up our walk with God.
May the Lord grant us grace to be doers of these things.