(Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog)
In a previous post, we discussed the meaning of consecration and how giving ourselves to God makes a tremendous difference in our Christian life and relationship with the Lord.
But knowing that we should hand ourselves over to the Lord may not be sufficient. We have to realise the underlying basis for our consecration to the Lord and the motivation for us to do so willingly. If we see these two things, our consecration will not be something we do reluctantly or half-heartedly merely because it’s good for us. Instead, it will be a sweet experience that will deepen our relationship with the Lord Jesus.
The basis of our consecration
In our homes we have many possessions that we’ve purchased. Because we paid a price for them, they legally belong to us, and we are their rightful owner.
But do we realise that we ourselves have a “rightful owner”? The Bible tells us that our owner is the Lord Jesus. First Corinthians 6:19-20 says:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price. So then glorify God in your body.”
And Romans 14:8 says:
“For whether we live, we live to the Lord, and whether we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”
The Lord Jesus paid a tremendous price to redeem us: His precious blood, which He shed for us in His death on the cross. First Peter 1:18-19 tells us:
“Knowing that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were redeemed from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ.”
Because He gave His life to purchase us, we now belong to Christ, and He legally owns us. This is the basis for our consecration to Him.
But even though we belong to Him, the Lord still waits for us to take the action of handing ourselves over to Him willingly. He will never force us to do anything. He gave us a free will, and He wants us to choose Him.
This is why it’s crucial for us to see from these verses that we’re no longer our own. We belong to the One who purchased us. If we see and appreciate all the Lord did to gain us, we’ll recognise His right over us. This may cause us to pray, “Lord Jesus, thank You for paying the price of Your own precious blood for me! Thank You, Lord, I no longer belong to myself. I belong to You. You paid the highest price for me. I recognise Your full right over me. Lord, I give myself to You. I hand myself over to You.”
The motivation of our consecration
While God’s legal right over us is objective, there also exists a very subjective aspect to our consecration: God’s love. Throughout the centuries, God’s love has irresistibly drawn those who seek Him to give everything to Him. When His love touches us, we can’t help but consecrate ourselves to the Lord.
The love of God is clearly seen in the death of our Lord on the cross for us. As sinners, we were worthy of nothing but condemnation. Yet God came as a man to this earth and suffered an unimaginable death—all because He loved us.
In 2 Corinthians 5:14, the apostle Paul conveys the deep feeling we experience when we realise what the Lord did for us:
“The love of Christ constrains us because we have judged this, that One died for all, therefore all died.”
The love of Christ—tender yet mighty, gentle yet persistent—constrains us and motivates us to spontaneously give ourselves to Him. When we experience this love, our consecration is no longer simply because we recognise His right over us; it’s also our loving response to His love for us. We’ll spontaneously find ourselves telling the Lord, “Lord, I am worthy of nothing. Yet because of Your love You suffered and died on the cross for me. Lord, Your love is so great! It’s beyond my understanding. I love You, dear Lord. I give all I have and all I am to You.”
So while the solid basis of our consecration is God’s ownership of us, the motivation for us to take this step is God’s constraining love. When we experience the love of God, we can’t help but respond in love to Him.
The words of this hymn express the sweet experience of being constrained by the Lord’s love to give our all to Him:
Thy mighty love, O God, constraineth me,
As some strong tide it presseth on its way,
Seeking a channel in my self-bound soul,
Yearning to sweep all barriers away.
Shall I not yield to that constraining power?
Shall I not say, O tide of love, flow in?
My God, Thy gentleness hath conquered me,
Life cannot be as it hath hither been.
Break through my nature, mighty, heavenly love,
Clear every avenue of thought and brain,
Flood my affections, purify my will,
Let nothing but Thine own pure life remain.
Thus wholly mastered and possessed by God,
Forth from my life, spontaneous and free,
Shall flow a stream of tenderness and grace,
Loving, because God loved, eternally.
(You can read the full lyrics and listen to the tune here.)
May the Lord open our eyes to see the precious price He paid to purchase us and cause us to realise that we belong to Him. And may we be constrained by the love of Christ and experience the sweetness of handing ourselves over to Him.