Many have taken this word present to imply consecration without looking carefully into its content of course, that is what it does mean but not in the sense in which we so often understand it. It is not the consecration of our old man with his instincts and resources and natural wisdom, strengths and other gifts.
To the lord, for him to use this will be at once clear from verse 13 of note there the clause as alive from the dead, Paul says, present ourselves unto God as alive from the dead, this defines for us the point at which consecration begins, for what is here referred to is not the consecration of anything belonging to the old creation but only of that which is passed through death to resurrection, the presenting spoken of is the outcome of my knowing my old man to be crucified, knowing reckoning, presenting to God, that is the divine order.
When I really know I am crucified with him, then spontaneously I reckon myself dead and when I know that I’m raised with him from the dead, then likewise I reckon myself alive unto God in Christ Jesus. For both the death and the resurrection side of the cross are to be accepted by when this point is reached, giving myself to him, follows in resurrection, he is the source of my life, indeed he is my life, so, I cannot but present everything to him, for all is his not mine but without passing through death, I have nothing to consecrate nor is there anything God can accept, for he has condemned all that is of the old creation to the cross death, has cut out all that cannot be consecrated to him and resurrection alone has made consecration possible.
Presenting myself to God means that henceforth, I consider my whole life as now belonging to the lord, let us observe that this presenting relates to the members of my body that body which as we saw earlier is now unemployed in respect of sin, present yourselves and your members says Paul and again, present your members. God requires of me that I now regard all my members or my faculties as belonging wholly to him, it is a great thing when I discovered I am no longer my own but his; If the ten shillings in my pocket belong to me then I have full authority over them but if they belong to another who has committed them to me in trust then I cannot buy what I please with them and I dare not move them. Real Christian life begins with knowing this, how many of us know that because Christ is risen we are therefore alive unto God and not unto ourselves, how many of us dare not use our time or money or talents as we would because we realize they are the lords not ours? how many of us have such a strong sense that we belong to another that we do not squander a shilling of our money or an hour of our time or any of our mental or physical powers? On one occasion, a Chinese brother was traveling by train and found himself in a carriage together with three non-Christians who wished to play cards in order to wire away the time lacking a force to complete the game they invited this brother to join them, I’m sorry to disappoint you, he said that I cannot join your game, for I’ve not brought my hands with me. whatever you mean, they asked in blank astonishment, this pair of hands does not belong to me he said and when they follow the explanation of the transfer of ownership that had taken place in his life that brother regarded the members of his body as belonging entirely to the lord that is true holiness.
Paul says present your members as servants to righteousness unto sanctification, holiness, notice a definite act, present yourselves unto God.
What is holiness? many people think we’ll become holy by the eradication of something evil within. No, we become holy by being separated unto God. In old testament times, it was from a man was chosen by God to be altogether his, that he was publicly anointed with oil and was then said to be sanctified thereafter. He was regarded as set apart to God in the same manner even animals or material things, a lamb or the gold of the temple could be sanctified not by the eradication of anything evil in them but by being thus reserved exclusively to the lord holiness. In the Hebrew sense meant something thus set apart and all true holiness is to the lord, I give myself over wholly to Christ that is holiness.
Presenting myself to God implies a recognition that I am altogether his, this giving of myself is a definite thing just as definite as reckoning, there must be a day in my life when I pass out of my own hands into his and from that day forward, I belong to him and no longer to myself. That does not mean that I consecrate myself to be a preacher or a missionary, alas, many people are missionaries not because they’re truly consecrated themselves to God but because in the sense of which we are speaking they have not consecrated themselves to him, they have consecrated as they would put it, something altogether different namely their own uncrucified natural faculties to the doing of his work but that is not true, consecration then to what are we to be consecrated? not the Christian work but to the will of God to be and do whatever he wants, lord I give myself to thee, with this desire alone to know and walk in the path, thou hast ordained that is true giving if at the close of a life we can say that “Paul” I have finished my course, then we are blessed indeed.
There is nothing more tragic than to come to the end of life and know that we have been on the wrong course, we have only one life to live down here and we are free to do as we please with it but if we seek our own pleasure, our life will never glorify God.
A devoted Christian once said in my hearing, I want nothing for myself, I want everything to God. Do you want anything apart from God? or does all your desire center in his will? can you truly say that the will of God is good and acceptable and perfect to you? For it is our walls that are in question here, that strong self-assertive will of mine must go to the cross and I must give myself over wholly to the lord. We cannot expect a tender to make a coat if we do not give him any cloth, not a builder to build us a house if we let him have no building material and in just the same way we cannot expect the lord to live out his life in us if we do not give him our lives in which to live without reservations. Without controversy, we must give ourselves to him to do as he pleases with us, present yourselves unto God, if we give ourselves unreservedly to God, many adjustments may have to be made in family or business or church relationships or in the matter of our personal views, God will not let anything of ourselves remain, his finger will touch point by point everything that is not of him and he will say this must go, are you willing? it is foolish to resist God and always wise to submit to him.
We admit that many of us still have controversies with the lord, he wants something while we want something else. Many things we do not look into, do not pray about, do not even think about unless we lose our peace, we can invade the issue in that way but to do so will bring us out of the will of God, it is always an easy matter to get out of his will but it is a blessed thing just to hand ourselves over to him and let him have his way with us. How good it is to have the consciousness that we belong to the lord and are not our own, there is nothing more precious in the world, it is that which brings the awareness of his continual presence and the reason is obvious. I must first have the sense of God’s possession of me before I can have the sense of his presence with me.
Once his ownership is established then I dare do nothing in my own interests for I am his exclusive property, know you not that to whom you present yourselves as servants unto obedience his servants whom you obey the word, here rendered servant really signifies a bond, a slave, the word is used several times in the second half of Romans 6.
What is the difference between a servant and a slave? a servant may serve another but the ownership does not pass to that other. If he likes his master, he can serve him but if he does not like him, he can give him his notice and seek another master. Not so is it with the slave, he is not only the servant of another but he is the possession of another. How did I become the slave of the lord? on His part, He bought me and, on my part, I presented myself to him by right of redemption, I am God’s property but if I will be his slave, I must willingly give myself to him for he will never compel me to do.
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