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The Consecration Key

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:1-10 (KJV)

The Apostle Peter nearly exhausts the Greek language in celebrating the church.  He declares it to be a spiritual house, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and a peculiar people, all adjectives designed to magnify its significance and expand its role in this world.  Do not take these scriptures lightly. 

Peter intended to elevate the church to the highest degree possible and to separate the church the farthest distance possible from the world.  As a spiritual house, we are neither defined nor confined by our flesh; as a chosen generation, we enjoy the special favor of God; as a royal priesthood, we have been branded as kingly servants of God; as a holy nation, we have been consecrated to separation from the world; as a peculiar people, we have a special position, calling and mission.

How special is the church?  It is superior in comparison to others of the same kind.  It is regarded with particular esteem or affection.  It is unique to or reserved for a specific person or thing.  It is made or used for a specific purpose.  It is planned for a specific occasion or purpose, according to the dictionary.  Since the church is this special, it must be consecrated.  We are not a run-of-the-mill, ordinary, also-ran kind of people.  We have been consecrated by God to occupy a special place in his plan and serve a special purpose in His kingdom.  An illustration might help.

If you live in a home like mine, you probably have a set of dishes you use for everyday meals or snacks.  If I am frying eggs, slicing tomatoes or reheating a slice of pizza, (like I cook a lot!) I know to grab one of the plates from this set.  On special days, however, like Thanksgiving, we bring out the Minton china, Eloise pattern, made in England on August 3, 1926.  It was a gift to my wife from her childhood neighbors.  I don’t know how much it is worth, but if I broke one of those pieces, my retirement would come much sooner than I anticipated! 

What’s the difference?  The fine china has been reserved for use at special occasions and by special people.  These aren’t paper plates for picnics.  You eat sliced turkey or leg of lamb on fine china—not hamburgers, hot dogs or baloney sandwiches.  You might even say that this china is consecrated, set aside to be used for occasions that demand the very best we have to offer.

Our new birth thrusts us into a special dimension.  We have a new father, a new name, a new Spirit living within us.  We have a new purpose, a new reason to live.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (KJV).  Even though we have been born again, however, the old flesh with its sinful nature is still within arm’s reach.  We now have a dilemma.  A dilemma (Greek: δί-λημμα “double proposition”) is a problem offering two possibilities.  This has been described as “finding oneself impaled upon the horns of a dilemma,” as on the sharp points of a bull’s horns, both equally uncomfortable.

Living according to the old man is uncomfortable to the new man; living according to the new man is uncomfortable to the old man.  What now? This is precisely what the Apostle Paul was saying to the Galatians: “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” in Galatians 5:16-17 (NIV)

In the fine china illustration, when that special occasion comes and you have guests coming to your house, are you going to set the table with the English Minton or the everyday fare?  The old dishes are still in the cupboard; they’re handy and they still work.  You might say, “I’m not going to all that trouble to put out this fancy stuff.  I’m just going to be me, my old self.  My special guests can just eat off of my plastic dishes like I do.”  In fact, you might even get on eBay and find out how much you can get for the fine china.  You might as well sell it since you never use it. 

But what if the special guest coming to your house is the very one who gave you the fine china as a gift?  How are you going to explain that you sold it and used the money to go on vacation?  Suddenly, you have a dilemma.   Spiritually speaking, the options are the same.  “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV)

Here is the key:  Consecration precedes holiness!  Consecration creates the context, establishes the mindset and provides the impetus to live a holy life before God and before the world.  Once you understand and accept the fact that God has set you apart for His honor and glory, then purpose floods into your life.  You want to be God-pleasing, not self-pleasing.  Without consecration, holiness is an imposition; with consecration, it becomes a privilege.  Without consecration, laying aside worldliness looks like an unfair deprivation; with consecration it becomes a badge of honor.  Without consecration, serving God seems meaningless, silly and unnecessary.  With consecration, it becomes full of meaning, beauty and importance.

Consecration changes your allegiance from yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ.  “But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Ephesians 4:20-32 (KJV)
                Israel was clueless about consecration when the people then asked Aaron to make a golden calf for them to worship.  Aaron collected gold from the people, fashioned a golden calf, built an altar to it and began to worship it, saying, “These be the gods, O Israel, that brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”  These are the same people who saw the ten plagues, saw the death angel pass over them because of the blood of the lamb and saw the Red Sea part before them.  No golden calf delivered them!  This was idolatry at its worst.  God told Moses what was happening and Moses came running down the mountain and saw this sacrilege being committed.

Terrible judgment came on the people because of the sin of idolatry.  Three thousand who worshipped the golden calf lost their lives that day.  “ For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.”   Exodus 32: 29 (KJV).  Israel had consecrated the tabernacle and all of its furniture.  They consecrated all the vessels and instruments that were used in the worship of God.  They consecrated the priests and all the garments that they wore.  They consecrated the sacrifices that they brought to be offered to God.  But, these two words —consecrate yourselves—were never found together until this incident with the golden calf!

It is possible for us to fall into the same trap that engulfed Israel.  We have a consecrated Word.  We have a consecrated doctrine of the oneness of God, baptism in Jesus’ name, the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.  We have consecrated our worship, our music, our organization.  We have consecrated our buildings, our instruments, our giving.

But it is the consecration of ourselves that matters most to God!  As consecrated vessels, we submit to a new way of living.  We have been fashioned for the King’s house!

 “ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2 (KJV). 

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