“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). “Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you” (Joshua 3:5).
The Bible encourages those who read its pages to be holy and live consecrated lives devoted to God’s purpose and will. Sadly this subject is foreign to the majority of Christians in the church today. Those who believe in it are often looked upon as being out of touch with reality or as fanatical fools. We are not interested in other people’s versions of the Christian life, instead we need only concern ourselves with what the Scriptures actually teach.
Why do we need to be fully surrendered?
1. We are engaged in spiritual conflict. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12). There is a battle raging for our souls. At present it appears that the devil is victorious over a church that has uprooted itself from the principles of godliness, holiness and sanctification. One of his crafty schemes is to get believers to think that God overlooks their worldliness and sin. He knows that the child of God, who looks to Christ for daily strength, is more than able to resist his lies, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (James 4:7-10).
2. So that we can use the weapons God has provided. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Without holiness it is impossible to live a victorious Christian life. These spiritual weapons cannot be handled by the carnally minded, who, instead of defeating the enemy, they find themselves brought into bondage. Satan and this world can never destroy those who obey the Lord.
3. God only works through clean vessels. “And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you” (Joshua 7:10-13). “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:20-22). Joshua and Paul understood the need for full surrender, sanctification and separation. God is only willing to work with purified vessels. We fool ourselves if we think that God’s expectation is anything less than this. Those who do not surrender to God will surrender to the enemy.
How to be fully surrendered
“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. 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).
1. We must dedicate ourselves wholly to God’s service. Our aim should be to become wholly holy. Do we desire to be acceptable to God? Anything below His standard for Christian living is unacceptable, for it is certain that God does not debate with us about what is socially or morally acceptable. God set the standard in His word!
2. We must avoid the pathway of sin. Romans 12:1 reveals that we cannot walk in unrighteousness and be holy at the same time. There are no half-measures when it comes to full surrender. Surely the words holiness, sanctification, dedication and consecration imply that sin must be dealt with in our lives! Yes, we often miss the mark, but the sin is compounded when we intentionally walk into it. Believers are to “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
3. We must allow God to transform us. Romans 12:2 states that the way we think, that is, our very nature and character, can be wholly transformed by God. We cannot be “conformed to this world” and “transformed” by God at the same time. Romans 12:1-2 use the word “acceptable” twice to show that it is what is acceptable to God that counts; therefore we must abide by His will. If we have our minds in the gutter the stench of the world will be in our hearts. If our minds are transformed then we will have the power to live separated lives.
Unreservedly we must surrender all to God. This means that our whole spirit, soul and body should be sanctified and fit for His use as we await the return of Christ “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).