“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).
God uses our dedication to bring us to sanctification. This obviously means that we must be committed and dedicated to the Lord in every way. It has to be understood that sanctification is not only separation from sin but also a separation to God.
Dedication begins with separation. The word ‘separation’ means “to be set apart” for the Lord’s use. It suggests that He has a special purpose in mind for that which is set apart, and for us it is a holy purpose. When a believer separates himself unto God he is literally conferring all rights to his own life to Him. From that moment he becomes a bondservant of Christ.
By offering our lives to God we are stating that He is the absolute owner of our spirit, soul and body. This is what the apostle Paul was appealing for when he wrote, “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.) It is also the reason why believers are called “God’s peculiar people” (see 1 Peter 2:9.)
The Scriptures call us to walk in holiness, because we are not our own any longer. We have been bought with a price, and so we ought to glorify God in our bodies too. How can we claim to be a separated people, set apart for the Master’s use, if we do not walk in holiness?
God does not force our separation from the world
Though it is true that God has bought us, by His infinite condescension, He will not force us to be holy or separated from the world. He accepts nothing but a voluntary gift from us. And yet He loves us more than we can ever imagine on this side of eternity. It is a privilege to be children of the holy God. Yet as we look at our present condition we cannot fail to see our own worthlessness. If the Lord forced holiness upon us what would He achieve? Does He really want obedient robots?
When we speak of consecration and dedication we refer to the need to voluntarily surrender our entire lives to Christ. Yes, it must be by faith, but surely there has to be a practical outworking of it! By offering ourselves to Him we are not risking everything to blind faith, as though we were about to jump over a precipice into utter darkness, instead we have full confidence that the Righteous Lord will accept our abandonment.
In offering ourselves to God we are placing our lives into the loving hands of our Heavenly Father, and from that moment we can enjoy the full inheritance that He has provided for His own. There can be no looking back if we give ourselves up to Him, for we must allow God to accomplish His will in us. He alone has the infinite wisdom to shape us into a vessel of honour … “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” (2 Timothy 2:21.)
Are we not ashamed?
Are we not ashamed that we have hesitated and waited so long to make such surrender to the Lord? If we have reached the point where we desire nothing but full sanctification from God, then we need to prostrate ourselves before Him as a whole burnt offering and cry,
Take my poor life and let it be,
Forever closed to all but Thee;
Seal Thou my heart, and let me wear
Thy pledge of love forever there.
Until now we have patched up our lives with acts of worship and goodness and congratulated ourselves for being obedient Christians. But when the truth of sanctification blazed through the dark secret areas of heart, we became surprised at its true condition. Now we are ashamed of our backslidings and hypocrisy.
Jesus Christ is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and He wants us to yield ourselves to His will. He wants us to make a complete break from all known evil and to grow up to the full stature of what a believer ought to be … “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13.) Sanctification is one of the methods God uses to reflect His grace and glory to the world. It is time for God’s people to be a separated, dedicated and committed people.