THE RESULT OF CONSECRATION
What is the result of consecration? The first result is described in Romans 6, and the second result is described in Romans 12. Many people do not know the difference between the two. Actually, there is a great difference. The consecration in Romans 6 is for one’s own benefit; it is to bear the fruit of righteousness. The consecration in Romans 12 is for God’s benefit; it is for the accomplishment of God’s will. The result of consecration in Romans 6 is deliverance from sin to be a slave of God in order to bear fruit unto sanctification. This is what it means to live out the overcoming life day by day. The result of the consecration in Romans 12 is not just God’s pleasure but the proving of God’s good, well-pleasing, and perfect will.
Brothers and sisters, it is not enough just to let go, believe, and praise. There is one final matter: We have to put ourselves in the hand of the Lord before He can express His holiness through us. We did not have the strength to consecrate ourselves in the past. But after entering the overcoming experience, we can consecrate ourselves. Please remember that we were not able to put ourselves in God’s hand in the past. Now it is no longer a question of being able or not being able; it is a question of being willing or not being willing to put ourselves in His hand. Formerly, it was a question of inability. Now it is a question of unwillingness.
There was a brother in Australia who had consecrated himself fully to the Lord. When he was on a train, a few friends decided to have a card game. Three people were present, and they were short one person, so they invited him to join in. He answered, "Sorry, friends. I do not have my hands with me. These hands are not mine but Another’s. They are merely placed on my body. I dare not use them."
From now on our hands, feet, and mouths belong to the Lord. We dare not use them ourselves. Every time temptations come, we have to say that we do not have our hands with us. This is the consecration of Romans 6. When we consecrate ourselves this way, we will be sanctified and bear the fruit of sanctification. Hence, consecrating ourselves is the first thing we should do after the overcoming experience, and it is also the firstfruit of the overcoming experience.
The consecration in Romans 12 is something for God. It says that we should present our bodies a living sacrifice to God. It also says that such a consecration is holy and well pleasing to Him. Hence, we have to remember that the consecration in chapter twelve has the goal of serving God.
Chapter six is for personal sanctification, while chapter twelve is for the work. Chapter six speaks of consecration, and it also speaks of sanctification and the fruit of sanctification. Chapter twelve also speaks of holiness or being holy. What is sanctification, and what is holiness? Being sanctified or being holy means to be separated unto a certain person for his own use. Formerly we were affected by many objects, people, and affairs. Formerly, we were living for ourselves. Now we are living for God alone.
Once I was coming back home from Hsiao-feng Park. I was about to board a bus but the driver told me to get off. When I looked carefully, I found that it was not an ordinary bus, but a chartered bus. Every Christian should be a "chartered" person. Unfortunately, many Christians are "public" Christians. However, we are not public, but "chartered," fully reserved for God’s will and separated. Romans 12 shows us that our jobs, husbands, children, money, and treasures are all for God alone; they are reserved for God’s use. When we are for God alone, and when we present ourselves to God alone, we should believe that God has accepted us because this is what God is after. God’s goal is not that we would be zealous for a little while. If a man does not consecrate himself to the Lord, He will not be satisfied. Unless a man consecrates himself fully to the Lord, God is not satisfied. God is not satisfied until man anoints the Lord with the ointment. He is not satisfied until we cast all the living that we have into the box (Luke 21:4). Everything has to be offered up to Him.
Brothers and sisters, thank God that we are raised from the dead. We have received mercy from God. This consecration is well pleasing to God, and it is reasonable. Every Christian should consecrate himself; it is wrong to assume that only special Christians should consecrate themselves. His blood has purchased us, and we are His. His love has constrained us, and we live for Him.
Please note the kind of consecration that is spoken of here. We are living stones. Although we consecrate ourselves, we remain living. We are living sacrifices. The sacrifices in the Old Testament were killed by the knife, but we are living sacrifices.
The result of the presenting is in Romans 12:2. "Do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect." This is our ultimate goal today. During the January conference of last year, we saw that God has an eternal purpose, which is accomplished through His Son. God created everything through Him for this purpose. Redemption is for this purpose, the defeat of Satan is for this purpose, and the salvation of sinners is for this purpose. We have to know God’s eternal purpose before we can accomplish what God wants us to accomplish. We are not here merely for the salvation of sinners; we are here for the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose. Every kind of work must be linked up with God’s eternal purpose.
If we do not consecrate ourselves, we will never realize that this will is good. Today many people are afraid of the very words, "God’s purpose"; many people feel uneasy about these words. Christians are afraid of hearing about God’s will. However, Paul said that after a man has presented his body, he will prove what is God’s good, well-pleasing, and perfect will. We can sing about the goodness of God’s will! We can say hallelujah because of the goodness of God’s will! God’s will is good and not malicious. His will is for our profit and without malice. We are too short-sighted. God’s will is good. A brother once prayed a very good prayer: "When we asked for bread, we thought that You would give us a stone, and when we asked for fish, we thought that You would give us a serpent. When we asked for eggs, we thought that You would give us a scorpion. But when we asked for stones, You gave us bread!" We often do not understand God’s love. We do not understand His will. We do not realize that His thoughts toward us are good and excellent. We may complain about many things when they come upon us, but after a couple of years, we have to praise Him for these things. Why should we not praise Him today instead?
God’s will is not only good but also perfect. All of God’s will toward those who love Him is profitable. If we know this, we will not reject His will. Presenting our bodies to Him is holy and well pleasing to Him. Moreover, we will find His will well-pleasing to us and find that His will is good and perfect.
Tonight is the last meeting, and I will ask you to do one final thing, that is, to say to the Lord, "God, I am wholly Yours. From now on, I will not live for myself."
Brothers and sisters, we have seen all of the conditions for overcoming, and they are behind us now. Consecration is the last item in the overcoming life; it is also the first thing that we should do after experiencing the overcoming life. Once we have consecrated ourselves, we should believe that God has accepted our consecration. Once we have consecrated ourselves, we will become a consecrated person. We may feel hot or we may feel cold, but as long as we have truly consecrated ourselves to God in our heart, everything will be all right. I say this in order to help us not live according to our feelings. In Chefoo a brother consecrated himself to the Lord, but he felt that something was wrong between him and the Lord. He thought he had to consecrate himself again. I told him that after a girl is married and finds that she is at odds with her husband one day, she does not remarry her husband again. Even if there is something wrong between the Lord and us, we can only consecrate ourselves once. From that point on, we belong to the Lord, and we can only be for His use.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 24: The Overcoming Life, Chapter 12, by Watchman Nee)