2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
Over three days we’re looking at what it means to be consecrated or dedicated to God in our holiness. In part 1 we saw our need for holiness and our command unto holiness. Today let’s continue pursuing the idea we landed on in part 1: holiness as a work of grace.
One of the most important things to understand about Christianity (and I know many Christians who still don’t understand it) is that it is a BE WHAT YOU ARE faith. We are becoming from our being. We are not what we do. We are what God has made us. And he has made us holy. Any command to be holy must be understood in light of the imputed holiness that we have received in the Great Exchange.
It’s easy to read the 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 and see harsh, moralistic commands. But that’s not what this is. And if you look closer, these verses actually make some pretty amazing declarations about you Christian. You are identified with righteousness, light, Christ. You are the temple of God. This is our identity in Christ. And nothing can change this. Not even ourselves.
Our consecration unto holiness is an act of faith. Faith in the new identity. The new creation. The new heart. The new life of Christ that indwells us. Consecration is a reliance upon grace. We must read the command toward holiness and cleansing in this light. The light of our purity in Christ. Consecration begins with resting in grace, and then moves to acting from grace. It begins with trusting in received righteousness, and then it acts in righteousness.
Why does so much consecration amount to nothing? Failed commitments and unkept promises? Why does so much of our consecration result in pride? In The Green Letters, Miles J. Stanford points out that often we are consecrating to God what he has already rejected. We see consecration as an improvement of the old man. But the old man was never meant to be made better. He was meant to die (and he has died). The religious activities, the good deeds, the agreements with God, the “I re-dedicated my life to Jesus” all fail to understand that your consecration and sanctification are rooted in a ONCE FOR ALL TIME reality. Any attempt at consecration or re-dedication that is not founded upon the reality of justifying grace that has made you alive in Christ is rejected by Christ.
Therefore any consecration, dedication, setting apart that we do unto holiness must be, by faith, BEING WHAT WE ALREADY ARE.
In consecration we are carrying out our responsibility of responding to that which he has already done, of willing according to his will, of gladly yielding to him that which already belongs to him. We turn from the old man by counting ourselves to have died unto sin and self. We turn to our position in the risen Lord by counting ourselves as new creations alive unto God in Christ Jesus. – Miles J. Stanford
“To live is Christ” has made you holy. You are the sanctified temple of God. His dwelling. There is no greater consecration than that. Our daily consecration is our response of faith to this. In Christ – consecrated by God. Christ in you – consecrated to God.
Have you made promises and commitments to God that you have failed to keep? Why do you think these consecrations failed? How can your consecration or dedication to holiness flow from faith rather than the flesh today? How does union with Christ allow us to be consecrated unto righteousness from faith in our existing righteousness?