September 24: How Grace Makes You a Giver

2 Corinthians 9:6-15. The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,

“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

If you want to be a giver instead of a taker in this life you have to see all of life differently. You have to see yourself as God sees you. And you have to see what God has done in and for you. The more we understand grace, the more generosity will naturally flow from us as it did Christ. When we walk by faith not by sight, we will find that generosity and gratitude are just normal parts of our everyday life.

This is why God loves a cheerful giver. Shouldn’t God just be happy that I gave at all? Nope. Because God cares less about what you do than he does about why you do it. God wants your life to reveal his grace. That’s all. We are image bearers of the grace of God. God’s grace is abounding to you. It gives you all sufficiency in life. And this allows you to abound in every good work.

Generosity is only a good work if it comes from grace. Giving to help the poor, or tithing, or putting money in the offering plate is not a good work if it comes from guilt, pride, or apathy. Our actions only become good works when they come from an understanding of grace. They are only righteous when they flow from God’s imputed righteousness to us in Christ.
9 As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

This is a psalm describing the righteous person. No, it is not describing you and me (not apart from Christ). Why? Because “there is none righteous, no not one.” There has only been one person in history that has fulfilled all of Psalm 112. Jesus Christ. Jesus distributed freely. Jesus gave to the poor. Jesus’ righteousness endures forever. This verse is not about you being righteous IF you give to the poor. It is about you being righteous BECAUSE Jesus gave to the poor – you and me.

2 Corinthians 8:9. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

2 Corinthians 9:9 is a statement of imputed identity. Christ’s righteousness, proven by his faithful giving to the spiritually poor, is now our righteousness in Christ. That is the grace of God.

The rest of the passage describes what “to live is Christ” looks like when God’s great grace takes hold of our life:
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. – This is a quote from Isaiah 55 describing the New Creation. God’s great harvest is alive in us spiritually today. There is a never ending supply of righteousness seeds available to you. Keep sowing seeds of righteousness by being generous. There is no shortage. There is no lack. Go nuts. Keep giving. The harvest of righteousness is coming.
You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way – God’s grace, which has declared us to be righteous, will bring an outlook and attitude of generosity to our hearts. We have nothing to lose and nothing to gain. We are crazy rich Christians. Every spiritual blessing is ours in Christ. This kind of freedom allows us to live for the blessing of others.
which through us will produce thanksgiving to God – Our righteous generosity blesses others. God will be thanked. And thankfulness is the launching pad for experiencing the joy of God.
while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you – The giver and the receiver will develop a beautiful relationship of mutuality through the meeting of physical and spiritual needs by sharing and praying for each other.
By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ – The gospel is proven once again to actually work. Your generosity proves the gospel. Giving that pleases God flows from our confession of the gospel – your faith. Those who truly believe the gospel of grace will simply be more and more naturally generous as they allow the gospel to take a greater hold of their heart.

Has grace made you a giver? How does the imputed righteousness of Christ free you to be generous?

September 23: Excelling in Grace

2 Corinthians 8:7-9. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.

I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 

It can look like Paul is completely changing gears here in the letter. Suddenly he is talking about a monetary collection. One of Paul’s more practical missions was to collect funds for the suffering church in Jerusalem. But this is not a sudden topic change. In 1 Corinthians 16 Paul had given the church instructions about the collection. Now that Paul and the Corinthians have been reconciled through forgiveness and repentance, Paul wants to see them continue to excel in practical grace.

Grace is, of course, something that we receive. It is God’s one way love to us. No strings attached. It is the air we breathe. But it is also something that we can excel in. Grace received is meant to be grace given. Paul is in no way describing a “work.” It is not an act of earning, or self-justifying, or a sacrament. In fact, Paul makes it clear that he is not giving them a command at all.

So how do we excel in grace? What mindset must we have? And what does excelling in grace look like? Here’s two thoughts:

Excelling in grace flows from the received grace of being In Christ. 

Look at this amazing summation of the gospel in 2 Corinthians 8:9 again,

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 

Your act of giving, your selflessness, your excelling in grace can only occur as you more and more fully understand what Christ has done FOR you.

Jesus gave up everything for us. He spared no expense. He was crucified from his poverty, not his wealth. This was physical and spiritual poverty. He became sin for us (5:21). Why? So that you might be rich. Rich in money? Maybe, but probably not. But rich in grace? Yes. Never ending love. Never ending acceptance. Never ending approval. Even if you never give. He still loves you. Even if you don’t help the poor, he still helps you the same. Even if you let the offering plate pass by, or walk past that homeless man, he never passes you by. That’s grace. That’s what it means to be rich. That’s the overflowing love of God in Christ. You have it, no matter what.

How do I know? Because of how he died and how he lived.  For your sake he became poor.

Excelling in grace flows from faith in Christ in You.  

Sure, you can give your money, time, and resources from pride or from guilt (most of us do). But that is not “to live is Christ.” You can give from what you can spare. But that is not the indwelling Jesus. And it is not faith.

We can give even when we are poor. We can spare no expense. We can go the extra mile when we truly believe that our source of grace is never ending. That everything we give will be restored a hundred times over in the life to come. It is an act of faith to excel in grace.

“To live is Christ” means that we can trust the very life of Christ in us in every area of our lives. This includes the very practical day to day reality of how we use our resources. How we use our money is an act of faith. Faith in the Christ who chose poverty to make others rich. How did he do it? The same way you will. By faith. Faith in God’s future grace that will supply all you need. By love. Love for others that sees their needs as bigger than your own.

Do you excel in the grace of giving and sharing? What makes it easy or difficult for you? How can your union with Christ empower you to trust the grace of God for you so that you can share the grace of God with others?

 

 

September 22: Restoration Part 2: Real Repentance

2 Corinthians 7:9-10. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 

Repentance and forgiveness are at the heart of the gospel, so it is no wonder that even when talking to a group of forgiven Christians, Paul would teach us the need to continually repent. To feel godly sorrow. The need for our hearts to soften through repentance did not end when we got saved. The ministry of reconciliation is impossible without true repentance.

Yesterday we looked at how real forgiveness is something that grace can produce in our hearts regardless of whether or not a person repents. Real forgiveness is unconditional. It always lowers the bar. Grace and forgiveness is the state of being of those that are in Christ.

If this is the case, then we might be tempted to ask “So why repent at all?” If we are unconditionally forgiven, then is repentance even necessary? Well, clearly Paul thought so. Why? Because without repentance there is still no restoration. There is no justice. The aim of all justice is restoration. Forgiveness is the first step, but repentance is the equally necessary second. We might argue that at the cross forgiveness was accomplished (we call this propitiation or expiation in theology). But there is not restoration or justification without repentance on the part of those who are already forgiven.

Where does this repentance come from? Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 7:10 that real repentance flows from godly grief. But what is godly grief? And how does it produce real repentance?

To start, we must understand that repentance enlists the whole person. Mind, will, and emotion. As concerns the mind, godly repentance begins with an understanding of who God is. He is grace. He is holiness. Often we define repentance as “a change of mind.” Like the Prodigal, it is a “coming to your senses.” It is a telling of the truth, to yourself and to everyone else. Real repentance acknowledges the cause of the offense and the effect of the offense. Repentance also involves the will. Amends must be made. Behaviors changed. Confessions spoken. Saying your sorry. But it has to be more than all this.

This truth telling must produce grief.

There must be an emotional response to God’s grace and holiness and also our own wrongdoing. Beyond just admitting the damage caused, we must feel the damaged caused. Truths about God should produce a deep humility and desperation in us.

James 4:9-10. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Psalm 51:17. the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

“So should I not repent until I FEEL complete remorse and grief over my wrongdoing?” No. Repent anyway. And trust in the grace filled forgiveness of God to have already beaten you to the spot. And who knows, maybe the grace filled forgiveness of the person you wronged will also meet you there. In the words of Martin Luther, “If you wait until you are sufficiently contrite, you will never get to the hearing of gladness” 

Real repentance is a difficult and risky thing (like forgiveness). It is to be weak. It is to be desperate. To be humble. To make no excuses. No rationalizations. To throw yourself on the mercy of the offended (God and man). To admit the deserving of their wrath.

But, as Aaron Zimmerman says, “Failure to do so results in an inability to understand oneself and others, and makes Christianity a bizarre and unfruitful exercise in self-improvement. Recognizing our fallenness, however, is step 1 on our way to being undone by the unsurpassable riches of God’s grace in Christ to sinners like you and me.”

Union with Christ also allows us to grieve our sin and the hurt that it causes others. Our union with Christ allows us to feel what he feels and what his Body feels due to our wrongdoing. “To live is Christ” allows us to not only forgive but to also repent, knowing that we are united to the restorative grace of God himself in Christ. Grace that allows us to be humbled in order to be raised up.

When you’ve repented in the past was it merely intellectual or volitional, or was it also emotional? Was there sorrow? How can your union with Christ allow you to see how your sin hurts Christ and his Body?

 

 

 

September 21: Restoration Part 1: Real Forgiveness

2 Corinthians 7:9-10. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 

2 Corinthians 2:7-8. so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.

Something happened in Corinth that required repentance and forgiveness. Paul’s ministry there faced intense opposition, and he called on the church to deal with the leader of this opposition, which they did (2:5-11). But before they did, Paul had written a “severe letter” to the church threatening to dissolve his relationship with them. What we see in 2 Corinthians 7 is that the letter worked. The church repented. Paul forgave. The church forgave the one who opposed Paul. The gospel worked!

Like the Corinthians, we have a very hard time repenting and forgiving, don’t we? The roots of self-justification run so deep in our hearts. Admitting wrong is seen as weakness. And so is forgiving wrong. We fear looking like a hypocrite or a failure. But our union with Christ is what actually empowers us to repent and forgive. To admit failure. To take responsibility. To absorb pain. To restore someone. Repentance and forgiveness are possible because there is good news, and to experience restoration is to experience that good news.

Real Forgiveness

You may remember Jesus’ disciples asked the question about forgiving. “How many times must we forgive?” Jesus’ answer was lunacy. 490. Or forever.

You see, for those who are in Christ, forgiveness is not something that we muster up. It is not a work of righteousness. It is a state of being. We live in grace. The Spirit of Christ has produced kindness and compassion in us. We are perpetually in a state of forgiveness. Even before there has been repentance, there can be forgiveness. This is what your union with Christ empowers. This is the nature of God and his Son.

Romans 2:4. Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Luke 23:34. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 

Forgiveness is not an overlooking of the offense. It is not “forgiving and forgetting.” It is not a state of denial. Forgiveness includes calling evil, evil. But the grace of God that indwells us through the life of Christ allows us to absorb the evil that has been done to us, and use it to produce in us a greater glory. A reconciliation.

Forgiving can feel like you are simply choosing to live with your loss. It can feel like defeat. And in a sense it is. It is a denial of the self that makes room for the grace of God to do its work in you. Grace and forgiveness will crush your self-justification and your natural self-protection. How? Because grace is unconditional forgiveness. And unconditional forgiveness allows you to be ok with never receiving anything in return. No reciprocation. No amends. How is this possible? Because in Christ there actually is no loss. Whatever you have lost through the offense has and will be restored to you in Christ, in eternity. Now forgiveness is an act of faith, not guilt (“I should forgive because Jesus forgave me”).

Some see forgiveness in contrast with justice. But without forgiveness there is no justice, no righteousness. The goal of God’s justice is always restorative. To restore the individual and the community. Forgiveness allows restorative justice to occur. Forgiveness allows the offender to be brought back into the community. Without forgiveness their is only retribution or isolation. Not healing.

But what if there is no repentance? What if the offenses continue? Can there be forgiveness without restoration? Yes. Paul has modeled this for us in Corinth. He had always forgiven the church. And yet he was prepared to break the relationship with the church had they not repented. This requires faith. Faith that allows God to deal with hearts without our own vengeance getting in the way.

Yes, forgiveness is risky. It takes courage. The battle is for hearts and souls. Even the heart and soul of your offender. The battle is for your own heart and soul. Freedom is found in being forgiven and forgiving. Forgiving from a position of grace – before repentance has happened and even if it never happens.

“To live is Christ” unites you to the heart of Christ and his forgiveness. It means your heart is full so that no one can rob you of your reality in him. This is the power behind real forgiveness.

How do you see forgiveness? Have you struggled to forgive someone? To restore them? How can your union with Christ empower you to forgive from grace and faith?

Tomorrow: Restoration Part 2: Real Repentance

September 20: Two Kinds of Sadness

2 Corinthians 7:8-10. For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 

Have you ever been reprimanded? Called out? Chastised? Confronted?

I have.

For a time as a pastor at a church I lived in a state of passive aggressive discontent. Mostly because of my pride. I believed I wasn’t being heard. I was not supported. I was stagnating. I disagreed with my boss (another pastor). I knew better than him. This erupted in a conflict that became public and polarized the church. I resigned my position. There were meetings. Lots of meetings. One really bad one in front of the whole church. I was accused. He was accused. It hurt. But I knew I was right.

I left town for a week. By God’s grace I met with my sister-in-law’s pastor. He listened. And listened. And listened. And then he exposed my sin. He confronted. He called me out. He called me Jonah. It hurt.

I tell you this story because it illustrates the two kinds of sadness that Paul talks about. Worldly sadness and godly sadness.

At first I was sad because I was being hurt. My life was hard. I was the victim. I was David being chased by Saul. But this was worldly. Selfish. A worldly sadness leading me to death.

Warning: mild language, themes.

After being confronted, I was sad. But it was different. It was a sadness that led to repentance. I was sad over my sin more than I was sad over my situation. I asked for forgiveness. From God. From the other pastor. From the whole church. It was hard. But it was grace.

The same thing happened in Corinth. In between 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians there was another letter. It is sometimes called the “severe letter.” Paul confronted the church. He exposed their sin (again). It grieved him to send it. He even regretted it for awhile. But the letter did its job by the work of the Spirit. It brought grief that produced repentance. The church learned to repent and to forgive.

“To live is Christ” does not mean that we won’t sin (obviously). It does mean that when we sin, and when we are confronted, we have a chance to respond with godly sorrow. This is what the life of Christ in us will produce. Sadness unto life. True contrition. Sorrow over the sin itself, not the consequences of the sin. Grief that results not in loss of relationship but in the reconciliation of relationships.

Is your sadness over sin godly or worldly? Do you only display shallow remorse, regret, and self pity when you are called out for your sin? Or does confrontation produce peace in your heart? How can meditating on your union with Christ allow the exposure of your sin to produce peace and salvation in the midst of the sadness over your sin?

Here’s a playlist to help you find that godly sorrow.

September 19: Consecration Part 3: Unequally Yoked

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.

In Consecrated part 1, we revealed our need for holiness and our call to holiness through grace. In part 2 we looked at holiness as the result of faith in our position in Christ. We become holy as we believe we are holy.

So where does that leave us? Is our holiness strictly passive? Or is there something to do, or to not do?

Paul’s admonition to us in 6:14 is to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. The metaphor comes from putting an ox together with a donkey in a yoke to plow your field. This was forbidden in the Mosaic Law. Why? Because God created things for specific purposes. Oxen and donkeys aren’t designed to work together. In the same way, Christians have a unique purpose, a gospel purpose. We have a different purpose than an unbeliever. Unlike unbelievers, we are ministers of reconciliation.

In what way were the Corinthians yoked to unbelievers? Some see it as their continued involvement in the pagan temples. Eating, worshipping idols, and contributing funds. Others see the opposite here. The unbelievers are those Judaizers that opposed Paul and his gospel. The ones who kept the Corinthians from having an open heart toward Paul.

In either case, the Corinthian Christians were not acting as reconcilers to Christ and his grace. They weren’t holy. You can’t yoke grace and law. When you do, you sacrifice holiness. Like an ox and a donkey, you can’t hitch them both to your heart and expect to be holy. Only one of those two things will produce holiness, and it isn’t law.

The question is, “If I am going to be consecrated to holiness, does this affect my relationships, and how?”

You are designed to be a reconciler unto grace. You are an ambassador of Christ. Therefore, Any relationship that causes you take on a controlling identity other than Christ’s grace is to be avoided.

Paul is not talking about our casual relationships or even our relationships outside of the church. He is not talking about avoiding all those who are not Christians (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). More likely, he is warning us about those within the church who are actually unbelievers bent on a false gospel. Those that would destroy our holiness by mixing grace with law.

Our consecration to holiness does not include moving to some sort of Christian ghetto, where we only eat with Christians, in Christian restaurants, watching Christian movies, at Christian theaters, playing on Christian softball teams, and using Christian contractors to fix our Christian houses that we bought from Christian realtors (you get my point).

It is a call to keep anything from stealing our identity in Christ. Does playing on a softball team yoke me to that team? Yes, it does. But does it become my controlling identity? Well, that’s up to you. Does being a Republican or Democrat yoke me to that political party? Does it change my identity? Does it control me? Is it a “law” that replaces grace?

The more imminent danger for us Christians comes from within the church itself. Teachers, doctrines, books, curricula, those “Christian” movies, these all can steal our holiness by stealing our “need” for grace. We find our comfort in a tradition, or a devotional, or a personality, rather than finding it in the grace of Jesus.

Consecration then takes us back to this place of resting in grace. It takes us back to faith in our union with Christ. It takes us back to “to live is Christ.” And it takes us away from those unbelievers that masquerade as light but they are actually darkness.

Can you identify anyone or any group that is robbing you of your identity in Christ? do any of your relationships replace God’s grace in your life? Are you discerning as to what “believers” you listen to? How can union with Christ allow you to be a minister of reconciliation to unbelievers, while guarding your own identity in Christ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all comes down to another example of BE WHAT YOU ARE. You have passively, by faith, been placed into fellowship with Christ. Now, actively, by faith, live out your partnership with Christ. To partner your life with anything else is to be unequally yoked.

 

 

September 18: Consecration Part 2: Be What You Are

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?