Recently, I heard a powerful sermon on Joshua 3:5 by Dave Butts.: “Then Joshua said to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.’” In this message Dave gave issued a call to Christians to consecrate themselves before the Lord.
In trying to anticipate possible objections to this concept from some quarters I realized that some of my brothers might suggest that this is Old Testament not New Testament and not a concept that corresponds with grace. Put simply, they might say this is something God does not us in his infinite grace for us.
On the contrary, what could be more NT than the idea of God’s people consecrating themselves? For what does it mean to consecrate one’s self? A quick click of the mouse in Microsoft Word shows these synonyms for consecrate: sanctify, bless, hallow, dedicate, devote, set apart, make holy. All are good and acceptable terms to display the meaning of consecrate in a biblical sense.
But the accusation that this is not NT comes from a limited understanding of grace. As I said argument might be stated thusly: that God is the One who consecrates not us. Of course, this is true in a first cause sense. But what could be more NT than:
• working out what God has worked in (Philippians 2:12-13)
• setting apart what God has set apart (2 Timothy 2:21)
• putting on the new man because God has made us into new creations (Colossians 3:10)
• acting like what we are rather than what we were (Romans 6)
• being holy because God is holy and has made us holy (1 Peter 1:15-16; Hebrews 12:14)
• presenting ourselves as living sacrifices because He by his mercies has made us his own (Romans 12:1-2)
So much of the teaching of the NT on how we are to live is representative of this parallel track. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). We forgive because He forgave us (Colossians 3:13; Matthew 18:21-35).
So I agree with Dave. We should consecrate ourselves in the hope that God will do marvelous things in and through us. Christians, like Joshua and the Israelites, written for our instruction as an example to us, let us consecrate ourselves as we ask God to use us for His glory.