On His Side and Consecration on Our Side
We ought to know the purpose of God in creating us and in redeeming us. He wishes for us to manifest the life of His Son and share in His Son’s glory. Even before the foundation of the world, God has purposed one purpose, which is to say, that He wants to have many sons just as He has the only begotten Son. And thus it states in Romans 8.29: “whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Why has God done such things? Because He had foreordained us to be conformed to the image of His Son. This is the eternal purpose of God. He purchases and redeems us that He may possess us.
Yet God uses two means to possess us: one is on His side, the other is on our side. On His side, God sent His Son to die for us, to buy us back. According to the right of purchase, we are His bondslaves. Thank the Lord, He has bought us. God once said to Abraham, “He that is born in the house, and he that is bought with money, must needs be circumcised” (Gen. 17.13). Hallelujah, we are not only born of God we are also bought by Him.
We are bought by God and thus belong to Him, yet He sets us free. Although according to the right of redemption we belong to God, He nonetheless will not force us into service. He will let us go if we desire to serve mammon, the world, the belly, or other idols. For the moment God is inactive: He is waiting for us to move: till one day we say on our side: “O God, I am Your bondslave not only because You have bought me, but also because I will gladly serve You.” A verse in Romans 6 unveils a most precious principle concerning consecration. We become God’s bondslaves not only for the reason that He has bought us, but also for the reason “that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye arewhom ye obey” (v.16a).
Here, then, are the two means by which God possesses us. On the one side, we are His bondslaves because He has bought us; on the other side, we willingly and gladly present ourselves to Him as His bondslaves. As regards law, we become God’s bondslaves on the day He purchased and redeemed us. As regards experience, we become His bondslaves on the day we offer up ourselves to Him. From the viewpoint of right and ownership, we are God’s bondslaves on the day we were redeemed. From the viewpoint of practice, we are truly His bondslaves on the day when we voluntarily and gladly give ourselves over to Him.
Consequently, no one will ever be ignorant about his being a bondslave of God, for in order to be His bondslave, the believer will always need to voluntarily present himself. Such consecration is totally one’s own choice and initiative. Hence the offerer will know what he is doing. God will not coerce a person to serve Him. And that is why Paul, knowing the heart of God, does not force, he only “beseeches” (see Rom. 12.1a). God delights to see His people offer themselves willingly to Him. . . .