Consecration: The Meaning of Consecration

The word “consecration” is very similar in meaning to the word “sanctification.” Consecration is the idea of devotion, particularly to the Lord. Some have suggested the thought of a “filling of the hands.” Sanctification is the idea of separation. It is essentially separation from the world unto the Lord and carries with it the thought of holiness. Both sanctification and consecration are required if we are going to effectively serve the Lord in any capacity.

An important use of the word “consecrate” is found in Exodus 28:3 where the Lord instructs Moses to take Aaron and his sons out from among the children of Israel in order that they might minister to the Lord in the office of the priesthood. They were to be consecrated to the Lord. The word “minister” means to serve. The arena or sphere of their service was the tabernacle. The mode or type of their service was the priesthood, particularly the sacrifices of the Lord.

There were also a number of other duties and responsibilities associated with serving in the tabernacle. Not all priests offered sacrifices upon the altar; there were also responsibilities assigned for the maintenance of the tabernacle. Each person had a particular duty or responsibility, but they all worked together so that it was one work. Although there was diversity as far as individual responsibility was concerned, the object of their service was the Lord Himself.

In the same way, you and I have been “taken out” from the world to serve the Lord. Our arena or sphere of service is essentially the local church. Like the priests and Levites that served in the tabernacle and in the temple, we have been sanctified in order that we might be consecrated, or set apart in order that we might serve. As in the tabernacle, so in the local church of which you and I form a part there is diversity of responsibility. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4 outline the gifts or areas of service that God has assigned to each member as well as the manner in which they are to operate.

What we will notice as we read those passages is that, while there is diversity, there is unity, all working together for the benefit and blessing of the whole. If we read carefully, we will learn that there is no room for independence if we are going to be effective in our service for the Lord. There is not only the thought of unity but also the thought of interdependence. We will discover as well that each is not only dependent upon the other, but each is actually responsible for the other.

We want to notice as well that the idea of ministry is the idea of service. Our service to the Lord can take many forms. Some of the gifts mentioned in Romans, 1 Corinthians and Ephesians are more public in nature than others and seem to be more prominent. Romans 12, however, would remind us that we ought not to be high-minded, because whatever gift we might have has been given to us as an act of the grace of God. More than that, we need to be aware that as stewards of the gifts that God has so graciously bestowed, we will one day give account of our stewardship.

However, the area of service that is likely most overlooked is that which involves serving others. The Lord Himself is the perfect example of consecration in this aspect. He said, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mar 10:45).[1] This is essentially what is referred to in Romans 12, where the word “ministry” is used in connection with other gifts. We may not think of serving others as being a gift given to us by the Lord. However, this is one area where many are used of the Lord, even though they may not recognize it as such. It is necessary to understand that not all “gifts” are of a public or prominent nature.

The expression “given to hospitality” (Rom 12:13) actually means “pursuing hospitality,” or going in for it. The word “hospitality” itself is the idea of taking people in to care for their needs. There are those who are quite capable of doing just that and enjoy it tremendously. It is a gift given in grace by the Lord Himself and needs to be recognized and encouraged. Remember that we serve the Lord by serving others. The Lord Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Mat 25:40).

Some might question whether or not they have any gift, or what their particular gift might be, or whether gifts are restricted to a certain elite group of people with special talents. The Word of God makes it very clear that while not all do the same thing, every one has something to do. Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth that “every man hath his proper gift of God” (1Co 7:7). Later in the epistle he writes concerning spiritual gifts, “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (12:11).

There is no age restriction or requirement as far as serving the Lord is concerned. Even the very young can be used of the Lord to serve His people. Samuel was but a weaned child when he was presented before the Lord in Shiloh (1Sa 1:24). It was a little maid that told Naaman of the prophet of God in Samaria (2Ki 5:2-3). It was just a lad that had the five barley loaves and two small fish that the Lord Jesus used to feed 5,000 (Joh 6:9).

We learn, too, that a person is never too old to serve the Lord. Noah was 480 years old when he began to preach and he was 600 years old when he entered into the ark (Gen 7:6). Moses was 80 years old and Aaron was 83 when the Lord first sent them to speak to Pharaoh to let Israel go (Exo 7:7). Caleb was 85 when he told Joshua that he was just as strong then as he was when he was 40, “for war, both to go out, and to come in” (Jos 14:11).

Whatever God has filled our hands with, we must keep in mind, as Paul reminded the believers at Colossae, “Ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col 3:24). We might ask the question that David asked, “Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?” (1Ch 29:5).

[1] Bible quotations in this article are from the KJV.