Consecration means setting apart people or things from the common affairs of life and dedicating them to God. In the religion of Old Testament Israel, these ‘set apart’ people or things were called ‘holy’, and the act of declaring, acknowledging or making them holy was called sanctification, consecration, or dedication (Exod 13:2; 29:1,27,36). (For details of this basic meaning of consecration see HOLINESS; SANCTIFICATION.) The idea of consecration is common also in the New Testament. Though the word itself is not always used, the meaning is consistent with that of the Old Testament. Priests and the sacrifices they offered were consecrated to God (Exod 28:38,40-41), and Jesus seems to have been referring to priestly service when he spoke of himself as being consecrated to God (John 17:19). He set himself apart to do his Father’s will, and this meant dying for sin (John 12:27; 17:4).

Being the believer’s great high priest, he offered himself as the perfect sacrifice (Heb 10:11-14; see PRIEST). Jesus’ priestly work not only brings forgiveness to believers, but it also sets them apart for God (John 17:19). This involves more than the salvation of believers; it involves the practical offering of themselves to God as living sacrifices (Acts 20:24; Rom 12:1). Although selected people may be consecrated in the particular sense of being set apart for certain tasks (Jer 1:5; Gal 1:15-16), all Christians should be consecrated in the sense of being fully devoted to God. Christ has bought them at the price of his blood and they belong to him. They are disciples of their Lord and servants of their Master, and their commitment to him must be total (Matt 10:37-39; 1 Cor 7:23; 2 Cor 10:5; Col 3:23-24; see DISCIPLE; SERVANT).

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