Abandonment of Sin
When Paul made his voyage to Rome a great storm arose which threatened the loss of the ship and the lives of those on board. In order to save the ship the sailors threw overboard the wheat and other article that composed the cargo. But later they had to cast themselves overboard also and abandon the ship. This is the way many people consecrate to God. They proceed by degrees. They yield up the less important things first, rather than give themselves. They give u prejudices or habits or their associations, money, etc., etc. They begin on the outer circumference, but see in the center is still untouched. They keep drawing nearer to the center, the less important things are give first and then things of greater value, but still they are not consecrated, until they come to self and give that. Then the consecration is complete. They commence at the wrong place. Had they commenced with self the beginning everything else would have gone with it. Giving money, time and effort is only trying to get salvation by works until self is given. Then the things go with the consecration, just as the first line draws all the chain with it. Consecration must be complete, and it is never complete until the whole being is given to God.
Paul says, “Your bodies, a living sacrifice.” We use to wonder why he said “your bodies” and said nothing as regards the soul. But we think we see the reason for it now. The body is the instrument through which the soul works. The soul is useless in this world without a body, and can accomplish nothing except through the body. A consecration that is simply in the mind is mere sentiment. And we have too much of that in our day. Consecration must be practical. It cannot be if the body is left out. There is more danger in sentimental consecration that leaves out the body than anything else as regards this question. A great many claim to be consecrated who are not, for this reason. The word of God teaches that consecration is to be intensely practical. We have a body as truly to be consecrated as the soul. The two cannot be separated and be of any use in this world. Disembodied spirits of men are of no use to God here below. It is only for the little season while we are in the body that we can be useful here. There is a legal instrument in the courts called the habeas corpus, meaning, “you may have his body.” A man may by the granting of this writ be brought into court and allowed to show whether he has been justly shut up in jail or not. When his body is brought into court, his soul and spirit are there too, they all go together. The soul is not left behind in the jail. The whole man is there. It seems to us that the apostle meant all this; that the soul is of no use without the body in this world and the body is necessary to make the desire and purpose of consecration practical and complete. Otherwise consecration is of no account in building up the kingdom of God on earth. When the Jewish high priest was consecrated to his sacred office the blood of the sacrifice was touched upon his right ear, the thumb of his right hand, and the great toe of his right foot, to teach that his ears were to be attentive to hear the commands of God; his hands ready to do the work God commanded; and his feet quick to run on the divine errands. In this dispensation all believers are “a royal priesthood.” Their bodies are to be given to a living service. The ears are to be attentive to the divine commands; the hands to do the bidding of God and the feet to run on His errands. The whole body is to be kept in such a manner that the soul can best serve the kingdom of God. Anything that weakens or impairs the body hinders the best service of the soul and is to be avoided, for our “bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost,” and God says, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.” Sloth, intemperance and unchastity are to be discarded that the soul may be unhindered in its duty and devotion to God. Jesus once dwelt in a human body and henceforth the body is to be prized as that abode in which he condescended to dwell. Those blessed eyes beamed with looks of love and tenderness towards the erring. They shed tears over the grave of Lazarus and the incorrigible city of Jerusalem. His ear was quick to distinguish his Father’s voice when the dull ears of the multitude heard only an incomprehensible sound. His tongue spoke forth the praises of his Father. His hands were employed in doing good to mankind all through his ministry, and when he was received up into heaven his hands were spread in blessing upon a ruined world. But he is no longer in a human body upon earth. He has gone up to heaven and we are to be his body. We are to have our bodies take the place of his body here upon earth. Hence the church is the body of which he is the head: He is now to work through our bodies. The world no longer sees him, but it sees us. He still manifests himself, but it is through his church. Our ears must be quick and ready to hear the divine commands; our voices must be tuned to speak forth the Father’s praises, just as his voice once did; our hands must take his place in doing good; our feet must gladly run on errands for God; our whole body, as the expression of our entire nature, must be a living sacrifice to do, be or suffer the will of God, for we now take the place of Jesus as the representatives of God upon earth. How absurd in the light of this truth are those isms and fanatical notions that slight or neglect the body!
In later years there has arisen an absurdity that has captured some weak souls, called “Christian Science.” (Was there ever a fanaticism that did not try to appropriate the name of Christ to find excuse for its existence?) Its fundamental philosophy is that there is no such thing as matter, that everything is mind. It is the old heathen notion of Pantheism revamped. But the inspired word of God declares that we have a body as well as a soul and spirit to be offered to God. Paul prayed that “your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Another absurdity which has swept many weak souls to destruction is Spiritism, which makes a man good for nothing while in the body, but makes him very benevolently anxious to communicate with the living after he is dead. But no good ever came of these pretended communications. There never was a man made better by them or saved thereby from sin, which is enough to show that it is not of God. But God wants us to be good for something while we are alive and not merely after we are dead. He wants a consecration while in the body; a practical, complete offering only is of any consequence to God or man in its results. Christianity has given more honor to the body than any other religion because the body is the instrument of the soul, the temple of the Holy Ghost, and without it the soul can accomplish nothing. Hence instead of leaving it out of the question as being the grosser part of our nature, the consecration takes it in also. Thus the last and least of us is to be offered to God – a complete consecration of all our being.