He now needs information to increase his faith, and the Prophet has written: “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple”. (Psalm 19:7) To such now, as are feeling after God, through Christ Jesus this message comes: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. (Matthew 11:28) Heavy laden means to be weary of the sinful course of the world and to have a desire to be relieved of this burden. Such a one says: ’I am tired of the wrongful course. I want to follow the right course, to know God, and to do his will.’
Now being drawn to Jesus, he learns through the Word that he must do something. To him Jesus says: ’I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me’. (John 14:6) What can one who is now repentant and changing his course, but still a sinner, do to come into harmony with God? He is informed that it will cost him much. So Jesus says to him: ‘Sit down and count the cost’. (Luke 14:28) He learns it will cost him all he has, namely, the surrender of himself to the Lord. The next step for one, then, to become a Christian is to make a consecration; that is to say, to commit himself to the Lord and his arrangements. And this he may do by saying in substance: ’Blessed Lord, I commit myself to thy arrangements; here I am. Do unto me according to thy holy will. I desire to do thy will.’
Neither the Lord Jesus nor the heavenly Father coerces any one, but we must come to the Lord voluntarily, seeking his aid. This is clearly indicated as necessary to become the follower of Jesus by the words the Master used: ’If you will be my disciple, you must deny yourself, then take up your cross, and follow me’. (Matthew 16:24) Self-denial means an agreement to abandon one’s selfish course and to agree to do the will of the Lord. It means a full and complete surrender of oneself unto the Lord. And this is consecration, the setting aside of oneself to do the Lord’s will.
Those who are selected to be members of the body of Christ, which selection is done during the gospel age, must be justified in order that they might be accepted. They are justified only for the purpose of being accepted as a part of the sacrifice of the Lord. On the typical day of atonement when the high priest of Israel slew the animals, the Lord’s goat pictured this class who come to the Lord in consecration.