God is Jehovah M’Keddesh – LORD Who Sanctifies

“But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My Sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” (Exodus 31:13)

In the beginning of man’s history he was created in the image of his Creator, man was perfect and had no evil thoughts, no evil desires, and was in harmony with God. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27) God walked with man in the Garden of Eden and God and man fellowshipped together. Then that evil serpent of old came and tempted man that he could be as God, that he would have knowledge as God, and that he could rule the given world as a god. Man choose to fall to the temptation and ate the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Sin had entered into the world and suffered its penalty which is death. Man was no longer righteous, no longer pure, and no longer could have a personal relationship with God. Man gave up his holy state and now is lost in a sinful state separated from God his Creator.

As we have studied the names and attributes of God no other name gives us a better picture of God’s nature than Jehovah M’Keddesh – the Lord who Sanctifies. This name of the Lord God is also the measure of what he requires of his people. As believers and followers of God we are to be as He is holy and sanctified.

In the Law of Moses we are commanded to be holy, we are to set ourselves apart and be dedicated to our God. “You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. ‘You shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” (Leviticus 20:7-8) We as His own are to set ourselves apart from the worldly and keep the commandments of God and thus He will sanctify us. The word M’Keddesh translates into the words “sanctify, holy, dedicate, sanctuary, and hollow.” Mostly we see the translation as the word “Holy” as we see in Isaiah. “And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isaiah 6:3) God is Holy, set apart from man and if we are to be with Him then we must be Holy, we must be sanctified. Sanctified means to be set apart and dedicated to being righteous.

God’s holiness is the first thing that the Israelite people learned about God. That God is holy and His people are to be dedicated unto Him That God is our life and therefore our life must be centered upon Him. “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) God who is the Holy One is set apart from His creation and exalted above all that is in the universe.

There is no equal to God. Some say the opposite of God is Satan. But this is not true as Satan is a fallen angel, a created being just as we are created beings. There is no equal to God as there is none other than He, God is the only sovereign deity. “Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.” (Isaiah 45:21)

The holiness of God is the fundamental character of all of God’s attributes as Nathan Stone writes in “The Names of God.” “It is this holiness of which an old Scottish divine writes: ‘It is the balance . . . of all the attributes of Deity. Power without holiness would degenerate into cruelty; omniscience without holiness would become craft; justice without holiness would degenerate into revenge; and goodness without holiness would be passionate and intemperate fondness doing mischief rather than accomplishing good.’ It is this holiness which gives to God grandeur and majesty, and more than anything else constitutes His fullness and perfection.'”

The Law of Moses, all the miraculous events of Mount Sinai, and there wandering in the wilderness, were to teach the Israelite people the truth of God’s Holiness. Because of God’s Holiness we are not to worship any gods before Him. “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3) We are to avoid places that could cause us to worship any man made god other that the one and true God. Because God is a jealous God we are to tear down any god that might capture our affection. “But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim.” (Exodus 34:13)

God’s Holiness is so pure in that He is above all of His creation that He cannot abide in the worship of any god, as He is the Creator of all. As His children we are to sanctify Him not only by our words and deeds but in our hearts. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. “It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread.” (Isaiah 8:13) When we worship the Lord we worship Him in the splendor of His Holiness. “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the LORD in holy array.” (1 Chronicles 16:29)

The problem for sinful man is that on his own he can never achieve the holiness that is required by God. It is impossible for man to keep the Law of God, it is impossible for a man to have a pure heart, and it is impossible for a man to overcome the desires of the flesh. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) But as we have read in Exodus 31:13, “that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” It is God who makes us holy, it is the power of His Word that transforms us and sanctifies us unto Him.

People will become as the god they serve. If your god is sex, then you most assuredly will be a sex slave. If your god is alcohol or drugs, then you most certainly will sell your soul for its use. If money is your god, then you will never have enough to be satisfied and greed will consume you. This is how the false gods will change our lives into a love affair with destruction. It is only reasonable that when we serve a Holy God he would expect us to become Holy as He is. Nathan Stone writes: “A God separate from all that is evil, too pure to behold evil, the very antithesis of all evil, requires that the people He chooses be also separate from all evil and separated to the purpose for which He chose them.”

Let us first define sanctification. First we are justified by our faith in Jesus Christ. “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” (Romans 3:28) Justification is not something that we can earn or accomplish but through our faith in Jesus we are justified. God declares a person justified by our faith and liberates us from the quilt of sin. Sanctification is the work of God in us that releases us from the power of sin. Another way to see this is that justification imputes the righteousness of God to man and sanctification imparts the righteousness of God through man.

There are three features to the process of sanctification. At the moment of conversion to Christ the Christian receives positional sanctification. This position is not so much dependent upon one spiritual condition as it is to his spiritual position. Because of this a Christian believer can be called a saint even as they are still in a carnal state. “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” (1 Corinthians 1:2)

As the Christian grows in the likeness of Christ he is experiencing progressive sanctification. This is a process of changing from who we were to becoming who we are in Christ Jesus. The Christian is putting off the old sinful habits and living in the Christ like attributes of honesty, love, and mercy. “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Colossians 3:1-10)

When the Christian believer is fully in the presence of God he will receive ultimate sanctification. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we allow Him into our life and He lives through us. We are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and are transformed into a new creature. We are putting aside our old sinful nature and putting on a nature of righteousness. We must work out our salvation in the three dimensions of our sanctification, positional, progressive, and ultimate sanctification. In Romans chapter 6 the Apostle Paul argues that the Christian is obligated to experience progressive sanctification because of the positional sanctification accomplished for us by the work of Jesus on the cross of Calvary.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, February 19, 2016

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