jehovah-m’kaddish-jehovah who sanctifiesJehovah-M’Kaddish – Jehovah who sanctifies Ex 31:13; Lev. 20:8; 21:8; 22:9, 15, 32; Ezek. 20:12
In Leviticus 20:8, God is called Jehovah-m’kaddesh but it has not always been translated in English Bibles as such, so it sometimes does not make the list of Jehovah names of God. “I am the Lord which sanctify you,” God says in Lev. 20:8; 21:8, 15, 23, plus numerous other citing. Paul says that he is , “…being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” Jehovah-m’kaddesh indwells his people and empowers them to be pure in spirit, soul, and body (I Thes. 5:23).
The genre of “holiness” churches is distinguished by the doctrine of sanctification that was a product of John Wesley’s teaching. There are a variety of teachings regarding this doctrine, too many to be applicable to the subject of this paper. All are in agreement that God is Jehovah-m’kaddesh who is holy and desires his children be holy. The disagreements relate to when and how sanctification is accomplished. Is it a one time definite act? Is it a process? Is it both? Three major teachings are 1. Sanctification is an instantaneous act. 2. Sanctification is a process. 3. Sanctification is an instantaneous act with a continuing growth process.
A look at Isaiah’s words reveals how impossible it is to be holy in our own efforts. After years of preaching and serving God, Isaiah has a vision in which he sees God “high and lifted up.” He is stricken with his own impurity as he says, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, . . . (Is.6:5). One might question in despair, “If the prophet, Isaiah did not achieve holiness, where will I be?” Only Jehoval-m’kaddesh is perfect in his holiness; therefore, we can only be perfectly holy in Him. However, holiness is only complete in a person to the extent that the person hungers to be like God and cooperates in walking in a holy life style as he puts away negative traits and adds positive traits. Paul’s message to the Corinthians indicate the change which had come about in their lives. He has been speaking of a list of unholy persons – fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, perverts, and homosexuals – then he says, “And such were some of you but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).
In the seventh chapter of Romans, Paul himself, indicates a struggle in his walk of holiness, but he shows victory in Jesus Christ (verse 25). This confirms a mutual work between Paul’s will and Jehovah-m’kaddesh.
There have been groups who viewed holiness as an outward expression such as no ties for men, long sleeves for women, no smoking or slang expressions. Jesus, however, indicated that change on the outside should be evidence of a change on the inside, “…cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matt. 23:26). Evidence of “inside” change should be evident by the appearance of the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Note again, Jesus’ words which lead to the conclusion that the “outside of the cup” would become clean when the “inside of the cup” is clean. When one’s attitude and belief tends to holiness, when one sees his behavior will reflect as a reflection of his friendship with God, his desire will be to be holy.
The following answers are the writer’s conclusion regarding some questions which arise regarding sin in the lives of Christians.
- Can a born again Christian sin? Of course. In the same sense in which Adam and Eve could sin. Adam and Eve were created perfectly without sin natures, but with a free will which was open to making sinful choices. However, John’s writings definitely indicate that a Christian should not sin. “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither knows him” (1 John 3:6). Also, he says “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (v. 9). A common interpretation of these verses is that a Christian cannot walk in a pattern of habitual sin. John also says that we have an advocate to intercede for us if we sin (2:1). Consider this. Committing sin does not make a Christian a sinner any more than a sinner doing good can make him a Christian. Sometimes sinners do good; sometimes Christian do bad. That is true in actions. However, the nature of a Christian is to do good and the nature of a sinner is to do evil. If one receives Christ into his life (he is reborn), he will begin to hate his sin; he will not be comfortable in his sin. If he settles down comfortably in his sin, it may be an indication that he is not reborn.
- If one can be “wholly sanctified” as is it possible for him to sin? Again, of course, in the same way that Adam and Eve sinned. Even Lucifer was created perfect, but he sinned.
- Is it possible for a person not to sin? It must be possible because Jesus said, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Further, 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, ‘Be ye holy; for I am holy’.”
- Is a Christian to feel guilt when he sins? Some say “No” pointing out the scripture that says the devil is our accuser (Rev. 12:10) and Rom 8:1 which says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” However, the rest of that scripture is often overlooked “…who walk not after the flesh , but after the Spirit.” Wouldn’t there be condemnation for those who walk after the flesh? Since God corrects those he loves (Pr. 2:12), it is reasonable to assume that one cannot sin with reckless disregard.
- Since all men are born in sin, will children go to hell? Only those who have reached the “age of accountability”, and have chosen to sin. The sins which doom us to hell are the sins of our own choosing. The “sin” in which we are born will not damn us. Children and mentally deficient who cannot know right from wrong are not lost eternally.
- How is it that in yesteryears, people who came to Christ seemed to have so much more success at laying aside their addictions? Because the church taught them that that was expected of them. They had already made up their minds that accepting Christ meant laying aside sin. It was a price that they were willing to pay.
- If the old man (one’s sin nature) is crucified and if as Paul says, we are dead to sin (Rom. 6), why do sanctified Christians have continued battles to “mortify the flesh” (Col. 3:5)? This writer proposes three answers. First, “But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust…”, (Jam. 1:14). This is the same lust that was present in Lucifer, Adam, and Eve. Second, we are fighting old habits brought about by the sinful life lived before our rebirth. This is fairly obvious when you look at the advantages those have who gave their lives to God as children. They do not have to fight the addictions, mental and emotional conditions, bad habits, etc. that plague those who are saved after years in sin. This is a great advantage to those who “remember the Creator in the days of their youth.” Last, we are tempted by the devil, as he tempted Eve. He tempted her from the outside in; that is, he offered something that pleased the eye.
One scenario greatly simplified might go like this. When John Doe is born again, the redeemer, Jehovah-jireh, atones for John’s sins. Although John might sin after his rebirth, God views John through the righteousness of Jehovah-tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness, and loves his newly born son, although John is still a carnal child. God, however, being holy wants his child, John, also to be holy. John wants to be holy, so God, Jehovah-m’kaddesh, sets John apart and sanctifies him – a process by which John’s old sinful nature dies. Now John is to walk in his new sanctified nature – the nature of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. John has his ups and downs, but as he grows in knowledge of the word (John 17:17), he becomes more and more like his Father God. John fulfills his call to be holy as he grows in the fruits of the Spirit, works out a life of goodness, lays aside bad actions and attitudes, and nourishes his relationship with the Lord.
This is a scenario which includes elements of the three doctrines identified at the beginning of this study of Jehovah-m’kaddesh. How great that all recognize that victory over sin is possible in Jehovah, the Holy One who Sanctifies!