Saturday, March 14, 2015

Teach us to Pray, part 20: Jehovah Mekoddishkem, The Lord Who Sanctifies You

And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 'Give us each day our daily bread. 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'" (Luke 11:2-4 NASB)

Jehovah Mekoddishkem
Jehovah M'kaddesh
The Lord Who Sanctifies You

M'kaddesh is an alternate spelling of Mekoddishkem and comes from the root word q√Ędash, a verb meaning to sanctify, dedicate, or make holy. It means to "set apart". It is used twice in Scripture and, in both instances, it indicates that the Lord sanctifies His people. (Exodus 31:13 and Leviticus 20:8). The passage in Leviticus begins with a prohibition against human sacrifice, cursing parents, and witchcraft. It is particularly interesting because, in the verse immediately prior to the name of God, the instruction to "Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy" is given. 

1 Thessalonians 4:3 tells us, "This is the will of God, your sanctification..." Oswald Chambers wrote about this process of sanctification and the difficulty of it in My Utmost for His Highest. "There is always a tremendous battle before sanctification is realized - something within us pushing with resentment against the demands of Christ. When the Holy Spirit begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle starts immediately... In the process of sanctification, the Spirit of God will strip me down until there is nothing left but myself, and that is the place of death. Am I willing to be myself and nothing more? ... We say, 'But this is strict. Surely He does not require that of me.' Our Lord is strict, and He does require that of us."

I have recently been reading a classic book by J.C. Ryle, Holiness, and I strongly recommend it. Ryle speaks of sanctification and emphasizes that there can be no holiness without sanctification. In fact, he suggests that those of us in the church prefer grace to the exclusion of sanctification. That can never be, he says, because we serve a holy God who has called us to holiness, as well. 

Our Lord did not sacrifice His only, much loved Son as the payment for our sins in order to leave us as we were. He intended His sacrifice to cleanse us and change us, yet we kick against the change. We want grace without change, without sanctification, don't we? 

I am not exempt from this rejection of holiness. Although I know the beautiful truth of His divine cleansing for my sin-riddled soul, it is entirely too easy for me to embrace sin long rejected. Pride, self-righteousness, critical and judgmental spirit are welcomed back into my life before I even realize it, and then I have a choice to make. 

Will I choose holiness or continue in the sin that seems so insignificant to me in comparison to so much happening in our world today? My sin is not insignificant to God. His Son had to die to redeem me from the price of that sin, and God does not take that lightly, nor should I. 

He demands holiness, and I am to choose holiness. Even when I long to be holy, I find that it is too high a goal for me. I can never achieve it, and that is why I needed the grace of God and the mercy of Jesus' sacrifice for me. 

I cannot achieve holiness on my own, yet choose it I must. Once chosen, God Himself will handle the sanctification process. He is our Jehovah Mekoddishkem, and He will sanctify me, if I am only willing, but obedience to His calling to holiness is required. 

Every day, every moment, I stand at a crossroads with a choice to make. Will I choose the way of the world or the way of the Cross? Will I choose my own path or the path of holiness? 

This is a hard word, but must be spoken. The problems in our nation and in our world are a result of sin. It is not the responsibility of a lost world to act like Jesus, and it is foolishness to expect it. That is the responsibility of His people. I am to be salt and light in a dark and desolate place. Unless I choose sanctification, I can never be the light I am called to be, and those living in darkness can never be drawn to the light of Christ.

One day, I will stand before our Lord and answer for my choices. I shudder to think of it. The Grace of Christ will be sufficient, and I rejoice in that, but I will be accountable for my choice of the world or the way of Holiness, the way of Sanctification. 

Did I love my Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? Did I love my neighbor as myself? The life I live now will give the answer to those two questions, and I must prepare for the accounting to come. The words of Joshua are as appropriate today as they were when he stood before the children of Israel thousands of years ago.

"If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." 
Joshua 24:15 NASB