Jehovah Mekoddishkem (or Jehovah M'kaddesh / Jehovah Mekadesh—variant spellings) means “The Lord Who Sanctifies.” It is one of God’s names in the Bible. Jehovah is God’s personal name. Mekoddishkem comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to sanctify,” “to make holy,” “to set apart as holy.” So Jehovah Mekoddishkem describes God as the One who sanctifies or makes holy. This name for God appears twice in the Bible:
In these verses, Jehovah Mekoddishkem describes God as the One who sanctified His people Israel, made them holy, and set them apart as His own. The same is true of us today. As God’s people, we are set apart to live holy lives.
That may sound rather daunting. We know that all too often we do not act like holy, sanctified people. But notice what God actually says in these verses. He says, “I am the Lord who sanctifies you [Jehovah Mekoddishkem].” It is God who is doing the sanctifying, the making holy—not us.
Does that mean we have nothing to do? That it doesn’t matter how we live? Not at all! Notice that God also says in these verses, “Consecrate yourselves.” “Keep My statutes [commandments], and perform them” (Leviticus 20:7, 8). We cannot make ourselves holy. God [Jehovah Mekoddishkem] is “the Lord Who Sanctifies.”
But when He sets us apart as one of His own, He begins transforming our lives to be more and more like Him. And that change in our lives will be evident. Old sinful habits will die away. New ways of thinking and living will take their place. We will become more and more like our Lord.
Being sanctified, being made holy, is a process that takes place over time. It doesn’t mean that we are sinless; it means that we are set apart to follow God and live for Him—making mistakes, but always moving forward, making progress as we reflect Him more and more. Jehovah Mekoddishkem is the One who sanctifies.
The Bible is clear that we cannot save ourselves by being good. Salvation is God’s gift to us when, by faith, we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. But the Bible is also very clear that once we have been saved, good works will follow.
“By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
In Galatians 5, the apostle Paul describes this process as “walking in the Spirit.” In that chapter, he contrasts the “works of the flesh” with the “works of the Spirit.” One of the things the Holy Spirit does for us is to help us become “sanctified”—that is, to become more and more like Jesus.
1. Being sanctified is God’s work—not ours. The changes in our life that make us more like Jesus are the work of the Holy Spirit. Philippians 2:12, 13 says, “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Romans 15:16 says that we are “sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Apart from what Jesus did for us on the cross, all our efforts to be good are useless (John 15:5; Hebrews 10:10). Jehovah Mekoddishkem is the “Lord Who Sanctifies.”
2. Sanctification requires our cooperation. It is God, through the Holy Spirit, who works in us, to help us, both to want to become more like Jesus and to actually do those things that make us more like Him. But He won’t force us to do good. In Galatians 5, where the apostle Paul describes what it is like to become more like Jesus, he repeatedly urges us to “walk in the Spirit,” (verse 16); “live in the Spirit,” (verse 25); be “led by the Spirit,” (verse 18). The Holy Spirit will deliver us from sin, but it is our responsibility to cooperate with Him in the work of becoming more like Jesus. The Bible says, “Pursue . . . holiness” (Hebrews 12:14).
3. Sanctification is a process. The goal of sanctification is to become more like Jesus. But it is a goal, and we don’t achieve any worthwhile goal overnight. Sanctification is a process that continues as long as we live. When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, He does so immediately. But sanctification is a journey, one in which we keep traveling steadily toward the goal. Even Paul said,
“Not that I . . . am already perfected; but I press on. . . . This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12,-14).
We will not reach the full likeness of Jesus until we see Him face to face when He comes to take us home with Him. The apostle John wrote,
“It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He [Jesus] is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
4. God uses the truths revealed in the Bible to sanctify us. When on Earth, Jesus prayed for His followers, asking God to “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). God speaks to us in the Bible as surely as if we could hear Him with our ears. “All Scriptures is profitable . . . for instruction in righteousness” that we “may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
If we carefully study God’s Word, He will change us to be more and more like Jesus. After all, He is Jehovah Mekoddishkem—the Lord Who Sanctifies Us.”