Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord , who makes you holy. Leviticus 20:7-8 NIV
Yahweh Mekoddishkem – The Lord who sets you apart – is a Holy God. He is separate from his creation, but actively involved in it. Being holy he doesn’t tolerate sin in any way, but still desires people, who are sinful, to come near to him in worship and relationship. It is in fact sin that has separated us from God.
Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2 NIV
So how do sinful people, who are separated from God because of their sin, reconcile with a Holy God who hates sin. We can try by doing good works, but we are told that even our good works are like filthy rags before God.
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6 NIV
A sinful person trying to make himself holy is like trying to clean an oil patch on a surface with an oily rag. It isn’t possible.
God expects us to be set apart from sin to belong to him. A number of times we are commanded: “Be holy for I am holy.” People, days, firstborn sons, festivals, and sacrifices are all to be set apart for him. What he really wants is for the whole of life to be set apart to be dedicated to him.
What we can’t do for ourselves God does for us. He expects us to be holy – set apart from the sinful to himself – and then, knowing that we can’t do it, does it for us. Yahweh Mekoddishkem himself sanctifies us making us his own treasured possession with whom he’s pleased.
And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:12-16 NIV
Along with having been made holy, we receive all the blessings that are found in him – being adopted as children of God, the forgiveness of our sins, the lavishing on us of God’s grace and love, the hope of salvation, and the Holy Spirit who guarantees all that is to come, all to the glory of God. (Ephesians 1: 3 – 14). With such promises let us embrace Yahweh Mekoddishkem – the God who sets us apart.