Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Holiness


Robin and I are currently reading through Leviticus.  Most people would say that Leviticus is one of the least exciting books of the Bible.  None of the dramatic characters of the Bible are found in Leviticus, such as Noah, or David, or John the Baptist, or Paul.  Nor are there any of the dramatic events, like the parting of the Red Sea, the feeding of the five thousand, or the raising of Lazarus.  Leviticus doesn't have the powerful or captivating use of language, such as we find in the Psalms or Romans.  And, most importantly of all, it seems that Leviticus doesn't have Jesus. 

Last Sunday, on Easter, I read to the children the resurrection story as written in the Gospel Story Bible.  I mentioned that the resurrection is the central event in the Bible.  Everything written in the Bible either looks forward towards the resurrection, or looks backwards at it.  The Bible shows us the glory of God, and it shows it most powerfully and profoundly in the resurrection of Jesus.  Signposts to the resurrection are found throughout the Bible, even in Leviticus.

Even Leviticus?  Isn't that mostly a book of rules?  What does that have to do with Jesus?  What does that have to do with God's glory?  What does that have to do with the resurrection?

Leviticus does have rules, and lots of them.  As God was leading his people from slavery in Egypt towards their home in the Promised Land he was giving them rules.  He was teaching them about how they should present their offerings to him.  And he was teaching them about what kinds of things made them clean or unclean, from his point of view.  And as they learned about what God considered to be unclean they also learned about the steps they needed to become clean again.  Robin and I have only read through 16 of the 27 chapters of Leviticus and it would seem to me that the grand theme of Leviticus has to do with holiness.  It has to do with being prepared, in ways that are pleasing to God, to be in the presence of God.  And that has everything to do with the resurrection and the glory of God.  It has everything to do with Jesus.

Skipping ahead to Leviticus 19:2, God says this to Moses:

"Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.""

It is God's desire that his people be like him.  He is holy and for us to be in his presence we need to be holy as well.  We need to be cleansed of all unrighteousness in order to come before a God who is holy and perfect in every way.

As the people of Israel traveled to the Promised Land God gave them directions for being prepared to be in his presence.  He gave them the rules found in Leviticus.  But no one can keep God's rules perfectly, and in that way Leviticus points  us towards Jesus.  He, and he alone, lived a sinless life, so that we could be made holy before God.  As we come to God through faith in Jesus our sin is removed, so that in Jesus we are made holy.  

May you know today that your holiness before God is secure in Jesus.  It is a holiness that, in God's eyes, will never fade and pass away.   




Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.