October 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
The word holy appears in Leviticus far more frequently than in any other biblical book. No wonder scholars call chapters 17-26 the “Holiness Code.” The key to understanding holiness is provided in Leviticus 19:2 – “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” Human holiness derives from God’s holiness. Therefore, holiness is not a human attribute to be achieved through a “holier than thou” self-righteousness. Our holiness is received as a gift from participating in God’s holiness. But what does this holiness look like? The rest of Leviticus 19 clearly shifts the focus to our relationship with other people. It is well captured by verses 15-18 that culminates in verse 18’s “love your neighbor as yourself.” Leviticus 19 gives us remarkable insight in why Jesus chose to summarize the entire law of God with an emphasis on loving God in all respects and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. Jesus’ words put all the other detail interpretations of the law in perspective (thankfully He did not choose 19:28 that says “do not put tattoo marks on yourselves”, or we would have even less young people in our churches!). Understanding the heart of the gospel is not difficult. Practicing this kind of holiness in relationship with other people today is the real challenge!