Leviticus 19:2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel and say unto them, “Ye shall be Holy: for I the Lord your God am Holy.
Leviticus is not an easy book for many to read. It seems to confuse a lot of people. I recommend taking it slowly and understanding the context and always keep in mind that the Old Testament is pointing forward to the cross, and your understanding should increase.
I find it to be an amazing account that God commands all men to be holy. Sure, this was written to the children of Israel, but I’ve been told by people who’ve taught me that when God repeats himself we should listen. Peter provides for us an example of this in his first letter.
1 Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
This letter was written to New Testament believers. We are to be holy.
It is our distinct lack of holiness that condemns us. We all fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and stand in condemnation (John 3:18,36). You’ll note these two verses are glaringly close to the oft quoted John 3:16. I’ll go out on a limb here; people who do not love and adore God for His wrath do not truly know Him. For, to His own, all his attributes are adorable. We know we are regenerate when the most reprehensible attributes of God to the natural man become lovable to our souls.
I use this verse in evangelism when people deny that God is just to punish them, for even one sin. A frequent question you may encounter is, “How can God punish a person eternally for sins committed temporarily.” The basis idea is that men in general believe that their sins are finite, because they are committed in time. I used to lament that a good and just God could not punish me for eternity for my sins. My opinion was that I had sinned for 30-70 years; sure, I could accept hell for 70 years, but not forever.
But our God is infinite, is He not? There is no end to God, nor any beginning. And His perfection is unparalleled. Imagine this: God cannot improve. Yes, that’s right. There is something the all-powerful God cannot do, “get better.” (He also cannot sin) He is already fully perfect, and as a consequent, perfectly, completely and infinitely holy. The practical implication of this is that sins committed in our finite lifetime, all of which are committed against the same holy God, are deserving of infinite punishment.
This is why Jesus must be God himself in order to be able to provide a complete sacrifice for sins. If Jesus were nothing but a man, his blood would not be able to atone for the sins of other men. Even if he had been a sinless man (which he was), if he was only a man, and not fully God in the flesh, then we are all dead in sin. The fact that Jesus is God, and thus, perfectly holy and sinless, makes substitutionary atonement possible, through faith in Him alone. Not only does it make the atonement possible, but it makes it sufficient for all to whom it applies. Nothing can be added to the finished work of Christ. If Jesus’ perfect, infinite, holy righteousness is not enough to cover your sins, then a ritual here and there isn’t going to put you over the top! Nor will your sin detract from that. You can neither add nor subtract from His work. All you can do is rest in it, or ignore it completely.
So Jesus Christ is Holy, and commands us to be holy. This is to say we ought to be set apart for use by God. We are to live in the world, but not be of the world. Holiness is characterized by a desire to be like Christ. Those who truly want to be holy will not be looking at how close to sin they can get without crossing the line, but rather how far from the line they can be. God’s wrath was poured out on His perfect Son because of His utter hatred for everything unholy. His Holy anger toward sin, and sinners, should be a warning to us all. Why would you want to enjoy sin for a season, when that is the very thing that put the person you are supposed to love most on the cross? We protest when the government tries to tell us we can’t have military memorials because it bothers us that is dishonors the lives that were given to purchase our freedom, yet we indulge in the very sin Christ suffered to pay for to buy our freedom from sin and death…often under the guise of Christian liberty.
So are you holy today? I’m not talking about sinless perfection. I’m talking about the direction of your life. Are you overcoming sin and conquering your flesh? Is this your earnest desire? Are you trusting in the cross? Is Jesus the author AND perfecter of your faith? If you are struggling with holiness, it could be a sign of a deeper issue, especially if you find you really don’t care. Real Christians will struggle with sin, but there will be repentance! False converts will justify sin, and turn grace into licentiousness. Read the warning to the Hebrews. Failure to grow in holiness is a terrifying symptom of the unregenerate. Examine yourself today!
Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: