Holy as He Is Holy
Read Leviticus 20:7-8 (ESV)
“Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. Keep my statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”
You probably already know that God demands holiness. But have you ever been able to meet God’s standard of holiness without His help?
When you first became a believer in Christ, did you ever wonder “Now what?” You had already placed saving faith in Him, and you had hope in the promise of eternal life. You knew you were one of His people now. But what were you supposed to do next? How were you supposed to live the rest of your life?
Yesterday, when we left the people of Israel, they were in a similar position. God created the nation of Israel in Genesis. In Exodus, God had redeemed them and delivered them from Egypt. Now, they were camped at Mount Sinai so that God could reveal to them, through Moses, how to live as one of His people. Which brings us to the book of Leviticus.
It is the third book of the Bible and part of Moses’ Pentateuch written sometime between 1445 and 1400 BC. Throughout the book, the Lord revealed to Moses how the people could approach Him and how the people should live as the set apart nation of a holy God. God had already redeemed His people. Now, He had to show them how to worship and serve Him.
The answer to the question of how to live as one of God’s people is found in today’s verses. God told the Israelites to “consecrate” themselves. According to GotQuestions.org, consecrate means “the separation of oneself from things that are unclean, especially anything that would contaminate one’s relationship with a perfect God.” In other words, sin makes us dirty and defiled. No one can approach God unless they are cleansed. God’s next command was to “be holy.” In Leviticus 11:44, God commanded that the people “be holy, for I am holy.” He also commanded the people to obey His laws.
God is holy and humans are not. Because of that, no one can have any fellowship with Him unless they are consecrated and made clean. God gave them specific instructions for how to approach Him through sacrifices and rites of purification and cleansing from unclean things. The levitical priesthood was incredibly important during this time. The priests had to intercede on behalf of the people to the Lord. No one could approach God except through the priest.
Animal sacrifices were prescribed for the forgiveness of sin. It was a visual reminder that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Human sin cost an innocent animal its life. But the animals’ blood was a substitute for their own blood and it cleansed them of their sins. But only temporarily.
Right there, we see the Scarlet Thread of redemption, don’t we? The sacrificial system of the Old Testament was pointing ahead to Christ, the final, perfect, and complete sacrifice. It is His blood as a substitute for ours that cleanses us from our sins, once and for all, so that we can approach a holy God.
The priesthood was also a foreshadowing of Christ. Just as the priests had to mediate between God and the Israelites, now Jesus is our perfect and final mediator: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Jesus is our final and great high priest (Hebrews 4:15).
The last section of Leviticus focuses on Laws of Sanctification. These laws showed the people how to live “set apart” and holy lives. That is what God’s people are called to do—live holy and obedient lives in His service for His glory.
But I don’t know about you. I’ve tried being holy and I can’t do it on my own. I need help. That’s why I love the last part of today’s verse: “I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” He sanctifies us. Yes, we are supposed to dedicate ourselves to living faithfully and obediently but we don’t do this in our strength or ability. Our sanctification is a process that shows the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is the One who sets us apart. He is the One who makes us holy as He is holy.
Lord, I confess that I still struggle with sin and I hate it. I want to be holy as You are holy. Thank You for Your blood that cleansed me of my sin. Thank You, Jesus, for mediating between me and God and interceding on my behalf. Please continue Your sanctifying work in my life. Cleanse me and make me holy. Amen.