You shall keep My statues and practice them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” Lev 20:
God’s standard of holiness has not changed. That is the thought that continued to play in my mind as I read Leviticus 19-24 today. There is a lot of law spoken in these chapters. A lot of “You shall not” and “You shall”. God was giving the people the law along with all the consequence and sacrifice requirements for breaking the law.
God tells them that they are to keep all His Law and not follow the customs of the nations around them. (20:22-23) They are to remain clean. To be holy. Over and over through these chapters God talks about the importance of His people to remain holy. Why? Because HE IS THE LORD and HE IS HOLY. (19:1,37; 20:7-8,26; 22:31 just to list a few)
God called His people to be holy. He set them apart from other nations. He gave them laws to live by and knowing they couldn’t keep them He provided a way to pay for their sins in sacrifices. He also gave consequences to their sins and in many cases that meant death. Death to the one who cursed his parents. Death to the one who commits adultery, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, harlotry, child sacrifices and many others. Sin meant death. Sin still means death.
Leviticus is filled with laws that are impossible to keep. It is filled with things and acts that would cause a person to be unclean. What a burden to live with. But in Chapter 20:8 I caught a glimpse of the gospel. “You shall keep My statues and practice them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” So much hope expressed in these words. He called them to obedience. He called them to follow the law knowing they would fail. It would be impossible for them to keep ALL of the law and yet their sanctification did not rest on their ability to follow. Their sanctification comes from God alone.
All this sacrificing of animals was a foreshadowing to the coming of Jesus who would sacrifice Himself for our sins once and for all. (Heb 7:27) God still continues to sanctify His people. He knows that we still can not keep the moral law. We can not be holy. But the hope of the gospel is that through the perfectly clean and righteous blood of Christ we are sanctified and make holy as He is Holy.
Some will say we no longer live under the law of the Old Testament. It is is true. We are not longer bound to the whole law, but we are still called to obey the moral law. (Romans 7) God still calls us to be holy and set apart. Eph 1:4; 1 Pe 1:15; Rev 22:11)
So whether we look to the Old or New Testament God’s standard of holiness does not change. Revelations 22:11 says, “let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy." The consequences have not changed either. Apart from accepting the blood of Jesus as Lord, allowing His sacrifice to wash away all your sin, death is still required. Death may not be immediate, you may not be stoned, but one day death will come and without a saving faith in Jesus Christ your death will mean eternal separation from God. It will mean a “death” worse than anything you can imagine.
So do not be fooled into thinking the God of the New Testament isn’t the same as the One in the Old. God is the same through out the generations and He has not changed His mind about sin or it’s consequences. But our hope, our salvation, is the blood of Jesus.
This is part of my 2015 journey through the word. Please click to find more in this series.