What does holiness look like? How can we hope to live a life, set apart for God? We take a survey of a few things to avoid, found in Leviticus. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of positive practices that put believers on the right path
Spine of a Bible ca. 2001, “Used with permission from Microsoft.”
God is often referred to as being holy, and those hoping to be with him are commanded to be holy. Leviticus 20:7,26;
Though this scripture contains a big list of sinful behavior, it is clear on what holiness is not. God assures his followers that he will provide help in being holy.
The command: `You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the LORD your God.
How to be holy: `You shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
Holiness is a matter of what we do, and bad behavior drives us away from it. Some of these get deep into the deviant area.
Curse father or mother,
Commit adultery with another man’s wife, with his father’s wife, with his daughter-in-law, with a male as those who lie with a woman,
Marry a woman and her mother, his sister, his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter, take his brother’s wife,
lies with an animal or a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it,
lie with a menstruous woman. Lie with his uncle’s wife
uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister or your father’s sister,
Why keep the commands? `You are therefore to keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them so that the land to which I am bringing you to live will not spew you out.
As the Leviticus passage warns:
Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I will drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.Hence I have said to you, “You are to possess their land, and I will give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples.
Not only do the commands keep us holy, but we can also become Unclean by our environment.
25 `You are therefore to make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; and you shall not make yourselves detestable by animal or by bird or by anything that creeps on the ground, which I have separated for you as unclean.
When temptation or weakness sets in, God promises to help.
26 `Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.
Culture can creep in to pollute even our worship. Unclean practices drive us away from holiness, and God.
27 `Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.´”
Turning to a more upbeat note, Jesus outlines good things that we can do to help our holiness. Some key verses to pay attention to in the sermon on the mount include, Matthew 5:6,8,29,30,48;
We should have a holy Hunger for righteousness: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Traits of the holy person:
Merciful receive mercy
peacemakers called sons of God.
To be persecuted for righteousness, is the kingdom of heaven.
To be insulted, persecuted, falsely lied against because of Me, means your reward in heaven is great;
Holiness shows up in Purity: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
The imagery of salt and light and correct living demonstrates holiness. Jesus does not abolish the law. His perfect life fulfilled it where we fail it. Correctly teaching the law is critical.
Do you still think you can achieve perfection, or holiness through your deeds alone? You will need a righteousness that surpasses legalism. More than the scribes and Pharisees, and top religious leaders you might think of.