17 “Do not harbor hatred against your brother. Rebuke your neighbor directly, and you will not incur guilt because of him. 18 Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord. 19 “You are to keep my statutes. Do not crossbreed two different kinds of your livestock, sow your fields with two kinds of seed, or put on a garment made of two kinds of material.
What does it mean to live holy or perfect as God is holy and perfect? Why did God tell Moses to command the whole community of Israelites to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 19:2)? Likewise, why did Jesus command His followers to be perfect as the Father is perfect? (Matthew 5:48) Does it mean that we have the ability to become like God if we work hard enough?
Man was first deceived into believing that he could become like God in the Garden of Eden. The enticement to eat from the forbidden fruit came from believing the lies spoken about God’s holy nature. Adam and Eve’s sin brought sin and death upon all creation. Death is the opposite of God’s holiness. God shed the first blood as a picture of atonement and reconciliation with man when He clothed them in animal skins. From the first sin of mankind, God promised a Deliverer who would come to restore the brokenness in all the earth.
In Leviticus, the holiness God required of His people meant being set apart from those who followed other gods. God also created a way for the Israelites to be forgiven in order to enter into His presence. Symbolic sacrificial rituals, annual feasts, and purity laws served as constant reminders to the Israelites of the seriousness of breaking covenant with God as well as of the provisions of His grace and justice. God taught them through symbols that His holiness affected every part of their lives. God’s message in Leviticus is that He graciously provides a way for people to enter and live in His presence.
All the sacrifices and feasts pointed to Christ as the final atonement, the Restorer of broken relationships. Therefore to be holy is to be reconciled to God. Through faith in Christ we are reconciled back to God, and we are assigned to be His ambassadors, carrying out the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) and thereby multiplying His Kingdom.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What are you doing today to minister the message of reconciliation?
- How can your gospel conversations be polished to reflect His light in this dark world?
- How can you better equip yourself to offer someone hope in the promises of God’s final restoration which is to come in the new earth (Revelation 21-22)?