As I Am Holy
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.'” Leviticus 19:1-2
The book of Leviticus is filled with laws, sacrifices, and ceremonial rituals. Each serves a purpose. As you read, you’ll notice animal sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin and as an act of worship. There were very distinct instructions and requirements for God to accept the sacrifices. So much so, that God commanded priests to be ordained and live by His ordinances so that they were able to come near to Him to offer sacrifices on behalf of Israel. When two of Aaron’s sons violated God’s ordinances, they were consumed by God and died immediately.
Not only did God give the priest instructions, He also gave instructions on how the Israelites were to behave towards one another. Because of His absolute holiness and goodness, the Lord was concerned with Israel’s complete purity because He would not allow anyone to be near Him with any form of uncleanliness. However, the Lord wanted Israel to be near His presence, so knowing that some sin would occur without making a sacrifice, He also made the Day of Atonement.
The Day of Atonement occurred once a year and the sacrifice covered the sins that the Israelites did not provide animal sacrifices for. The priest took two goats and the priest would slaughter one goat for the forgiveness of sins and the other goat was considered as a scapegoat. The slaughtered goat took the punishment for the sins of Israel as a substitute so that the children of Israel would not be punished by death. The shed blood from the goat symbolized the covering of sin. Unlike the slaughtered goat, the scapegoat was not sacrificed. The priest confessed the sins of Israel while placing his hand on the scapegoat and the goat was then cast into the wilderness.
While you read the book of Leviticus think of the laws, ceremonies and sacrifices, as a depiction of the holiness of God. No one was allowed to be near the Lord’s presence while he or she was considered unclean or they would die. So the Lord made it unquestionably clear what was considered unclean and also when the Israelites would be considered as unclean. He named animals that were not to be consumed, acts that were not to be committed, certain things that were not to be touched, the appropriate sacrifice, and the length of time needed to abstain from what was considered unclean so that they could be considered clean and be near His presence.
God desires nearness with you. He desires that you come into His presence as clean, pure, and holy. God views sin in the same manner as He did in the book of Leviticus. He hates sin so much that it took the death of Christ as the perfect sacrifice to satisfy the wrath of God so that you wouldn’t receive His wrath as punishment for your sins. Christ became the final sacrificial substitute by paying the penalty for the sins and forgiveness of mankind so that you would be clean, pure, and holy and God would see you as righteous because of Christ.
The Lord is holy and that holiness embodies complete goodness and complete purity. Before you come into God’s presence, think of His holiness, which has not changed. You don’t need to offer animal sacrifices or perform rituals for salvation because of the finished work of Christ. Trust in what Christ has done for you and also thank God for what Christ has done for you. Because of Christ, we can be holy as He is holy.
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