God's View of Holiness

Description

Holiness is wholeness and completeness. Only God's Spirit can move us along the pathway of sanctification.

Pray:

Gracious God, help me to demonstrate Your love. Strip me clean of hardness of heart, pride, and pretense.

Read:

Leviticus 19:1-18

Meditate

Consider: Holiness is wholeness and completeness. Only God's Spirit can move us along the pathway of sanctification. We must put ourselves at his disposal.

Think Further:

A rabbi once told me you could throw away the whole of Leviticus and its rituals except for chapter 19. By any measure it is one of the great ethical chapters of the Bible. It contains immense wisdom, and obeying it would enhance the quality of any community. Its main purpose, however, is to show God's children what being holy looks like (2). The chapter may appear to be a random jumble of laws, but it isn't. Changes in Hebrew terminology give more shape to it than may be apparent to us.

The first section (1-10) lays some fundamental spiritual building blocks. It starts by mentioning three of the Ten Commandments (3,4). Next (5-8), surprisingly, it describes details about the fellowship offering, which is in part a community celebratory meal (Lev. 3:1-17). Then (9,10) it declares the need to leave some produce unreaped so the poor can feed themselves. This chapter weaves together respect for God and for people, worship and welfare, the spiritual and the political; it does not compartmentalize them as we often do. The second section (11-18) also contains some of the Ten Commandments and is about relationships. It calls for integrity (11,12), a refusal to exploit the vulnerable (13,14), and a commitment to uncorrupted justice (15,16)--all contemporary themes--before dealing with motives (17,18). It summarizes everything in "love your neighbor as yourself," the second great commandment and the basis for Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan (Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:25-37).

Holiness is about the whole of life. The contemporary church often measures holiness by sexual purity, but pious Christians who neglect the poor, or who have a broken relationship with their parents, or who engage in exploitive business practices, or who lack love for their neighbors are not holy in God's book.

Apply:

Review your ideas about holiness. What really matters to God? How high are those issues on your agenda?

Pray:

Lord, I know one day I will be granted completeness in You. In the meantime, I want to grow toward completeness in You. I long to cooperate with Your maturing work in my life.

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