Themes in Leviticus (01) - The Basis for Holiness
Themes in Leviticus (1): The Basis for Holiness
Leviticus 11:45 - “‘For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
Leviticus is one of the books of Moses (in the Torah or Pentateuch). The very first verse of the book indicates that God called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting and gave him these instructions (Lev. 1:1–2) and has to do with “Near-bringing” to the Lord, “When any man of you brings (lit. “near-bringing”) to the LORD...” Many have gotten lost in the “trees” and are I'll be unable to see the “forest” of this important book. While easy to dismiss as irrelevant to us, New Testament writers quote the book of Leviticus about 15 times. This is remarkable if you remember that only 43 (of 66) OT books are cited in the NT. Our theme today is addressed by St. Peter, “Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1Peter 1:15-16). In a few sermons covering key ideas in this book, we will address some of the themes that continue to be instructive for new covenant believers.
Sacrifices and Peace
The nature of the instructions of the books have to do with sacrifice and offering of animals at the Tabernacle, constructed in the wilderness after the Exodus from Egypt. It is well known that Leviticus contains details on the various procedures for sacrifice, almost a short course in butchery. However, sacrifice and offering are not an end to themselves. Sacrifice and offering (“near-bringing) are means of worship. Even so, this worship is not an end to itself. Worship is for people who fall short, yet who desire to find forgiveness, restoration and peace before a holy God. Have you come near to the Lord today?
Sacrifices and Holiness
Aside from the details on sacrificial procedure and a few illuminating narratives, the central and repeated theme is holiness. Our holiness is required because we are God’s people who redeemed us. This theme is clear in the NT, especially the Epistles. What is your basis for holiness?
Leviticus 11:44 - “‘For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.”
Leviticus 19:2 - “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.”
Leviticus 20:7 - “You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the LORD your God.”
Leviticus 20:26 - “‘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.”
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more