Leviticus 18:3-4 3‘You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes. 4‘You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, to live in accord with them; I am the LORD your God.
Notice in the text above the emphasis God places on the desire for holiness: that they are not to do the things that had been done in Egypt, nor are they to do the things they will encounter in the promised land to where they're heading.
In our world today, we are increasingly forgetting from whence we came and thus we don't know what direction morally we are heading. The approach God is taking here in Leviticus 18-20 is to expose the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, revealing their detrimental effects, their destructive tendencies, and most importantly: why He deems them to be unholy.
God is listing things he does not approve nor sanction to show His people the one things He has sanctioned: marriage. Now even though he lists the following unholy practices: incest, adultery and beastiality in Leviticus 18 and 20, the goal is to get the people to see those things as non-optional. Why? Because in desiring what is holy, we are expressing our desire to desire God.
Holiness is desirable because it fortifies marriage
When we desire holiness in our families, we are saying Yes to marriage, and "no" to all other physical unions devised by men. Hebrews 13:4 clearly tells us - "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to
be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." No other physical intimate union: including fornication (physical intimacy between unmarried men and women); adultery; homosexuality or any other practice can yield desire for God. All other practices, outside of marriage, are rooted in man-centeredness, and cannot promote God-centeredness.
Furthermore, Marriage alone properly pictures God's relationship between Christ and His people. Paul writes in Ephesians 5:25 - "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her". Other texts in the Bible use marriage as the picture of God's covenant commitment to His people, and His people's fidelity to Him. (Hosea 2)
When we purse holiness in our marriages, it only serves to fortify them. By focusing on what doesn't work in Leviticus, God has left us with the only arrangement that does work: marriage.
This reminds us that Holiness is not just some abstract theological principle, it is intensely practical. Without holiness, marriages die, culture crumbles and the church is divested of her power.
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Monday, June 4, 2012
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