Tuesday, May 31, 2011

LEVITICUS: To Be Holy, You Must Be Uncommon (3 of 5)

One of the most simple yet profound revelations from the book of Leviticus is in regards to Holiness. When we think of HOLY in our culture, images of halos, saints, angels, and the pope typically come to mind. That's why when we hear of commands like, "be holy because I AM holy," we feel like it's just telling us to be pure and sinless, or be something we really can never be.

Leviticus gives us a different way of seeing Holiness. We'll start with an easy verse to remember, 10:10, where we find a glimpse of one of best definitions of HOLY:

"You must distinguish between what is sacred (holy) and what is common..." Lev. 10:10 (NLT)

If I were to ask you what the opposite of Holy was, what would you say? Filthy? Sinful? Evil? How about "common"? That's what the Scriptures teach us. To not be Holy, is to be common. Which also means that to be Holy, we must be uncommon people. Notice God's command to the people in chapter 22:

"Do not treat my holy name as common and ordinary. I must be treated as holy by the people of Israel. It is I, the LORD, who makes you holy." Lev. 22:32
The traditional definition of Holy is to be "set apart," which is a great definition. But the problem is that we often don't know how to practically apply that definition. In simple terms, God wants His people to be different, to be out of the ordinary, to be uncommon from the world--that's what it means to be set apart.

That definition also helps us understand why God gave the people so many weird commands in Leviticus. Strange sacrificial requirements, strange customs, strange social requirements... The point was that He wanted them to look, act, and live differently--as a way of showing that they don't belong to this world--they were set apart for special use.

How can you be uncommon today? It starts by getting close to God. It begins with Him speaking to us. It comes as we have intimate encounters with His Spirit. The uncommon way He is trying to develop in us can only come from Him: "For I am the LORD who makes you Holy" (21:15, 23...)

"You must be holy because I, the LORD, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own." Leviticus 20:26
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