Learning from God's Word: Leviticus 16-20
16:1-34 - God is ‘holy‘. We cannot ‘draw near’ and ‘come’ to Him without a ‘sin offering’ (1-3). We cannot bring ‘a sin offering’ to Him. We can only bring our sin: Our righteousness is ‘like filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6). There is a ‘way’ for sinners to ‘draw near’ to God: Christ is the true and living Way (John 14:6; Hebrews 10:19-22). In verses 20-22, we have a great picture of Christ bearing the sin of the world: ‘Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood… Full atonement, – Yes it is! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!’ (Church Hymnary, 380). Atonement has been made for us…We have been cleansed from all our sins (30): What a perfect atonement! What a perfect Saviour! – ‘God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Galatians 6:14).
17:1-18:23 - We are to be devoted ‘to the Lord’ (17:4-6,9): ‘You are not your own; you were bought with a price’ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Underlying Christ’s atoning death, there is this principle: ‘the life… is in the blood… I have given it for you… to make atonement…’ (17:11). Christ has shed His blood: He has given His life that we might have life. God looks upon His Son, crucified for us: He ‘has commanded the blessing, life for evermore’ (Psalm 133:3). We confess our sin, acknowledging that ‘without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins’ (Hebrews 9:22). With grateful thanksgiving, we rejoice in our Saviour, ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). ‘Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power…’ (Mission Praise, 671).
18:24-19:37 - Holiness and love – the two belong together (1,18,34). God calls us to live a life of holiness, a life of love. Through His Spirit – the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love – , He enables us to live this life. We need His promises. We need His commands. Take them both together – not one without the other! Promises without commands – We take God for granted, we presume on His blessing. Commands without promises – Our ‘obedience’ becomes a legalistic thing which has nothing to do with the Gospel of grace. We are to ‘be holy… before Him in love‘ (Ephesians 1:4). ‘The holiness without which no one will see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14) is to be accompanied by the ‘love’ without which we are ‘nothing’ (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). The Lord has redeemed us: By His grace, we shall ‘be holy… in love’ (34,36).
20:1-27 - The life of holiness is not an expression of our own moral virtue. It is an expression of the holy character of God being reproduced in us: ‘I am the Lord who sanctify you’ (8). God wants us for Himself – This is why we must not live the world’s way: ‘I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine’ (26). God has a great purpose for us: ‘You shall inherit their land… I will give it to you, a land flowing with milk and honey’ (24). ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies… my cup overflows’ (Psalm 23:5). ‘The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly… in Christ Jesus’ (1 Timothy 1:14). This is the pathway to holiness: ‘By grace you have been saved through faith… for good works’ (Ephesians 2:8-10).