Thursday, November 1, 2007

Redeemed for Holiness

Reflections on Leviticus

At the end of the long, boring list of things that the Israelites were not to eat in Leviticus 11 comes this little gem:

“I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” (v44-45)

As they listened to the long list of outlawed (but seemingly perfectly good) food, the Israelites may well have begun to wonder, “What right does God have to give us all these rules?” The answer to their question was quite clear: “I brought you up out of Egypt.”

The children of Israel had been slaves, and they had been rescued. They were not rescued because of how righteous they were. God did not choose them because they were better looking than every other nation. Heaven knows they weren’t smarter than the average bear.

God rescued them because He had chosen them. For no good reason, out of the goodness of His heart, God decided to adopt them as His own. He freed them from slavery, rescued then from danger, fed them, and led them. They owed Him big, and He was letting them know what their side of the bargain was.

Today, if you have been rescued by the cross of Christ, you have been freed from slavery, rescued from hell, provided with a food like no other (the body and the blood), led by the Spirit, and, for no good reason, out of the kindness of His heart, adopted into the family of God.

We owe Him big, and there are some expectations on us, because He has also said to us, “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16).

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