In Between the Fear of God and the Love of Neighbors: Holiness
1. This study is the third is a three-part series in which our intention has been to allow key concepts of the Old Covenant to educate us in what it means to be people of God.
a. The priesthood enables us to draw near to God.
b. The sacrificial system allows God to dwell among us.
c. Holiness is living in a manner that recognizes and confirms that relationship.
2. This text is perhaps the best illustration of what I mean.
a. It has been called “the Sermon on the Mount of the Old Testament.”
b. It begins with the insistence that God must be reverenced and it concludes with instruction to love one’s neighbors as oneself (v. 2, 18).
c. In between those two markers, holiness is lived out by practical morality.
1. Holiness springs from a particular understanding of the nature of morality.
a. Morality starts with who God is.
i. “You shall be holy, for I the LORD you God am holy” (v. 2).
ii. “...I am the LORD you God” becomes the defining factor in what is or isn’t appropriate in every area of life (v. 3f).
b. Morality remains the same through places and times.
i. The injunctions here are either expressions of, or applications of, the ten commandments (Ex. 20:1-17).
ii. The New Testament calls for morality of the same nature as this (1 Pet. 1:15, 16).
c. Morality has to do with being, not merely with doing or not doing.
i. It involves what a person is in all areas of life, not simply a set of regulations separate and apart from life.
ii. God said, “You shall be....”
2. Holiness shows up in practical conduct that reflects genuine morality.
a. Fear your mother and your father.
i. Leviticus 19:3
ii. The connection between this and Sabbaths indicates that this is part of the development of reverence for what is holy (cf. Ex. 20:8-12).
b. Recognize and respect what is holy.
i. Leviticus 19:4
ii. The following verses (5-8) indicate that this is part of letting God be God and not profaning what is holy.
c. Be a blessing to other people.
i. Leviticus 19:9, 10
ii. This and verses 33-34 suggest that this is part of appreciating the fact that we have been blessed ourselves.
d. Deal honestly with everyone.
i. Leviticus 19:11, 12
ii. Notice that the deeper issue is that this is part of what it means to not profane the name of God.
e. Treat all people honorably.
i. Leviticus 19:13, 14
ii. This and verse 34 demand this is an expression of godly fear.
f. Do justice.
i. Leviticus 19:15, 16
ii. Verses 35-36 add to this: no injustice or partiality or disrespect for personhood is practiced by holy people.
g. Deal frankly with your neighbor.
i. Leviticus 19:17, 18
ii. Communicate openly so that no ill will has a chance to fester and to poison your life bitterness.
1. The rest of this chapter tells us this kind of morality is part of a life in which:
a. All things are in their proper order.
b. One remains separate from that which is unholy.
2. Ephesians 1:4; 5:27