You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy (v.2).
Holiness is perhaps one of the most misunderstood
terms of our time. A study by The Barna
Group reveals that though the Bible talks a lot
about holiness, most people are confused and even
apprehensive about what it means.
Pastor Ray Stedman observed, “Most of us associate
[holiness] with some kind of grimness or solemnity. We
think holy people are those who look as if they have
been steeped in vinegar or soaked in embalming fluid.”
No wonder few Christians aspire to be holy.
In Leviticus 19:1, we see that holiness involves more than
special ceremonies and special holy days and going to a
sacred place, the tabernacle, where rites were performed
by a special priestly class. We see a very practical,
everyday kind of holiness—honoring parents and
displaying honesty, kindness, compassion, and justice. In
essence, holiness is practiced by loving one’s neighbor
as one’s self (v.18).
In fact, we find that holiness isn’t relevant for full-time
ministers only—it’s for laypeople like you and me as well.
For we read, “You must be holy because I, the Lord your
God, am holy” (v.2). In the ultimate sense, living a holy
life is the imitation of God who alone is holy. So God’s
holiness and His gracious redemption provide both the
reason and the motivation for His people’s own holiness
Stedman writes, ”The book of Leviticus details the way by which man is
made holy enough to live in the Divine Presence and to enjoy a relationship
so close that God will delight to say, ‘You are mine.’ Don’t be turned off by the
word ‘holy’ in this passage . . . True holiness is therefore something splendidly
—Poh Fang Chia
Read 1 Peter 1:13 to understand that under the new covenant, God’s
demands for His people remain unchanged. Holiness is a requirement
for His redeemed people.