We often hear these days the importance of finding the “middle ground”, a place where our differences can be resolved in a manner that includes people of all thoughts and beliefs. Actually the words thoughts and beliefs mean the same thing. Today in the words of some, these words don’t fully convey the scope of the church’s mission; here then is the new way of expressing the church’s mission. “Inclusive”, which demands a whole new direction for the church; wide-ranging, broad, general and all-encompassing that in many of the issues it faces today leaves the church in a position of compromise and weakens its mission.
You will find none of the above (; wide-ranging, broad, general and all-encompassing) in the Book of Leviticus. I like to say “there is no wiggle room in scripture.” Most often if you mention Leviticus the immediate response is…. oh no, not Leviticus! The content of Leviticus is almost entirely laws from God concerning sacrifices, worship, and holy living. Chapters 17-26 contain laws for holy living. Central to the regulations in this section is the command from God, “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (19:2). Israel is to live according to the revealed character of God (Mt 5:48). I have always heard critics of Christianity say that we as Christians are quick to pull from the Bible those scriptures that work to our advantage in making a point concerning our beliefs. Well…where would you have me go? I do agree that there is some truth to that statement. Most are quick to pull Leviticus Chapter 18 when the discussion or debate is centered on same-sex practices. There are many Laws in this section and Verse 22 has caused more squandering and waste of time and resources on something which God decided long ago. You find this law in section 3.
The regulations in this section forbid the practice of incest. When Leviticus was written, large extended families formed the core of Israelite society. The laws presented here forbid sexual intercourse with any family member except one’s spouse. The chapter is divided into four basic units: (1) admonition to keep Yahweh’s commandments (vv. 1-5), (2) laws forbidding incest (vv. 6-18), (3) laws forbidding defiling sexual practices (vv. 19-23), and (4) exhortation (vv. 24-30).
Today I see this debate in my denomination moving from God’s word to the arena of public opinion. Those who favor such relationships have moved from the religious theater to the civil right theater. To Christians who follow God’s Law and will, this is not an area they can prevail in. Gods’ law was never intended to be debated or modified to fit the morality of the day. Christians miss the point when they allow this to become a social issue. What do we do? We do as Jesus said long ago.
“And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.”
We have been called out, set apart not to condemn others but to live a Holy Life that will reflect the mercy and grace of the God we serve. There are many laws in these chapters of Leviticus and they all serve one purpose; they are God’s commandments and are necessary to live a Holy Life. God’s laws do not belong to the Caesars of today and the Church should not allow its desire to be all-inclusive to make them anything other than that which God has commanded of his people.
“Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy”
*some reference points in this blog are taken from biblegateway.com