The Bible Gives Us a Framework for Why We Should Be Holy
Reading through the book of Leviticus challenges most people. Its words fail to engage our imagination as they drone on with seemingly repetitious commands. But there are gems buried within its verses—if our minds aren’t too glossed over to see them.
In today’s verse, God tells us to be holy, but then he tells us why.
The idea to be holy—to live with God-honoring words and actions—both compels and confounds me. I like this ideal, but I fall short on the implementation. Holiness is easier said than done.
Sometimes I wonder why I should even bother to try to be holy—as if I can accomplish it on my own, anyway. Fortunately, Leviticus gives us some insight into this holiness thing.
Following another string of things to do and not to do, God inserts this overarching thought. He says, “Therefore be holy, because” . . . wait for it . . . “because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45, NIV).
Be Holy Because . . .
Notice that God doesn’t say, “Be holy because I said so,” even though he has every right to. Instead he gives an explanation. Knowing the why behind the command helps me a lot. I’ll take an explained instruction over a blanket edict any day.
In this explanation we have a reminder that God is holy. As we pursue a relationship with him, we’ll become more like him. A bit of God will rub off on us. We will, in fact, become more holy.
This doesn’t mean we must be perfect before we approach him, but it does remind us that he appreciates a little bit of holiness. Our motivation to be holy doesn’t come because God says so. It comes from a desire to be more like him and be in a closer relationship with him.
And that’s a holiness I want to strive for.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.