Clean and Unclean

3/20/09 8:45am

Leviticus 11-15

Pericope: Leviticus 5:31-33

Have you ever wondered about those weird passages in Scripture where it talks about bodily infections and discharges? What relevance does that have for today? Leviticus 11-15 discusses how Israel is to distinguish between what is considered “clean” versus “unclean.” I believe that Leviticus 5:13 spells out the reason for these awkward laws: “Thus you are to set the Israelites apart from their impurity so that they do not die in their impurity by defiling my tabernacle which is in their midst.” These laws were about protecting the dwelling place of God. Certain physical conditions God considers “unclean.” This does not mean God loves one any less when they have such conditions. One does not become devalued or worth less because they may have a discharge or emission from their body or because the have a disease or illness. However, all of these conditions are effects of the broken world produced by sin. They exist because of unwholeness or incompleteness that will one day cease to exist. These conditions do not exist in the absolute presence of God. So, when God wants his people to distinguish themselves from their uncleanness, he wants them to understand the seriousness of the consequences of His glory in contrast to the presence of their condition. The closer one comes in proximity to God’s presence the more “set apart” one must be- that is, the more “different” or “wholly different” one must be. Failure to comply means that one would die. God was protecting his people in their earthly physical state which is effected by the conditions of sin that cannot exist where He physically dwells. God’s glory overcomes death and disease. It destroys death and produces life. In him there is light and no darkness at all. His holiness cannot be profaned or defiled or tainted by what he considers to be uncleaned or imperfect. So what does this mean for today? I am thankful because the blood of Christ purifies me in my unclean state (2 Cor 5:21). Because of the finished work on the Cross, I have access to the Father by faith in Christ. One day I will be able to dwell in the physical presence of God and to know Him with all His glory. For those in ancient Israel, they were able to experience a taste of God’s glory as His dwelling place was in the Tabernacle. They had to become physically set apart/different in order to enjoy God’s presence. Today our access to the Father comes by the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in our life as a guarantee of the things that are yet to come!

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