Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Grace of the New Covenant in... Leviticus?!?

     Now that I've gotten politics off my chest, we can proceed to the real reason I want to blog... to discuss the magnificence of God's revelation to us in the Bible.
     Everyone thinks of Leviticus (at least, those who do think about Leviticus!) as a monotonous list of obscure rules and oft-ridiculed punishments (like "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.").  But I've run across gem after gem of applicable truth, and now I have an outlet to pass them on!  I guarantee you'll be surprised at what God revealed (and is still revealing) to those with ears to hear, even in ancient Israel.
     The first shock I have for you is the transparent grace in the 3rd book of Moses;  I've been studying in Lev. for 6 months, so rather than try to remember that far back, we'll just pick up with what God has shown me this week:
Lev 20:26  You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.
Lev 21:8  You shall sanctify him, for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I, the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy.
     Do you see it?  The twin themes of human responsibility and divine supply?  If not, a Hebrew lesson might help (from a guy who knows about 10 Hebrew words!).  What we translate "sanctify", "holy", or "separate" all come from one root word (qadash, Strongs' H6942 if you must know).  So we're commanded to return the same service to God (or His high priest in context) that He first performs for us.  Sound familiar yet?  Here's the same concept in chronological order:
"And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,  that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God." (Ezk 11:19-20)
    So the same distinction that Paul, James, and others make between faith and works, and yet their intertwined relationship (the divine gift of justifying faith produces God-pleasing works) is seen in the earliest parts of the Bible.  Isn't that incredible?  I've often wondered how "new" the New Covenant really is...  the same gospel Christians preach today (enabling grace predicated on intercessory, justifying sacrifice) is what comes through in the word preached by Moses.  All praise to Jesus ("God saves")!

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