Redeemed people are called to live in a manner that reflects God's holy character. Nowhere is this more clearly spelled out than in Leviticus, Israel's handbook for life: "You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. . . . Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine" (Leviticus 20:7, 26).
Sandwiched between the two verses above, which stand like sacred bookends, are the most explicit laws in Scripture concerning sexual morality. For example:
"If there is a man who takes his sister, his father's daughter or his mother's daughter, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the sons of their people. He has uncovered his sister's nakedness; he bears his guilt." (20:17; see also 18:6–23; 20:10–16)
The practices of adultery, incest, fornication, bestiality, and homosexuality continue today, as does the Christian's call to reflect God's holiness in every aspect of his or her character. Peter reminded us of this in the New Testament, writing, "Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior" (1 Peter 1:15).
But sin's dark cloud, dangerous grip, and damnable impact have taken a terrible toll on our times. God's holiness and hatred of sin no longer influence the way many believers live.¹
Written by Insight for Living Ministries staff members.
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