Sunday, April 17, 2011

Be Set Apart Because He Is Set Apart

Leviticus 19:1-2 is typically translated as, "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy." What is real holiness? In the late 1800's and early 1900's churches were started that called themselves "Holiness Churches." They focused on separating from the world. Whenever a new idea or invention came into being, there was a tendency to require the holiness people to abstain from participation in whatever the new invention involved. I remember reading about one preacher who said, "I wish we had not preached against the automobile. I would have liked to have had one." Some made a stand against telephones, televisions, and movies. It seemed that whatever brought entertainment was frowned upon. Today, these groups still exist with their dress codes, hair requirements for women, and bans on sporting events, bowling, and working on Sunday. Are these what YHWH had in mind when He proclaimed that we were to be set apart?

True holiness is being set apart from the common or profane. The Hebrew word is kedushah and it means sanctity or "set-apartness." Being holy implies being different. How should we be different? We don't have to guess or make up man made rules to form a denomination. The answer is found in Leviticus. The following will set you apart from the world and YHWH will be pleased:
1. Honor your parents and keep the Sabbath (Lev. 19:3);
2. Honor YHWH by abstaining from idolatry (Lev. 19:4);
3. Leave gleanings of your harvest for the poor, i.e. give money to help the poor (Lev. 19:10);
4. Do not steal, do not lie, do not deceive one another (Lev. 19:11);
5. Do not curse others (Lev. 19:12);
6. Judge others favorably and avoid gossip (Lev. (Lev. 19:15,16);
7. Do not hate your brother (Lev. 19:17); and
8. Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18).

There are others, but the above are a good start. Notice that to YHWH, holiness is about what you do or don't do. It is not a feeling or emotion. It is a duty. We have been commanded to be set apart. When our actions follow Torah, you will be set apart. You will stand out and be prepared because the world will not embrace you. However, that is the price to being set apart.

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