Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Most Important Thing in the World

We will stand and sing hymn 325,” announced the worship leader, “ ‘Take Time to Be Holy.’ We will sing verses one and four.”
 Imagine a Christian congregation singing “Take Time to Be Holy” and not even taking time to sing the entire song! If we can’t take the time (less than four minutes) to sing a song about holiness, we’re not likely to take time to devote ourselves to “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).

Happiness, not holiness, is the chief pursuit of most people today, including many professed Christians. They want Jesus to solve their problems and carry their burdens, but they don't want Him to control their lives and change their character. It doesn't disturb them that eight times in the Bible, God said to His people, “Be holy, for I am holy,”1 and He means it.

“He that sees the beauty of holiness, or true moral good,” wrote Jonathan Edwards, “sees the greatest and most important thing in the world.”
Have you ever thought of personal holiness—likeness to Jesus Christ—as the most important thing in the world?

In God’s kingdom, holiness isn't a luxury; it's a necessity. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Yes, God wants His children to be happy, but true happiness begins with holiness. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6). “If I had my choice of all the blessings I can conceive of,” said Charles Spurgeon, “I would choose perfect conformity to the Lord Jesus, or, in one word, holiness.” Would you make the same choice?
Leviticus tells new Testament Christians how to appreciate holiness and appropriate it into their everyday lives. The word holy is used 91 times in Leviticus, and words connected with cleansing are used 71 times. References to uncleanness number 128. There's no question what this book is all about.

“But wasn’t the Book of Leviticus written for the priests and Levites in ancient Israel?” you may ask; and the answer is, “Yes.” But the lessons in Leviticus aren't limited to the Jews in ancient Israel. The spiritual principles in this book apply to Christians in the church today. The key verses of Leviticus—“Be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44–45)—are applied to the New Testament church in 1 Peter 1:15–16; and the Book of Leviticus itself is quoted or referred to over 100 times in the New Testament. Since all Scripture was given by inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16), then all Scripture is profitable for God’s people to use in developing godly lives. Jesus said that we should live by every word that God has given us (Matt. 4:4), and that includes Leviticus.
The Book of Leviticus explains five basic themes that relate to the life of holiness: a holy God; a holy priesthood; a holy people; a holy land; and a holy Savior.

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