Too often in Christian circles the book of Leviticus is heavily abused. There are at least 3 ways in which this occurs:
- “It’s too boring, so I can’t (realistic: won’t) read it.”
- “It’s the Law and Christ fulfilled it, so I don’t need to know it.”
- “It’s the book that says that homosexuals are an abomination to God.”
And today’s post is going to focus on the second of those 3 abuses. But first, i need to say a word about 1 and 3.
In my personal opinion, the book of Leviticus is much more interesting than both Exodus and Numbers. Yes, the beginning of Exodus is action-packed and great, but all of Leviticus screams, “Be thankful for Jesus!” Also, we must always remember, regardless of the “apparent boringness” of the Scriptural book we are in that Paul was speaking of the Old Testament when he wrote, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Leviticus is highly helpful for our Christian lives, and apart from it, Peter’s exhortation in 1 Peter 1:15-16 will never be fully grasped by us: “But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.”
As far as homosexuality is concerned: Yes. Homosexuals are an abomination to God. (Today a student asked me something along the lines of, “Do you hate gay people?” I responded with a confident, “NO.”) Homosexuals should never be an abomination to us; we are not God. They should be at the forefront of our prayers, that God would give them grace and grant them repentance. We should be bold enough to pray that God would place a few in our lives so that we can show them the love of Christ and be granted the opportunity to share the gospel with them. Bashing people with the Bible, especially proof texts from Leviticus, never wins converts. In addition, please know that when you point a Leviticus verse at a homosexual, you are inadvertently pointing many other verses within those 27 chapters right back at yourself. The point of the book is to show us our desperate need for Christ!
Which leads me to my main point. We cannot pull the “Christ fulfilled Leviticus so I need not study it” argument. If you don’t know this inspired book, how can you know what Christ actually fulfilled?
This evening i was studying Scripture with a fellow believer, and our topic led us into Leviticus. I pointed out to him that every command/Law in the book can ultimately be boiled down to what Jesus says in Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” I pointed to a random verse in Leviticus 19 and said, “Which of the primary commands does this point to?”
The verse i pointed at was Leviticus 19:13-14. It reads, “You must not oppress your neighbor or rob ⌊him⌋. The wages due a hired hand must not remain with you until morning. You must not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you are to fear your God; I am Yahweh.”
He answered the same as i would have: “It’s about loving our neighbor.”
But then i had a thought. Even these two obscure verses in Leviticus prove that you can’t easily separate love for God from love for our neighbor.
And yes, Christ fulfilled the Law, but He also commanded that we love our neighbors–including enemies, fellow Christians, and the poor. When we obey this command to love our neighbor, we are actively loving God by showing that we fear Him. If we didn’t have Leviticus, then we would miss this truth.
To tie this back to the homosexual thing , Leviticus 19:14 says, “You must not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind.” Who is more spiritually blind and deaf than an unrepentant sinner (whether homosexual or heterosexual)? If we pridefully say, “Homosexuals as a whole group are cursed by God” we are cursing the deaf, and ultimately putting a stumbling block in front of their salvation. We, as believers, must be free from saying or doing things that turn people off to salvation. Christ said, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). He did not say, “You are the pepper of the earth.” We are to make Christianity more flavorful, not more aggravating.
For these, and many other reasons, we must be well-versed in all of the Scripture, not just the “easy” parts. What will you do today to better understand and be immersed in all of God’s Word?
Soli Deo Gloria