Most people really believe that Leviticus has no bearing on their life. I get that. I understand that the very word ‘Leviticus’ makes most of us feel uncomfortable and weird, like any moment I’m about to start talking about ‘uncleanness’ and sacrifice, (which I kind of am).
But we can’t tune it out. Because when we look at the book of Leviticus we see things that might be the key to setting us free from guilt and shame.
If we’re reading the Bible ‘right’, then we know that Leviticus is as much about the gospel as the book of John. When we read through the Law we find a greater and clearer understanding of the grace of God in the face of Christ.
We all say we believe and trust the gospel, but when we look at our experience of the world, it mostly reflects the world of the Old Covenant; the world of Leviticus. So the question for today is:
Does your world look more like the world of Leviticus or the world of Jesus?
Imagine a little boy born and raised in Kenya. All around him he sees the world of Kenya, but he has been taught his entire life that he lives in America. As a result he believes that Kenya is America. He believes with his whole being that he is American through and through. In fact, in his mind the ‘far away’ land of Kenya is as mystical to him as Timbuktu.
One day he finds an old tattered national geographic magazine hidden away in the corner of his attic. He pours over the pages, drinking in all the descriptions of different cultures and countries. It shows pictures of what life is like in multiple places, including Kenya and American. It describes the experiences one might have in both countries. As the boy reads about the differing nations he realizes that, despite what he has believed, despite what he has proclaimed, he actually lives in Kenya.
We may believe and proclaim we live in the land of Jesus, but when we describe our experience of this world, it sounds an awful lot like the land of Leviticus.
Let’s first just compare the two ‘lands’ on paper:
Obviously, as Christians we all believe we’re living under the Jesus Way. We all profess to trust in the sacrifice that actually covers are sin and we proclaim to trust in the mediator who actually is able to help us.
But let me describe the two ‘countries’ here so we can figure out which one sounds more like our world:
If you lived under the Leviticus way, here’s what your world would be like:
- You’d be afraid.
- You’d feel inadequate.
- You’d feel insecure.
- You’d be despairing in your deepest failure, and arrogant in your greatest victory.
- Your confidence would ebb and flow based on your success. You would be reminded of your past sin – even after ‘repentance’.
- You would be a slave to sin; your fight with Satan would feel futile.
- You would feel guilty; ashamed. You’d repent frequently for the same offence, never quite sure it was fully gone; still feeling the lingering effects of shame.
- You would run from God in failure, not to Him.
- You would see suffering in your life as punishment, God’s wrath. You would fear Him – not out of awe and worship, but out of fear of a beating.
- You would feel alone. You would feel like God is far from you.
If you lived under the Jesus way, here’s what your world would be like:
- You’d be peaceful; constantly filled with joy, worship and relief.
- Your sins would be completely gone, so once you confessed you would never feel guilt or shame again.
- You wouldn’t have repeat repentance for the same offence because you would trust that He is just and faithful to cleanse you of all your sin.
- You wouldn’t feel like you needed to make up for your sin; Christ has atoned for you.
- You would feel assured your sin was covered.
- You’d have confidence to approach God knowing that you had an unfailing advocate before God.
- You would run to God when you encountered temptation knowing He was not angry, but instead, sympathetic.
- You would see suffering as a gift. After all, God is for you. His wrath has been spent; there is not a drop left for you.
- You would believe you are free from sin and the power of Satan.
- You would no longer be a slave to fear of death, but instead would move in faith and joy without anxiety.
- You would trust in Christ for your righteousness and not be threatened by hatred or scorn or worldly disapproval.
- You would feel the nearness of God, knowing that He is always with you and in you.
So here’s the question: despite what you would say and despite what you think, which one best describes your experience of this life?
Are you living in the land of Leviticus or the land of Jesus?