Reading 7.4: Leviticus 18:6-23
READ: Leviticus 18:6-20
Not much needs to be said about this passage. In case you are wondering, everything is covered. Don’t sleep with anyone closely related to you, don’t sleep with your neighbour’s wife, don’t sleep with the same gender, and don’t get into beastality.
I guess the big question that is raised from this passage is how far do you take these laws? How much must they relate to our culture today (this is partiuclarly relevent on the topic of homosexuality)? If you want to abide by and impose these laws as a relevant moral code for today then what about the laws of the previous chapter; what about the laws of the following chapter; what about all the laws throughout Leviticus???
Remember the meaning of holiness? Holiness is about being complete; holines is about being what God created us to be! What did God say about a husband and wife in Geneseis 2:24? They shall become ‘one’. Any form of abuse of that partiuclar plan falls short of God’s set standards for completeness between a man and a woman. If that marriage ‘oneness’ is broken by outside relationships then the standard of completeness (holiness) has been broken. If any sexual union does not fit into the God ordained plan of completeness (man and woman), then that standard has still been broken. The Apostle Paul reflects such thoughts when he makes reference to homosexuality in Romans 1:24-27. Here Paul uses such words as ‘uncleaness’, ‘dishonour’, ‘vile passions’, ‘natural’; even in Pauls’ mind this practice was not at all according to God’s perfect and complete plan.
Now in some cases the laws and instructions given in Leviticus would seem to simply relate to the Jews being different to the other nations (some laregley served practical purposes such as not eating pork) – if these instructions were broken the people were not living up to God’s plan of completeness (holiness) – these laws related to the Hebrews. Other instructions and laws given in Leviticus reflect God’s plan upon the whole of his creation – e.g. God’s perfect plan of unity between a man and woman. Therefore, some of God’s levitical standards of holines related direclty to the Jews and to their being seperate and distinct; some related to God’s perfect plan for all of mankind and therefore transcend time and culture.
The New Testament upholds these laws of sexual crimes as a present standard of morality. Many times the NT writers warn their readers to stay away from any form of sexual immorality (see Romans 1:27; 13:9; I Cor. 5:1ff; 10:7ff; Gal 5:19; Eph 5:3; Col 3:5; I Thes 4:3). In a western culture to take a stand against many of these socially accepted practices is no longer only about upholing morality. Such a stand is also becoming a point of difference between the church and the world – such a difference, makes the stand even harder to hold when it has become for many a solitary existance on a sexually moral square; yet this was the type of posture that the Hebrews were often called to make in many areas of life and practice.
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.” – Ephesians 5:3