MembersHoliness and Covenant

There it is at the core of Leviticus, and central to the whole of Torah: “Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, you shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” [Lev. 19:2].

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Photo: Nati Shohat/FLASH90

It concerns every member of the congregation, and is a very straightforward demand. From a certain viewpoint, it is the only reasonable summing-up of how matters must work out between man and God. If this demand could not be effected, then God is not God and human life is vain. The essential call to Israel to become a nation fully separated unto the Lord, would be hollow and meaningless.

And yet, we have a great paradox here, for humanly-speaking such a prospect is an utter impossibility. The Creator of heaven and earth whose eternal essence is holiness is telling man to be holy as He is holy! Puny little man aware of his frailty and filthiness, outrageous shortcomings, glaring sins and helplessness in himself – how can he even begin to consider such a proposition? But there it is, staring him in the face, uttered by the faithful Covenant God. How do we even begin to relate to it in a practical way?

William Law [Serious Call, chapter 2] states: “If you will here stop and ask yourselves why you are...

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