Scripture: Leviticus 19:18-37
“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:28)
Why are strange commands like these in the Bible? Do we have to obey them?
Yes. Many of the laws found in the Old Testament need to be kept by Christians today, because they remain part of Scripture. Such commands are called ceremonial, or ritual, laws.
Ceremonial laws created categories of unclean, clean, and holy living. The normal state of things was cleanliness. Corruption led to uncleanness; but sacrifice, or offering, led to holiness. When something became corrupted or polluted, it was unclean. When something was especially dedicated to God, it became holy.
Some of the commands in our reading for today were meant to keep God’s people from corrupting themselves with the practices of their pagan neighbors. Some of the religions of other nations included rituals for the dead that called for cutting oneself. Others insisted on marking themselves with tattoos to show which god or tribe you belonged to. That is why we read and study the Scripture, to know what it says, not what man says. Many so-called churches have rules that are man-made. Read the Word.
Since Christ sacrificed Himself to make us holy, we don’t need to worry about becoming unclean because of tattoos, dining customs, and so on. But it is still important to show love and respect to all people, and to deal honestly with everyone. Jesus is our best example, and the Holy Spirit is our guide.
Prayer: Dear God, by Your Holy Spirit, help us to live holy lives that reflect the life of Christ within us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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