Observations from Leviticus

So I just finished Leviticus in my “read through the Bible in a year plan,” and two phrases stuck out repeatedly: the Lord gives laws and statutes not in the form of “here’s the law, just deal with it,” nor does He simply say “what’s wrong with you people? Why do I even have to say this to you?” But rather, almost always we find a law given and then the reasoning is “I am the Lord” (Lev 26:45) or “I am the Lord your God.” (Lev 23:43, for example)

Two important points:

1) God is God. We are not. So many of our issues and struggles with authority and sin come from our own ridiculous thoughts that we have the right to challenge God, to “be like God” as the serpent lied to us. So much heartache comes from this one massive sin.

2) God is not simply “up there” in heaven, removed from the life of His people. A lot of the laws He is giving are very gritty, earthy; they are about real-life situations. He truly is “…your God.” Not just a God, but the God of His people. The Lord is personal and this isn’t just found in the New Testament with Christ, but all throughout the Scriptures.

Sin, the Fall, and Us

I recently attended a conference in Minnesota where the primary topic was sin – defining it Biblically, speaking of it’s horrifying effects in our lives, and looking with hope towards the day of Christ’s return when sin will be no more. During all of this, I picked up on something I’d never really thought of before…

…the ease at which Adam and Eve sinned against God, compared to the ease at which we sin against God.

Think of Adam and Eve’s situation: they had never known sin. They were not born with a sin nature. They lived in a world of perfections where they enjoyed (literally!) the company of God. They knew no shame. They never hid anything from one another. They never lied or argued with each other. Surely their pre-fall lives were a blessed existence!

So what did it take for them to trade this wonderful life for one of pain, of sorrow, of sin? A suggestion! Did you catch that? Nobody forced them to sin. The serpent did not hold them down and make them eat of the fruit. No, Eve and then Adam willingly ate of it. And why? Is it because they were deceived? Yes. But the deception wasn’t only the serpent’s, it was also their own as they misquoted God and thereby changed what He had said. And so Adam and Eve plunged the human race into sin not because they were forced to, not because of their living conditions, not because of their upbringing. But because of their own choice. They had every advantage against sin and yet they threw it away.

What about us? In one sense, the deck might seem to be stacked against us. Unlike Adam and Eve, we were born with a sin nature. We have a rebellious streak that goes to the very core. We were born into a world where sin is running rampant, where inducements and enticements to sin against the Almighty can be found any given moment online, in your email, on billboards, or during TV commercials. It is available on your Facebook feed, through your phone, in the newspaper, and in your mailbox.

And here’s the point that really struck me: yet – in spite of all this – we have the utter pride to think that we, personally and individually, have the strength to resist sin. Let’s compare again: Adam and Eve – perfect environment, every advantage. And yet they sinned at the drop of a hat, at a simple suggestion. What of us? Certainly we can do no better. The first lesson here is to not toy around with sin, to not let our pride tell us that we are more “advanced” than Adam and Eve, that we wouldn’t be tempted by something so little and trivial. We should not and must not be surprised at sin: ours or anybody else’s. Sins are not just mistakes, actions that are “out of the norm” for us – no, sadly, sin has become the new norm for all of live apart from Christ.

The second lesson is to look to the One who can save us from our sins: Christ Jesus. He is the only One who has lived a life amongst the sin and thorns of this world and yet emerged without stain or blemish. Therefore, He is the only One who can save us from our sins. Trust Him! Love Him! Follow Him! Lean upon Him! Cry out to Him!

“For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” ~Romans 5:19