Leviticus 20: Sanctification Is a Two-Way Street
Leviticus 20 shows us an interesting thing about the notion of sanctification and how what we can do on our own is not enough.
Lev 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
Lev 20:8 And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.
At first, I was somewhat confused by this passage. We are first commanded to sanctify ourselves, but then we are told that only God can sanctify us. However, that is the danger of taking a few verses from the Bible without looking at the big picture.
I think that when you put these verses in context with the rest of Leviticus, I think that we can understand this a little bit better.
All of the sacrifices that were dictated throughout the previous chapters involve our attempts to sanctify ourselves. Because God commanded that you needed to do certain sacrifices at certain times, you are trying to help sanctify yourself.
There is this idea in the New Testament that is similar. We need to live the right way and try our best to follow the path that God has set before us.
1Th 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
1Th 4:2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
1Th 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
1Th 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
In verse eight, it becomes rather obvious that God is the only one who can truly sanctify people, but it needs to go both ways.
God can obviously wipe out all of our sins and purify us, and because of that, we should try our best to follow in His steps. We are going to mess up more than we would probably like to, but maybe we can be like David and be people after God’s own heart. He wasn’t perfect either, but he still followed God with all his heart.