Scripture Reading: Leviticus 19:1-20:27 / Mark 14:43-72 / Proverbs 6:30-35
Charles M. Wetherill, the first chemist of the 1862 established Department of Agriculture, set up a laboratory and began to analyze samples of food, soils, fertilizers, and other agricultural substances. It’s primary function centered on agricultural research and development but quickly became involved in matters of food safety. Today, the FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, pharmaceutical drugs and a variety of other areas.
God commissioned His own FDA with Old Testament laws that not only included food and agriculture guidelines but directives for every area of life. Central to all law was the distinction between clean and unclean, pure and impure, holy and unholy. God established these laws because standards needed to be set for man’s safety, well-being and security.
The standard God used was His holiness. He set the bar high, far past the world’s sinfulness and all the way up to heaven’s glory. He separated for Himself a people who would abide by and faithfully declare His holiness. He told Israel, “You are to be holy to me because I the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.” (Leviticus 20:26)
The process of holiness was two fold – separation from evil and devotion to God. Israel was to remove themselves from all things, actions and lifestyles of uncleanness. It required them to separate themselves from the corruption, evil and sin of the world. They were not to live like other ungodly nations and follow their ways or their gods. God clearly defined the difference between clean and unclean. He did not want Israel to compromise or blend the unclean with the clean.
Israel was also to be devoted to God. This meant a conscious and committed act of conforming into His image. It involved surrendering their mind, will, desires, intellect and emotions to the purpose and image of God. Israel struggled with God’s standard of holiness and was often the poster child for the “Runaway Child”. Man doesn’t like restrictions and they tend to rebel against standards of “do’s and don’ts.” Man desires to set their own standards and live by their own rules.
Not much has changed since then… God’s standard of holiness has not changed and man’s response is still one of defiance. One thing has changed though…holiness is possible and not dependent upon the works of man but the grace of God. The law always reminded man of what he could not obtain because of his sin. The new covenant of grace provides man what he can now obtain because of Christ’s redemptive work. We are still required to walk in the way of holiness…not to earn righteousness but to live out the indwelling righteousness of Christ. God’s FDA is now possible by Christ’s FDA…His Forgiving and Delivering Atonement!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!