One of the things that the Law taught was that God’s people should be holy because their God is holy (Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:26). As one commentator writes, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’ ‘could be termed the motto of Leviticus’.1 In truth, God wants his people to be morally holy: Peter explains God’s call to holiness like this: ‘…as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct’ (1 Peter 1:15). The Law taught this through very visual methods, one of which was by requiring the people who worked in the Tabernacle (and, later, the Temple) to be physically perfect (Lev. 21:16-24). The physical perfection represented (it was only a “shadow” of [cf. Heb. 10:1]) the moral perfection that should be in service to God.

Of course, God loves all people, regardless of their level of their physical “perfection” (thankfully! John 3:16; Mat. 21:14). But the lesson is still true: we should worship God in perfection.

Thankfully, God forgives people who repent (1 John 1:9). So, if we fail to be morally perfect, we can ask God to forgive us and he will. This is the only way that any human can really be perfect.


1. G. J. Whenham, The Book of Leviticus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), p. 18

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