Through trudging through Leviticus, believe it or not, there are important lessons to be learned about the character of God and our relationship to him.

Here’s what I believe to be the thesis verse of the book:

“for I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:45

Leviticus is about how God teaches unholy people to relate to a holy God. He outlines offerings, sacrifices that need to be made, days for atonement, and priestly duties and responsibilities. All these institutions are the response for how normal people to relate to a holy God.

And we also learn that there are degrees of holiness. In short, the closer you were to the Ark of the Covenant, the more restrictions there were. That is why there are laws about unclean and unclean things, and then there are special laws if you were a priest who operated within the place of God’s dwelling.

Here’s the lesson to be learned from Leviticus: The closer one is to God, the higher the standards for holiness.

Every step one takes towards His presence, there are greater requirements necessary to prepare oneself. The call to live a holy Christian life is the necessary journey to come close to his presence.

Yes, there is a dominating presence of grace involved, where, by his grace, we draw near to God, undeservedly and lovingly. But grace is medicinal to the root issue–the pathway of holiness is the pathway towards God.

I am one who loves and adores God’s presence. Yet what I learn is that the only way to really experience God’s presence and glory in his fullness is to live a life of holiness–to keep my heart, my eyes, my thoughts, and my ways clean before the Holy Spirit.

And as I live that life of holiness, I am walking and inching ever more closely to the holy of holies–the place where the glory of His presence dwells.

The task of living a holy life is impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit. May God grant us the power to obey his word and to walk in purity, that we may engage in the highest pursuit a human can pursue–to enter into deep and abiding communion with the God of the universe.