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AM Bible Study Archives
"Holiness Requires Separation "
Wednesday AM Bible Study
November 29, 2006
Theme: This chapter describes the extent to which the people of God were to separate themselves from unholiness.
Much of the material in this chapter seems similar to that which is found in chapter 18. But the difference here is that a capital penalty for sin is expressed. It not only emphasizes the fact that God's commandments are not mere “suggestions” but actual commandments—and as commandments, also involve a penalty; but also illustrates the extent to which the people of Israel were to separate themselves from the abominable sins of the peoples who were driven out before them.
The wages of sin is always death. This chapter teaches us how we—as believers—are to separate ourselves from sin. Corporately, we are to see to it that we separate ourselves from sin within our midst (1 Corinthians 5:6-8); and individually, we are to sever from ourselves whatever it is that may cause us to stumble (Matthew 5:29-30).
I. THE REQUIREMENT OF EXTREME SEPARATION FROM SIN (vv. 1-21).
A. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR WORSHIP OF MOLECH (vv. 1-5).
The worship of Molech—a Canaanite god—involved heating up the figure of Molech with outstretched arms, and placing children on the red-hot arms of the idol until they rolled in agony into the open furnace below the arms. It was a brutality beyond description; and—believe it or not—one that Israel eventually fell into (Ezekiel 23:37-39; 2 Kings 21:6).
B. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR TURNING TO THE OCCULT (vv. 6-7).
This is called a “prostitution”--a turning away in unfaithfulness from God to another.
C. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR CURSING MOTHER OR FATHER (vv. 8-9).
If a man will violate natural affections in this most basic relationship of authority, he will turn away from God and literally open himself up to any other sin.
D. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR SEXUAL IMMORALITY (vv. 10-21).
Some of these are sins of fornication, some of incest, some of sexual perversion. All of them were characteristic of the peoples that God had cast out of the land before Israel; and all of them were the cause of terrible disease and suffering among the Canaanites.
II. THE CALL TO KEEP DISTINCT FROM THE SINS OF THE SURROUNDING PEOPLES (vv. 22-27).
A. KEEP GOD'S COMMANDMENTS AS RECIPIENTS OF GRACE (vv. 22-24).
God had given them the land. Therefore, they were not to imitate the sins of the peoples who were cast out before them.
B. DISTIGUISH BETWEEN HOLY AND UNHOLY AS A SEPARATE PEOPLE (vv. 25-26).
A distinction is to be made and maintained. We are to test all things.
C. TOLERATE NO OTHER STANDARD IN YOUR MIDST (v. 27).
This last command is distinct from the previous commandment concerning the occult. Here, the actual practitioner is to be put to death.