God called His children to be holy like He is holy. His children are pure. His children are not like the people around them. When Moses led Israel out of Egypt, God gave them His law so they would be a special people, His people. Verses 1-4 read,
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.”
The laws of the world are not God’s laws. He is holy. Israel had Moses’ Law to make them distinct in the world. We have Jesus who makes us holy. We are different from the world. Our standard is Christ, and the Holy Spirit makes us like Him. We no longer behave like the people we were before Jesus saved us. We do not behave like the Pharisees who we displaced when they couldn’t see the Love for the law. We walk in love by God’s grace and mercy. We are righteous not because we follow the law but because Jesus made us righteous. We do good not because we are trying to earn Heaven. We do good because God loves us so much our response to Him is goodness, our transformation makes us into His image and so we manifest His nature.
Verses 6-23 gives a list of sexual acts considered abominations by the Lord. The Egyptians practiced many of these things, incest, bestiality, and adultery. The inhabitants of Canaan the land God was going to give Israel practiced these things too. God didn’t want His people looking or acting like them. God freed Israel from Egypt. God was going to hand over Canaan to them, not only because it was good land but because the people there were evil and had abhorrent customs and habits. Verses 24-25 say,
“Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, 25 and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants”
Israel sometimes kept the Law and sometimes didn’t. Israel became obsessed with the Law and forgot about God. God reminded them that He was their God and they were His people, but they missed the relationship for the religion. Verses 26-30 say,
“But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you27 (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), 28 lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.29 For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.”
We don’t obey the Lord and keep His Law because we are afraid of punishment, we obey Him because we love Him and He loves us. We stand out from the world because our love is obvious, and because loving God causes us to love one another and love others. If we have God’s Spirit, we love what He loves and want what He wants.