There is a great concern in Leviticus for cleanliness and purity. There are sacrifices in order to be cleansed from sin and long lists of actions that are clean or unclean. An important role of the levitical priests is to help the people determine clean from unclean. Their job starts to sound like that of a doctor with all the descriptions of examining skin and sores and making appointments for follow up visits. I for one am glad my job description as pastor does not include diagnosing leprosy.
What is fascinating is that there is no great divide between physical cleanliness and what could be called moral cleanliness. God’s law for the priests is concerned with his people being clean in every way. This is not the way we tend to think today. If you were to go to church and hear a sermon about being clean, you might expect it to be entirely about spiritual things, things like prayer and confession, attitudes and motives, sin and morals. But you might be caught off guard if the preacher then spoke about toilet bowl cleaner, vacuuming, drinking enough water, and exercising. That stuff is physical, not spiritual, right? Why would the church care about whether my body or house is in order?
But it is a modern notion to completely cut off the physical from the spiritual. And it is foolishness to think that what we do with the body has no bearing on the spirit. We see in Leviticus that God cares about the wellness of his people in every area of life. And God does the same now. He doesn’t care about just a bit of our life. God cares about all of us, more than we can imagine.
I’m not saying God cares more that you eat wheat grass and work out two hours a day than he does that you love him and love your neighbor. But there is not one inch of our lives, as seemingly insignificant as they may seem in the grand scheme of human history, that our God isn’t concerned about. His love and care extend beyond Sunday mornings and beyond church doors. He follows you into the workplace and in the home, morning, noon, and night.
To be clean is a whole life commitment. This perspective demands more and is difficult, but be comforted knowing that God has always provided ways for forgiveness and cleansing. Ultimately it is only God who can make us clean. By the blood of Jesus Christ are our sins washed way.