“Become holy yourselves in all your conduct.”
1, 2. (a) What is expected of God’s people when it comes to conduct? (b) This article answers what questions?
JEHOVAH inspired the apostle Peter to link the holiness emphasized in the book of Leviticus with the need to be holy in our conduct as Christians. (Read 1 Peter 1:14-16.) “The Holy One,” Jehovah, expects anointed ones and the “other sheep” to do their utmost to become holy in all their conduct
2 Further examination of spiritual gems found in Leviticus will be highly beneficial, and applying what we learn will help us to prove ourselves holy in all our conduct. We will consider such questions as: How should we view compromise? What does Leviticus teach us about upholding Jehovah’s sovereignty? What can we learn from the offering of sacrifices?
BEWARE OF COMPROMISE
3, 4. (a) Why must Christians avoid compromising on Bible laws and principles? (b) Why should we not take vengeance or hold a grudge?
3 If we are to please Jehovah, we must hold firmly to his laws and principles, never adopting an unholy, compromising attitude toward them. Although we are not under the Mosaic Law, its requirements give us insight into what is acceptable or unacceptable in God’s sight. For example, the Israelites were commanded: “You must not take vengeance nor hold a grudge against the sons of your people, and you must love your fellow man as yourself. I am Jehovah.”
4 Jehovah expects us to refrain from taking vengeance, and he wants us to avoid harboring a grudge. (Rom. 12:19) Were we to ignore divine laws and principles, the Devil would be delighted, and we might bring reproach on Jehovah. Even if someone has deliberately hurt us, let us not allow ourselves to be vessels in which resentment is stored. God has given us the privilege of being “earthen vessels” containing the treasure of the ministry. (2 Cor. 4:1, 7) Acidlike resentment does not belong in such vessels!
5. What can we learn from the account of Aaron and the death of his sons? (See opening image.)
5 A heartrending experience for Aaron’s family is recorded at Leviticus 10:1-11. They must have been devastated when fire from heaven consumed Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu at the tabernacle. What a test of faith it was for Aaron and his family not to mourn their dead relatives! Are you personally proving yourself holy with regard to not associating with family members or others who have been disfellowshipped?
6, 7. (a) When deciding whether to participate in a church wedding, what serious points merit our consideration? (See footnote.) (b) How might we reason with non-Witness relatives as to our stand regarding a church wedding?
6 We may not face as severe a test as that experienced by Aaron and his family. But what if we were invited to attend and participate in a church wedding of a non-Witness relative? No explicit Scriptural command forbids us to attend, but are there Bible principles involved in making such a decision? *
7 Our determination to prove ourselves holy to Jehovah under the circumstances just mentioned may puzzle our non-Witness relatives. (1 Pet. 4:3, 4) Of course, we try to avoid offending them, but it is usually best to speak with them in a kind, though straightforward, way. Perhaps this could be done well in advance of the event. We could thank them and say that we are pleased that they invited us to participate in the wedding. Then we might say that because of the religious issues involved, our participation could interfere with the happiness of their special day and might be a source of embarrassment to them and others attending. This is one way that we could avoid compromising our beliefs and faith.
UPHOLD JEHOVAH’S SOVEREIGNTY
8. How does the book of Leviticus highlight Jehovah’s sovereignty?
8 The book of Leviticus highlights Jehovah’s sovereignty. More than 30 times, the laws found in Leviticus are credited to Jehovah. Moses acknowledged this and did what Jehovah commanded him to do. (Lev. 8:4, 5) Likewise, we should always do what our Sovereign, Jehovah, wants us to do. In this regard, we have the support of God’s organization. But a test of faith may come when we are alone, as it did when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. (Luke 4:1-13) If we are focused on God’s sovereignty and we trust in him, nobody can cause us to compromise and be ensnared by cowardly fear.
9. Why are God’s people hated in all nations?
9 As followers of Christ and Witnesses of Jehovah, we are persecuted in nations around the world. This is to be expected, for Jesus told his disciples: “People will hand you over to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name.” (Matt. 24:9) In the face of such hatred, however, we endure in the Kingdom-preaching work and continue to prove ourselves holy before Jehovah. Although we are honest, clean-living, and law-abiding citizens, why are we so hated? (Rom. 13:1-7) Because we have made Jehovah our Sovereign Lord! We render sacred service to “him alone” and will never compromise on his righteous laws and principles.
10. What happened on one occasion when a brother compromised his neutrality?
10 We are also “no part of the world.” Therefore, we are neutral with regard to the world’s wars and political affairs. (Read John 15:18-21; Isaiah 2:4.) Some who made a dedication to God have compromised their neutrality. Many of these individuals have repented and have regained their relationship with our merciful heavenly Father. (Ps. 51:17) A few did not repent. During World War II, for instance, officials gathered 160 of our unjustly incarcerated brothers under 45 years of age from all the prisons in Hungary and assembled them in one town. There they ordered them to take up military service. The faithful brothers remained firm in their refusal, but nine of the group took the military oath and accepted uniforms. Two years later, one who compromised found himself part of a firing squad assigned to execute the faithful Witnesses. His own fleshly brother was among them! As matters turned out, the threatened executions never took place.
OFFER JEHOVAH YOUR BEST
11, 12. How does the way that Jehovah had sacrifices handled in ancient Israel have meaning for Christians today?
11 According to the Mosaic Law, the Israelites were to offer specific sacrifices. (Lev. 9:1-4, 15-21) The sacrifices were to be unblemished because they pointed to Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. Moreover, with each type of offering, or sacrifice, a specific procedure was to be followed. For example, consider what was required of the mother of a newborn child. Leviticus 12:6 states: “When the days of her purification for a son or a daughter are completed, she will bring a young ram in its first year for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to the priest.” God’s requirements were specific, but his loving reasonableness shines radiantly in the Law. If the mother could not afford a sheep, she was allowed to offer two turtledoves or two young pigeons. (Lev. 12:8) Though poor, this worshipper was loved and appreciated just as much as the one bringing a more costly offering. What can we learn from this?
12 The apostle Paul urged fellow believers to offer to God “a sacrifice of praise.” (Heb. 13:15) Our lips should make public declaration to Jehovah’s holy name. Deaf brothers and sisters use sign language to render such praise to God. Housebound Christians praise him by letter writing, telephone witnessing, and preaching to attendants and visitors. Our sacrifice of praise
13. Why should we report our field service activity?
13 Our sacrifices of praise are personal offerings voluntarily made to God because we love him. (Matt. 22:37, 38) But we have been asked to report our activity in the ministry. So, what attitude should we have toward this arrangement? The report we submit each month is connected with our godly devotion. (2 Pet. 1:7) Of course, none of us should feel pressured to devote many hours to the ministry just to be able to turn in a larger report of our share in the field service. That is precisely why a Kingdom publisher who is in a nursing home or who is somehow incapacitated may report field service in 15-minute increments rather than full hours. Jehovah appreciates those minutes as the Kingdom publisher’s best offering and as an expression of love for Him and appreciation for the inestimable privilege of serving as one of His Witnesses. Just like those Israelites whose circumstances did not allow them to offer some of the more expensive sacrifices, Jehovah’s precious servants who have certain limitations can still submit a report. And our individual reports become part of the total world report, which helps the organization to plan ahead for future Kingdom-preaching activity. So, then, is it really asking too much of us that we report our share in the preaching work?
OUR STUDY HABITS AND SACRIFICES OF PRAISE
14. Explain why we should examine our study habits.
14 After considering a few spiritual treasures from Leviticus, you may be thinking, ‘I now have a better understanding of reasons why this book has been included in God’s inspired Word.’ (2 Tim. 3:16) You may now be more determined to prove yourself holy, not only because Jehovah requires it but because he deserves your earnest effort to please him. Perhaps what you have learned about Leviticus in these two articles has increased your desire to dig more deeply into the Scriptures in general. (Read Proverbs 2:1-5.) Examine your study habits prayerfully. You surely want your sacrifices of praise to be acceptable to Jehovah. Do you find that you are allowing television programs, video games, sports activities, or hobbies to distract you and interfere with your spiritual progress? If so, you may find it very beneficial to meditate on certain statements of the apostle Paul that have been recorded in the book of Hebrews.
15, 16. Why was Paul so direct when he wrote to the Hebrew Christians?
15 Paul was very frank when he wrote to his fellow Hebrew Christians. (Read Hebrews 5:7, 11-14.) The apostle did not mince words! He told them that they had “become dull” in their hearing. Why was Paul so forceful, so direct? He was reflecting Jehovah’s love and concern for those Christians who were trying to survive on spiritual milk. Knowing the fundamental doctrines of Christianity is vital. However, “solid food” is needed to promote spiritual growth toward Christian maturity.
16 Instead of progressing to the point of teaching others, the Hebrews needed to have someone teach them. Why? Because they avoided “solid food.” Ask yourself: ‘Do I have the right attitude toward solid spiritual food? Am I taking it in? Or do I shy away from praying and engaging in deep Bible study? If so, might my study habits be part of the problem?’ Not only are we to preach to people but we are to teach them and make disciples.
17, 18. (a) Why should we regularly take in solid spiritual food? (b) With regard to Christian meetings, how may we view the use of alcoholic beverages?
17 Bible study may not be easy for many of us. Of course, Jehovah does not try to motivate his people to study by causing them to have feelings of guilt. Yet, whether we have been dedicated servants of God for years or for a comparatively short time, we should continually take in solid spiritual food. Doing so is essential if we are to pursue a course of holiness.
18 To be holy, we must weigh the Scriptures carefully and do what God asks of us. Consider Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu, who were executed for offering “unauthorized fire,” perhaps while inebriated. (Lev. 10:1, 2) Note what God then told Aaron. (Read Leviticus 10:8-11.) Does that passage mean that we must not drink anything alcoholic before going to a Christian meeting? Think about these points: We are not under the Law. (Rom. 10:4) In some lands, our fellow believers use alcoholic beverages in moderation at meals before attending meetings. Four cups of wine were used at the Passover. When instituting the Memorial, Jesus had his apostles drink wine that represented his blood. (Matt. 26:27) The Bible condemns heavy drinking and drunkenness. (1 Cor. 6:10; 1 Tim. 3:8) And many Christians would feel impelled by their conscience to abstain completely from alcoholic beverages before engaging in any form of sacred service. However, circumstances vary from one country to another, and the important thing is for Christians to “distinguish between the holy thing and the profane” so as to conduct themselves with holiness that pleases God.
19. (a) What should we keep in mind when it comes to family worship and personal study? (b) What are you determined to do when it comes to proving yourself holy?
19 Many spiritual gems await discovery if you dig for them in God’s Word. Use available research tools to enhance your family worship and your personal study. Increase your knowledge of Jehovah and his purposes. Draw ever closer to him. (Jas. 4:8) Pray to God as did the psalmist who sang: “Open my eyes so that I may see clearly the wonderful things from your law.” (Ps. 119:18) Never compromise on Bible laws and principles. Willingly comply with the supreme law of “the Holy One,” Jehovah, and zealously participate in “the holy work of the good news of God.” (1 Pet. 1:15; Rom. 15:16) Prove yourself holy during these turbulent last days. May all of us be holy in our conduct and thus uphold the sovereignty of our holy God, Jehovah.