We Obey God’s Law to Become like Him

“Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” (Lev. 19:2)

Thus the intention of the law is to make the people like their God, and this, too, is the thread of unity running through the splendid diversity of the whole chapter. Fifteen times the laws enunciated are driven home by the words ‘I am the LORD/I am the LORD your God’. Thanks to the translational scruple of representing the divine Name, Yahweh, by the English convention ‘LORD’, this repeated sanction attached to the laws sounds like an assertion of authority: you must do this because, as your Lord, I command it. This is a misunderstanding. What is asserted fifteen times over is not the authority vested in the deity but the revealed nature of Israel’s God, the ‘I am what I am’ of Exodus 3:140-15. Consequently, we can paraphrase the situation in Leviticus 19 like this: ‘You are to obey all these laws, applying the law of the Lord to every detail of life in all its multiplicity, because I am what I am. It is for this reason that I legislate how you are to treat your parents, the disabled, the elderly, the alien, the poor… because I AM WHAT I AM’. In a word, the law is the perceptual replica of the divine nature; by obeying the law the Lord’s people become like him.

Quoted from Motyer, J. A. (2004).  Look to the rock: An Old Testament background to our understanding of Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, Publications, p. 77.

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About adoption through propitiation

I like theology. And I love my wife Katie. Enjoy my blog. View all posts by adoption through propitiation

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