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Session 1

God is holy

Read: Leviticus 20:7-8, Exodus 31:13

In fact, God wants you to be different — and not just in personality and personal likes and dislikes. But to understand how each of us are called to be different, we can first see how God is different.

God calls us to be different, set apart for a greater purpose.

One of the names for God is Jehovah-M’Kaddesh, which means “the God who sanctifies” (Leviticus 20:7-8, Exodus 31:13). Sanctification is a big, churchy word that means to set apart or separate. Often, the words holy and hallow are used in place of sanctify. We cannot make ourselves holy, so God did that for us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He calls us to be different, set apart for a greater purpose, like He called the people of Israel to be different from the world around them:

“‘Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them...You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you...I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations” (Leviticus 20:22-25).

Leviticus was a lawbook for the Israelites to follow. It showed God’s people what He was like, who He wanted them to be, and how He wanted them to live. It would have been easy for the Israelites to adopt the practices and beliefs of the surrounding groups: pagan worship, violent laws, human sacrifices, and more. But God wanted the Israelites to be different, not in opposition to those people, but examples of a better way to live in relationships with others and with Him (Leviticus 22-24). He wanted them to be different.

He wants the same thing for us today. Following Jesus is a counter-cultural way of life that invites outsiders to belong and transforms us the closer we are to Him.

Reflect:

  • What does God’s desire to sanctify us (or set us apart for a greater purpose) say about who He is and what He’s like?
  • How does knowing you are set apart by God change the way you act toward yourself or others?
  • What is something you believe God has set you apart to do or accomplish?

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