James Nisbet Commentary - Leviticus 20:7 - 20:8

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James Nisbet Commentary - Leviticus 20:7 - 20:8

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:


‘Sanctify yourselves.’ … ‘I am the Lord which sanctify you.’


I. Sanctification is God’s aim for us all.—‘God called us, not for uncleanness, but in sanctification.’ We were chosen in Christ, that we should be holy and without blame. We are elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience. Holiness is, therefore, the rule of God’s household; and for a man to call himself a Christian, without being holy, is an anomaly. It must be laid on every believer, stepping into the ranks of the visible Church, that holiness is not a matter of option, but of necessity.

II. Sanctification is a joint work.—On our side, we are graciously inclined and led to desire to be holy, and put our will on God’s side, crying, Bend me, Bend me. We are then called upon to separate ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. We are commanded to put right everything in our lives which will not bear God’s search-light; to abandon every form of amusement and companionship that hinders our better life. But this is only one side of the question of Sanctification.

III. Holiness is not what we are, or do, or give; but what God is, and does, and gives. It is God’s taking possession of us; it is His Presence, by the Holy Spirit, within us. He made the Sabbath holy by resting in it; the Tabernacle holy by filling it; the Bush holy by shining in it; and He will make us holy by entering our hearts, and filling them.


(1) ‘The holiness of saints depends upon no outward condition, requires no special gift of nature or of Providence, of understanding or wisdom, nay, I may say, of grace. It need not be shown in any one form; it does not require the largeness of any one grace; still less does it consist in austere sadness, or stern constraint, or rigid severity as to ourselves or others, except as to our sins. The blessed company of the redeemed saints have and have not found one road to heaven. One road they found, in that they were saved through one Redeemer, looking on to Him and believing in Him before He came or looking to Him when He had come. But all else in their outward lot was different. They were “redeemed to God out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” ’

(2) ‘What comfort there is in the constant assurance, “I am the Lord which sanctify you”; as if His abiding presence were enough to secure the holiness on which He had set His heart. And if for them, how certainly for us? as He has promised to make us blameless, if not faultless, by sanctifying us wholly in spirit, soul, and body.’

(3) “The law of this twentieth as of many other chapters, is enforced on the ground that the Israelites were called to be a holy people. With how great additional force must this apply to Christians. Not only the Israelite, but the stranger also, defiled God’s sanctuary and profaned His holy name by sin. The same thing must be true always; there is no escape from responsibility because one chooses not to acknowledge allegiance to God. The Divine commands still rest upon him. Only he has less help and support in keeping them while he remains aloof from the commonwealth of Israel.’