Leviticus Chapter 12 and Christ

I find it quite interesting that, even before Christ came to be the ultimate sacrifice, God made it as easy as possible for the poor to come to Him, as well as the wealthy, as is illustrated in Leviticus 12:8, if a woman can’t afford a lamb, she is to provide doves or pigeons as sacrifices instead. Why? God doesn’t want to make it hard for us, He wants it to be as easy as possible for us to come to Him, with Satan’s constant manipulation though, it is often us that make it difficult, far more difficult than it actually is.

As happens further in the Bible, the Jews modified and tightened the rules God laid down, and Jesus discussed these often. The same thing happens with Christianity, I’m not particularly directing this at Roman Catholicism, but confessions to priests seems to me to just be complicating the process. I see nothing wrong with having a chat with a priest, pastor, minister, parent, friend, about something that is troubling you or causing you guilt and asking them to pray about it as well, but we don’t need a mediator to talk to God. Christ does that for us and we can talk directly to Him, so why complicate it? It’s like adding an unnecessary middle-man into a company. It can waste time and result in a reduced employee happiness. Similarly, if we aren’t talking directly to Christ (and I’m not saying that Catholics don’t do that too, I’m just using this particular thing as an example), then we lose part of the experience of having a relationship with Him, and it is hard to truly love someone that you don’t have a relationship with.

When writing to the Galatians in chapter 4:19, Paul is in anguish, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you“, as the Galatians are losing faith. I have no doubt at all, that the pain Christ feels as we complicate having a relationship with Him is at minimum far greater than what Paul feels. In Romans 3 through to 6, Paul establishes that while there is law, law and subsequently works are not how we reach Christ, but through faith alone that we are able to develop a relationship with Him. Developing a relationship we are able to love Him.

Paul establishes that while the laws were set out and should be obeyed, they are not how we reach Christ. In reaching Christ though and loving Him, it’s like a relationship with any one we are close to, be it a parent, friend or spouse. We don’t want to upset them or disappoint them, and so in general we will obey them. So while God’s laws may seem oppressive or impossible, once a relationship with and love for Christ is developed, all of a sudden, they become much easier. Of course, no one is without sin and everyone falls again and again, but when we maintain a relationship with someone, we often change to more like the person we are around a lot. So if we are spending lots of time with Christ, we become more Christ-like, and so doing the things that God requests are no longer a chore or restrictive requirement, but something we are happy to do for Him.

Just a clarification that is brought up in the comments:

Another example my original point is where the Jewish leaders created laws surrounding things like how far you could walk on the Sabbath, healing on the Sabbath and other things like this which are not part of God’s law. I am not just targeting one particular thing, I’m talking about man-made religious rules in general that get in our way, complicating things and making it harder for us to develop a relationship with Christ.

4 thoughts on “Leviticus Chapter 12 and Christ”

  1. I have also found it very odd how much, in some religions, the entire point has been pulled further and further away. Over time and different interpretations, and possibly, corruptions, it has changed from being a relationship with Christ, to being a “Saint”. This isn’t just in Catholicism. I have noticed things being distant to this concept in the SDA church as well, on occasion. For example, at Alstonville Church, it almost felt as if, for myself at least, whenever I made a statement they would all silently be judging me and deciding whether I was worthy to be there or not, because I had obviously said something that upset them.
    It is a simple saying… tradition becomes as strong as law.

  2. Greetings! Saw your post in Google Blogsearch and came to read.

    >”I’m not particularly directing this at Roman Catholicism, but confessions to priests seems to me to just be complicating the process.”

    If confessing to priests complicates the process, then why did an all knowing God direct us in scripture to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16) and give men the authoity to forgive sins (John 20:4)? Uually your argument is one raised by sinners that don’t want to face their sins. That may or may not be your situation.

    This also isn’t just a Roman Catholic thing, but confession and the authority to forgive sins exists in all 23 Catholic Churchs (Melkite Catholic, Chaldean Catholic, etc) and all the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Combined, confession and absolution are practiced by about 75% of the worlds Christians.

    Keep in mind that during the earliest days of Christianity, you wouldn’t make a private confession to a priests, but confessed your sins aloud to the assembled congregation. You want simple? That’s simple.

    >”…we don’t need a mediator to talk to God”

    Amen, Catholics fully agree with you. Catholics will tell you that praying contritely removes all venial sins (sin that is not deadly, 1 John 5:16-17) and that a perfect prayer of contrition removes all mortal sins (sin that is deadly, 1 John 5:16-17). Most Catholics say a prayer of contrition before bed for forgiveness of venial sins. As a perfect prayer of contrition is difficult and likely rare, Jesus ordained priests with the authority to foregive sins in His name (John 20:4).

    >”Paul establishes that while there is law, law and subsequently works are not how we reach Christ, but through faith alone that we are able to develop a relationship with Him.”

    No, that’s error. Sounds good and true, but is nonetheless false. Paul never once establishes “faith alone”. No where in Paul’s many writings does “faith alone” even appear. Only James mentions “faith alone” where James says that “faith alone” is dead (non-salvific, James 2:24).

    Are you prepared to argue that I can have faith in Christ, yet hate God and hate my fellow man, and still be saved? Or, do I have to love God and love others to be saved? If I have to love God and others, its clearly not faith alone, but faith and charity which is what is taught in the Epistle of James.

    >”So while God’s laws may seem oppressive or impossible, once a relationship with and love for Christ is developed, all of a sudden, they become much easier.”

    You just described the sacrament of confession.

    God bless… +Timothy

  3. Hi Timothy,

    Thanks for your feedback! It’s great to get some other perspectives!

    In response to your first point, I actually went on to say:

    > “..confessions to priests seems to me to just be complicating the process. I see nothing wrong with having a chat with a priest, pastor, minister, parent, friend, about something…”

    There is nothing wrong with intercessory prayer at all, my intent which perhaps I wasn’t clear on is that when we expect a relationship with Christ without going directly to Him about everything as it happens, like we would a close friend, then it isn’t going to work.

    You mentioned John 20:4 a couple of times, in the NIV that is: “Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.” This doesn’t sound like God giving authority to men to forgive sins. If you could check up on that verse, that would be great! Thanks.

    Why only of forgiveness for venial sins? Venial implies that the sins are only minor and/or accidental. All sins are against God, this is all through the Bible, so why then, if we are truly contrite should we not also directly ask our Lord for forgiveness of all sins, even if we intentionally sinned and are truly repentant, God is merciful. God doesn’t ask us to be perfect, He knows we aren’t, and as I said, there is no reason we can’t ask anyone to intercede and pray for us as well, as in James 5:16, however I see no reason at all not to confess everything directly to Christ. Then, as necessary to request others to pray for us as well.

    You mentioned confessing your sins aloud to the congregation. That can become a great way to minister to people. Once you can establish with them that you are on the same level they are and have been through many similar things and experienced similar difficulties and the like, then God can use those experiences to plant a seed for Him in the hearts of others.

    You take my position on faith out of context.

    In Romans 3:20-31:

    20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

    21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

    27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

    Which is exactly what I am talking about in what you quoted and the paragraph that followed. We reach Christ through faith, then, rather than failing to keep the law, we uphold it and it becomes extremely easy to do so.

    Most of Romans 4 is building on this, as Paul traces faith through history:

    1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    13It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

    16Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.

    18Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

    Chapter 5, Paul goes on to explain our justification through Christ’s death and resurrection, then in chapter 6:

    1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

    11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

    15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

    This is exactly what I am saying, through faith in Christ we are able to develop a relationship with Him. As we develop a relationship with Him, we become quite happy to do as His law states, just like when we develop a relationship with a friend, a parent, a work colleague, potential partner, we are often happy to do things they ask of us. Subsequently, upholding the law becomes much easier. Of course we still fall, we are sinners after all.

    No, I am not prepared to argue that you can hate God and man and still be saved through Christ because that is not what I am saying. I do however believe that you can hate God and man and still be saved if you develop a relationship with Christ and are truly repentant for the hate you once had.

    Again, as I have said, it is not by faith alone that we are saved, it is by faith alone that we are able to develop a relationship with Christ. As that relationship develops, as with any positive relationship, it will result in love for the other party, in this case, our Saviour. As we love Him and spend more time with Him, our behaviour becomes more like His, just like when we are with a particular group of friends a lot, our behaviour becomes similar to theirs. As our behaviour becomes like that of Christ, we find that we are able to love others, and not just the ones we normally do, but our enemies as well much easier and at the same time, because we are becoming more like Christ in our behaviour, we are able to follow the law of God without it seeming impossible.

    You refer to James, and in particular James 2:24 a number of times, I’d like to direct you also to 2:18

    18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

    James 2:14-26 completely compliments the point I am making, but verse 18 just stands out in particular by saying that we show our faith to others by what we do, and that is exactly right.

    Our charge is to minister to the world, to share Christ with them, but that is an empty gesture if we don’t have faith ourselves. If we have faith and don’t share it, then no one will benefit.

    As I have been saying all along, this is simply a by-product of an intimate relationship with Christ, there is no need to focus on it because it happens naturally and by focusing on it it complicates things in an attempt to develop faith through deeds. James doesn’t say that we can develop faith through our deeds, he always refers to faith first and deeds second. Paul says this as well in Romans 4, faith came before the law (the law suggests deeds). Subseqently in the Bible, and history itself, God has placed faith before the law too – as Paul is explaining faith and deeds in Genesis. The Bible agrees with itself in it’s entirety.

    If we don’t believe wholeheartedly in a solution to a problem, how can we honestly try and sell it? If we don’t have faith in and a relationship with Christ, how can we preach it? We can do deeds, but if people can’t see the effect of Christ pouring through our lives and the joy that it results in, how can people believe that we are doing the things God asks us to do because we genuinely love Him?

    Ultimately, it could be said that by faith we are saved, because as a result of our faith we grow in Christ and change and subsequently everything else happens as a result of our faith and our faith and love is shown through everything else.

    To clarify, another example my original point in my blog post is where the Jewish leaders created laws surrounding things like how far you could walk on the Sabbath, healing on the Sabbath and other things like this which are not part of God’s law. I am not just targeting one particular thing, I’m talking about man-made religious rules in general that get in our way and make it harder for us to develop a relationship with Christ.

    Thanks for your feedback Timothy, I hope to hear from you some more. God bless you too.

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