Underneath the rigid and seemingly cruel law of the old testament is a story of love. A story of a God who loves his people and desires a covenant relationship with them. Therefore, he lays out “the Law” as a list of laws that are relatively impossible to follow in order to be in right standing with God. What on the surface seems like a unattainable, is truly beautiful. God knew that these unkeepable commandments showcased the magnitude of the human condition. The Israelites were never good enough to keep his standards, yet he still pursued them. He still had a better plan.
In order for the gospel to be sweet, his people needed the bitter alternative. He calls them to be holy because he knows the only way they could have a relationship with is is if they were on the same level as him. Upon laying out the law, he would say, “... because I am the Lord God who sets you apart.” The Law was their temporary calling to be holy seemingly out of their own will/ works. Lucky for us, we have Jesus who is the ultimate sacrifice and high priest. We are still “called to be holy because he is holy”, but knowing Jesus is the bridge to God (not the Law) makes pursuing holiness easier. Jesus gives us the grace to be called holy, because he has set us apart. Only through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice.
So rejoice, because the law is not valid and our savior came to abolish the impossible standards. We now get to commune with God on a daily basis, without the veil, without bloody sacrifice, and without conditions. We can have all the zeal in the world, because Jesus reigns forever and we’ve been set free!