top of page
  • Chad Werkhoven

Leviticus 18 - Uncomfortable Holiness

This chapter will make you squirm, but you must be aware of God's righteous requirements.

Read / Listen

Read Leviticus 18

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 108

Q. What is God’s will for us

in the seventh commandment?

A. God condemns all unchastity.

We should therefore

thoroughly detest it

and, married or single,

live decent and chaste lives.



Leviticus 18 is one of those passages that evokes a host of different responses in people. For some, it confirms their ideas that the Bible is nothing but a book of prudish rules. Others focus on one particular type of sexual relationship prohibited in this passage and are quite angry with those who practice it, but don't seem to care about the way so many other relationships mentioned in this chapter are flaunted. Still others develop elaborate explanations about how these commands were for the people of God way back then, but not now. After all, the God of love must be all for love, no matter how some people choose to express it.

Sadly, most people simply ignore passages like Leviticus 18. It's just uncomfortable and weird. They'd rather just stick to the warm and fuzzy stuff.

Certainly this would not be one of the first chapters we'd go to with a person just learning about Christianity, or to bring comfort to a saint in their dying moments. But yet this passage is critical knowledge for those who wish to live into their citizenship in the kingdom of heaven.

The opening and closing paragraphs underscore the importance of the chaste living this chapter commands. First, as God's people, we must realize that we've been rescued from the defiled and detestable mass of humanity identified by their deviant sexualities, just as God had rescued Israel from the pagan Egyptians and Canaanites.

Since we've been set free in Christ, we have a continuing obligation to "keep the Lord's decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them (v5)." Since we've been made holy in Christ, understanding that 'holy' means separated (Lev. 20:26), we must separate ourselves from worldly sexual ethics and "cut off" those in our number who stubbornly persist in the "detestable things" mentioned in this chapter (v29-30).

Dig Deeper

Unfortunately, Q&A 108 of the Heidelberg Catechism has been the most talked about portion of our Confessions in the Christian Reformed Church these last few years. This is unfortunate, not because the topic of human sexuality ought to be hush-hush or ignored, but because it's become increasingly clear that so many in these conversations - especially those arguing for more acceptance of deviant sexual lifestyles - seem ignorant of or have detached themselves from so many of the other critical Biblical doctrines our Confessions summarize.

In other words, the best way to equip people to come to correct conclusions regarding sexuality is to make sure they have a comprehensive understanding of Christianity.

You need to have a firm grip on the sexual ethics communicated in Leviticus 18, even as uncomfortable and unpopular as what these concepts are in our society. The best way to tighten your grip is to strengthen your understanding of how it is that you've been made holy in Christ and set apart to glorify our God and Father.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father who righteously demands that we keep His requirements;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will understand and live according to God's sexual standards, and that you'll become increasingly aware of what it means to be made holy;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 1 Peter 1


Questions or comments?

Recent Posts:

bottom of page