Leviticus 11:27 “And all that walk on their paws, among the animals that go on all fours, are unclean to you. Whoever touches their carcass shall be unclean until the evening.”
Leviticus 12:1 “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, saying, ‘If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days.’”
The Old Testament Law is full of types, i.e., shadows of spiritual truth that God uses to teach us. Above all else the law speaks of sin, i.e., the utter sinfulness of man. As Romans 3:20 puts it, “through the law comes knowledge of sin.” And then this from Galatians 3:10-11: “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.’ Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law.” That’s why any religion based on works is an exercise in futility. And that’s why those who are trusting that they are “as good as the next guy” are hopelessly lost in sin, according to the Bible.
Anyone who thinks that their good outweighs their bad and, on that basis, that they will be assured of heaven are living a delusion, based on what the Bible tells us. For you see, no one has ever or will ever be justified by obeying the Law of God. The Law of God, i.e., the Ten Commandments or anything else in the Old Testament Law, was not meant to provide a way of salvation. Rather, it was to teach us our need for salvation. That’s the message of the Scriptures, over and over again.
Two ways in which this truth is demonstrated in the shadows of the Old Testament are found in the verses above. The first, from Leviticus 11, points to the sin that surrounds us, fills the world we live in, and thereby can impact us as we come into contact with it. Leviticus 11 does this by way of the law of clean and unclean animals. With this law, God directed the Israelites to avoid contact with unclean animals and then He specified which ones were so designated. Among them were some that lived on the land, some of the birds that flew above them, and certain fish that lived in the waters, both freshwater and in the sea. By so doing, the Israelites would have constantly been aware of the “uncleanness” that was around them, for no matter where they looked, they would see “unclean” beasts. And so, the shadow points to the uncleanness, i.e., the sin, that surrounds us in our world. As we are told in Hebrews 12:1, we are to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,” or as another Bible version puts it “that so easily entangles.” Temptations to engage in sin surround us. It’s everywhere we look, be it temptations to lust, temptations for greed, or temptations to be prideful as we brag and puff ourselves up trying to make ourselves look good to others.
But then in Leviticus 12, in the laws regarding childbirth, the Bible gets to the very root of the sin that lurks within us. As David said in his lament over his own wickedness in Psalm 51, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” In the law of Leviticus 12, the Lord was making man aware of this very thing. Rather than childbirth being a wonderful event that brought just one more innocent being into the world, God was teaching that every child that is born – including you and me – is just one more sinner brought into this world. And if you don’t believe this, allow any child to grow up without any discipline or correction and see what will result – an undisciplined, unruly, disobedient child. That’s just the truth of what we are by nature – “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).”
So, what hope is there for any of us? What remedy is there for the sin that surrounds us without and fills our beings within. There is only One hope, but it’s a very great One, i.e., “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)!” Just as God provided a means of cleansing for a woman and her child by way of the sacrifices of the Old Testament Law, God has provided all of us with a sacrifice for our own sin by way of His sinless Son when He sent Him into this world. With this act, and Jesus’ death on the cross “For our sake He (i.e., God the Father) made Him (i.e., God the Son), to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).”
That’s the truth – the truth about our sin, and the truth about the remedy for it, which God has revealed to us all in His wonderful Word. So, do you realize you have a sin problem? You should, because the God Who made you has told you about it in His Word. And if you realize you have a problem, have you gone to the only One who can forgive you? Have you placed your faith in His Son Who died for your sin and my sin on the cross? It’s the gift of God – forgiveness for sin, cleansing from it, and eternal life – for all who will turn around, i.e., turn from their sin, turn to Him, and believe.