We are preparing a Commentary on Leviticus (Christian Focus Publications, Scotland, UK). The following note on Leviticus 19:17-18 seeks to offer a glimpse into the intended pastoral nature of the commentary. We are grateful for your prayers as we prepare this resource for Christian shepherds, small group leaders, Bible teachers, and anyone desiring to read the Scriptures for increased understanding and, we pray, spiritual nourishment.
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:17-18).
In the cure of souls, every physical reality—its presence and function in the human body—has a mirrored existence in the spiritual realm. So, too, the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of physical pathologies have a spiritual reality. For example, we are to love others to glorify God, encourage others, because God’s law in Christ carries Gospel good for ourselves. The heart is the seat of emotions and a prompter of the human will. If one’s heart hardens—a most dangerous condition—this vital spiritual organ cannot expand and retract. The artery of love towards others (Gr. φιλία; En. philía) becomes constricted, healthy emotions are trapped, coagulate, and form a spiritual thrombosis. The grave condition deprives others while killing ourselves. The emergency cure is to repent and believe by appropriating by faith the very nature of God, who loved us while we were yet sinners. The clot will dissolve at the first encounter of the solvent of divine love (ἀγάπη; agápē), and the heart will not only heal but strengthen, while other human beings will, likewise, flourish. This, too, is for God’s glory, and our good.
Milton, Michael A. Called to Holiness: A Commentary on Leviticus (Christian Focus Publications), awaiting publication, 2023.