God always places Himself before the attention of the people as the LORD, the God of the covenant with His people. By doing so, He wants them to take on His features and not those of the peoples around them. There is a special warning for the influence of Egypt and Canaan. After the laws with a view to their sacrificial service, the so-called ceremonial laws, God now gives some moral laws with a view to their sexual intercourse.
Egypt represents the world without God. In Egypt is great human wisdom (Acts 7:2222Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.). For the Christian, the danger of Egypt is discussed in the letter to the Colossians. It also warns against wisdom that takes people captive (Col 2:88See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.). The Colossians are in danger of mixing their faith with the wisdom of the world. Paul reminds them that in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:33in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.).
Canaan is the land of blessings that God has given His people. The great danger there is not so much wisdom, culture and science, but the great corruption that reigns there. The Christian is put in the heavenly places, of which Canaan is a picture. But that does not mean that there are no dangers. It is precisely in the letter to the Ephesians, where the blessings of the Christian are described, that strong warning is given for any form of corruption (Eph 4:17-1917So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,18being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;19and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.). Yielding to this corruption means that we will lose the blessings.
The Christian is a new creation, he is “created according to God” (Eph 4:2424and put on the new self [lit man], which in [the likeness of] God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.). He received Christ (Col 2:66Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk in Him,) and learned Christ (Eph 4:2020But you did not learn Christ in this way,). The danger is that we adapt to the world around us in its character of Egypt or in its character of Canaan. Then we no longer show the new, but the old man.
The great contrast we see here is the contrast between the statutes and judgments of the world in its various forms and the statutes and judgments of God. The following of the former means death, the observance of the latter means life.