Leviticus 4:3,12-14,22-23,27-28,31 “‘If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the LORD a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed… that is, all the rest of the bull—he must take outside the camp to a place ceremonially clean, where the ashes are thrown, and burn it there in a wood fire on the ash heap. “‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt and the sin they committed becomes known, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the tent of meeting… “‘When a leader sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the commands of the LORD his God, when he realizes his guilt and the sin he has committed becomes known, he must bring as his offering a male goat without defect… “‘If any member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, when they realize their guilt and the sin they have committed becomes known, they must bring as their offering for the sin they committed a female goat without defect… They shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.
The number and type of offerings God commanded Moses to instruct the Israelites to make for various reasons is truly overwhelming.
However, what a relief it must’ve been for them to know that they had a way to find peace with God! Is that our lesson for today that we can sin but yet make peace with God?
Burnt-offerings and peace-offerings had been offered before the law was given to the Jews by their forefathers on this same mountain, to atone for their sins. This was not really new to them.
However, now the Jews were given a clear way of atoning for sin, specifically by sacrifice, a shadow of things to come, whose fulfillment was in Christ, who by offering Himself for the sin of all mankind, put away sin altogether.
How interesting that God first revealed that the priests, chosen by God Himself, were not free from sin and needed the offering just as much as the common man. Therefore no man was exempt from making peace with God because all were revealed to be with sin.
After the sacrifice, the rest of the animal was to be taken outside the camp and burnt to ashes. This is a sign of the duty of a repentant soul, which needs to put away sin as a detestable thing.
What was done to the sin-offering which became sin for us is what we must do to sin, destroy it! Paul states in Romans 6:6 (NIV, ©2011) ‘For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin’.
Another aspect of this destruction was referred to in Hebrews 13:11-13 (NIV, ©2011) ‘The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore’.
Is it not amazing how the old testament law and sacrifices parallel to the new covenant gifted to us through Jesus Christ?
Sins that we commit are obvious and we can ask God for forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice. However, sins of omission are challenging to deal with because we are not aware of them when we commit them.
How do we deal with it? One of the keys to dealing with all our sins is by praying and asking God to reveal our sinfulness that we might ask His forgiveness for it.
Additionally, we should be held accountable by other believers to whom our lives are laid open for them to speak into it and thereby we can be prayed over and corrected.
Another vital aspect of today’s chapter is for us to recognize that when our sin is revealed to us, to say that we did it ignorantly or by the lure of temptation will not simply spare us if we have no interest in the great suffering that Christ underwent to make peace for our sins.
No sin or sinner is spared condemnation and it is only through the blood of Jesus Christ that our sins are forgiven. We need a heart of repentance and a deep desire to seek peace with God in order for us to make and keep peace with God, our creator, and that is only made possible through a transformed life that Jesus Christ offers us.
As believers in Christ, with frequent self-examination, serious study of the scriptures and fervent prayer that the Holy Spirit would reveal our hearts to us, we can detect our sins of ignorance, repent and be forgiven through the blood of Christ.
In His Loving Service,
Hebrews 13:11-13 (NIV, ©2011) ‘The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore’.