“If any of the common people sin by violating one of the LORD’s commands, but they don’t realize it, they are still guilty. 28 When they become aware of their sin, they must bring as an offering for their sin a female goat with no defects.”
“You are aware of our sins; you even know about our hidden sins.”
“But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.”
“The one who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses them and forsakes them will find mercy.”
“”For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”
“I did not mean to” is the common plea of our hearts when we are caught in a sin. Somehow we perceive our guilt is lessened if we did not intend to sin. We judge our intentions always in the best light, but our actions betray us. Funny this is, when we perceive someone else’s sin we can be quick to assess their actions and assume the worst in their intentions. We condemn, but we would never want such a judgment upon ourselves.
We are often taken aback when we become aware of sin in our lives. The surprise over the revelation of our sin is possibly due to our inability to recognize our own sin unless the Holy Spirit reveals it to us and our perception of ourselves is biased.
We would rather sanitize our sins with excuses or rationalizations than face the shocking reality that we are guilty. Guilt is heavy and we cannot escape it. It has to be dealt with and our flesh resists accepting the blame.
I confess that Leviticus is not my favorite book of the Bible. Something about blood being splattered left and right for people’s sins is gruesome. But then, so is sin. The progression of the list of unintentional sins committed by various people – the commoner, the leader, the High Priest, the congregation of Israel – at first seems repetitive, but God has a purpose for every word in His word.
All have sinned. All are accountable. No one escapes the gravity and consequences of sin. We all fall short of the glory of God and all must bear the penalty for our sin. I am amazed at how kind God is to show us our sin and to ensure that every sin is covered. Our hidden sins matter just as much as our known sins. God does not want us to be deceived. He wants all to be free from slavery to sin.
Sometimes we really are ignorant that a thought or an action is sinful. God gave us the law to help us understand, but also to cause us to see our need for His salvation. In His incredible mercy, God knew that we often do not see our sin and He fulfilled every law Himself. How different this is from trusting man to cover our sins. A person might be able to sympathize with our shortcomings, but could never pay for them.
When we see sin, there are two different responses. Conviction is different than condemnation. The revelation of sin is oil on our head and a blessing. Even though it hurts, thank God for His mercy in convicting us of sin. Condemnation is judgment without mercy. The enemy loves to accuse us. We are, in fact guilty. No way around it. But the soul who is teachable and receives instruction from the Holy Spirit is no longer under the law, for grace has come to all who will accept it.
His grace is free to all, but came at a great cost. The guilty go free and are proclaimed as innocent, but Jesus did not pay that cost so we could continue in our sin – that would not free us at all. He paid it with His great love and compassion so we could look up from the mud pile we are in, step out of the miry clay and into the grace of God to see and know the greatest joy of this life – Himself.
The moment of the revelation of sin is a crisis we all will face. We might want to resist facing up to our sins and owning them, but that is a miserable occupation. Covering our iniquities with excuses never feels as good as repentance and God’s covering. Give up. We are all caught, whether in a known or hidden sin – caught by the loving arms of God, if we let Him.
Lord, You are worthy of praise! Thank you for showing us our sins, that we might confess them, turn from them, find mercy and know the God of this universe!