The problem with sin
Sin is a problem that cannot just be swept underneath a rug or explained away. Sin needs to be dealt with. When we confess, repent and turn from our sins we are no longer condemned by them. And we who were once separated from God are accepted not by our own merit, but by His grace.
Acceptance follows obedience.
We learn about the need to be accepted and made right with God are back in the book of Leviticus today, 5-8.
Remember last week we mentioned that if we sin by accident, it is still a sin that needs to be covered? This is the sin offering we see at the beginning of chapter 4. From Chapter 4:1 to 5:13 we see the sin offering and in Chapter 5:14-19 the guilt offering
Difference between a sin and a guilt offering
“What is the difference between sin and guilt offerings in Leviticus 4:1 to 6:7? Here are two different ways theologians have described it. Most Bible students agree with the second one. One way to understand it is this. The sin offering refers to original sin. The guilt offering refers to actual sin. When we are born, we all have original sin. It is a result of Adam’s original sin in Genesis chapter 3.
Sinning by accident is still sin.
So, we sin without thought about what we are doing. We sin ‘by accident’. We may not even realize that we have not obeyed God’s commands. Actual sin is when we choose to sin. We know that we are doing something wrong. The guilt offering in Leviticus 5:14 to 6:7 is for actual sin. The sin offering in chapter 4:1 to 5:13 is for original sin.
Notice that the offerings in Leviticus chapters 1, 2 and 3 are not about sin. They bring the offeror into fellowship with God. As a result, he or she is able to worship God. But if the offeror worries about sin, these two offerings in Leviticus chapters 4, 5 and 6 will comfort him or her. (From ‘The Law of the Offerings’, by Andrew Jukes.)
Intentional or unintentional sins need to be covered.
Another way to understand it is this. The sin offering is for something that does not hurt people. But the guilt offering is different. It is for sins that have hurt people. This is true even if the sinner did not intend to hurt people. So the guilt offering includes money to pay to the person that the sinner has hurt.” (From The Easy English Bible Commentary)
The Hermeneutics Exchange provides some insight to the sin and guilt offering, as well:
“In order to distinguish between the sin offering and the guilt offering, we need to recognize the differences between the two.
The sin offering
The sin offering seems to have dealt with any unintentional violation of the first five commandments which governed man’s relation to God.
The Guilt Offering
The guilt offering was for matters of uncleanness whether intentional or unintentional. It was also for intentional sins against one’s neighbor. This was more applicable to the last five commandments which governed man’s relationship to man.
This is specifically dealt with in 6:1, for the person who refused to testify to what one had seen or heard in a criminal matter. “Now if a person sins after he hears a public adjuration to testify when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.” 6:1. Whether one refused to testify against someone who was guilty of a crime or, if he refused to testify to a person’s innocence, in either case, justice has been denied.
“You shall not covet.”” From a hermeneutical exchange (https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/38073/differences-between-sin-offering-and-guilt-offering-mentioned-in-the-bible-gui),
So in Chapter 5, we learn about cases requiring a sin offering.
The focus of the sin offering is cleansing. The focus of the guilt offering is the need for payment.
We understand today about the need to wash our hands in the midst of this pandemic, but it might seem odd to us that it was a sin if the people touched anything unclean. An unclean carcass in v.2, or human uncleanness in v. 3
Gotquestions.org had this to say about uncleanness:
“Being unclean according to the Law was not synonymous with being sinful. The Old Testament Law speaks of two kinds of uncleanness—moral and ceremonial. Moral uncleanness was caused by immoral acts such as those listed in Leviticus 20:10–21, with punishments ranging from childlessness to death. The “impurity” caused by marital sex, for example, was of the ceremonial kind and carried no punishment. An unclean person had to avoid touching holy things and follow the Law’s instructions to return to a state of cleanness.”
Leviticus 5:5 reminds us of a basic principle of sin, old or new testament:
“If someone incurs guilt in one of these cases, he is to confess he has committed that sin.”
The problem with sin is covered when we confess our sins.
We need to confess our sin—admit it in order to be free from it. The priest would make atonement after a person confessed their sin and brought a guilt offering. Today Jesus made atonement on our behalf
For the remainder of our reading today, in chapter 6:8 to 7:21 it provides rules about the offerings. Chapter 7:22-38 provides rules about blood, and rules for the priests. In chapter 8 it is about the *ordination of priests
In Leviticus 8:23-24, The English Bible Commentary had this to say:
Notice that Moses puts blood on three important parts of the priests’ bodies.
· The priest’s ear: he must always listen to what God is saying to him. May we be doers and hearers of God’s word.
· The priest’s hand: he must always do what God wants him to do.
· The priest’s foot: he must always go where God tells him to go.
1 Peter 2:9 tells us that all Christians are priests. All Christians must therefore use their ears, hands and feet for Jesus. Notice also that the blood touches the priests and the altar. Therefore it linked the priests with their job. Their job was to help people come to God. That is still the job of a Christian.
1 Peter 2:9 NIV: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Bringing this to today, what is sin?
Sin is a transgression against God’s law.
1 John 3:4 English Standard Version
“4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.”
Sin is open rebellion against God
Joshua 1:18 English Standard Version
“18 Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”
There are consequences when we sin. It separates us from God and punishment is coming.
Jesus paid it all, friends.
We see the grim reality of what our sin costs by looking at these sacrifices and ultimately by looking at Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
Scripture of the Day: Leviticus 8:34
“34 Everything we have done today was commanded by the Lord in order to purify you, making you right with him.”
This is the point of it all, isn’t it? That we would be right with God. The whole Bible narrative points to God’s redemption of mankind – that we would be made right with God. We might think we can do that on our own but we can’t. The One who made and rules the world and made every person is the One who determines whether or not we are accepted. This flies in the face of the thinking that everyone is accepted automatically.
Acceptance follows obedience.
Genesis reminds us of this, “Do what is right and you will be accepted”.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day #169:Leviticus 5-8
Scripture of the Day: Leviticus 8:34
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