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The Sin and Trespass-Offerings,
Gospel in Leviticus? Chapter 4
Leviticus Ch. 4, 5, 6
In this life on Earth, the Christian is subject to Sins of Weakness . . . These haunting and persistent shortcomings are SINS . . . Their guilt is chalked up in the Bank of the offender . . . The remedy for them . . . Different lessons.
It has been very correctly found, that in doctrinal substance, the first three chapters of the Book of Leviticus closely resemble the first Chapter of First John. They both describe the universal sinfulness of mankind, and point to the ONLY Remedy for sin . . . that being "eternal life" which was/is clearly revealed ONLY in Christ Jesus, and declaring unto us the ONLY Way of peace, "that our joy might be full."
But no less do Chapters 4,5 and 6 of Leviticus resemble the second Chapter of First John. The first three chapters show the way to a relationship with God, and to fulness of joy in Christ Jesus, the following three chapters were written "that we sin not, because our sins are forgiven us for his sake" (1 John 2:12). If the former presents the sinner justified, sanctified and happy in believing; these Chapters now, with equal beauty and clearness, reveal him in what tells of a life consecrated to the LORD. We see the offender in humble confession and penitence laying his hand on the head of the atoning Lamb, thus obtaining release from his past sins; then gratefully offering himself a living sacrifice (Rom.12:1), in return for his deliverance . . . then joining with others in a rich feast upon the provisions of redeeming love. We are now called upon to consider him in connection with those weaknesses and infirmities which still cling to him even in his justified and consecrated estate.
With all the experiences which we have considered so far, man is still a sinner, surrounded by a perverse and troublesome world. Even though pardon has been obtained, he has not yet escaped from ALL sin’s influences and effects. A soul is joyous in the first stages of reconciliation and is filled with passionate zeal, but is most likely to think that his victory is complete. It is so full of God's glory and the Saviour's love, that it sees no lack and no possibility of coming down to sin again. Sometimes it seems that God brings us so near to Him, and into such a wonderful fellowship with Himself and His Son, that we feel ourselves far beyond all the power of evil or temptation, and incapable of bad affections which can so easily damage our peace. Not so, we are always in the path of one temptation or another!
When the ancient Hebrews had gotten safely out of the land of their oppression; and when they saw the strength and pride of their proud pursuers destroyed in the sea (Ex.14:28-31); they thought they were free; it brought about joyous celebrating. Ex.15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. (KJV)
It was the right thing to do . . . the occasion called for it . . . but their troubles were not over yet. Some that now overflowed with joy, would very soon be murmuring in bitter complaint. Pharoah and his hosts were gone; but Amalek remained. The hard masters of Egypt were gone; but a Korah, Dathan, and Abirim (Num.16), were among them. The brick-yards had been left behind, but the guile and treachery of Balak (Num.22), lie ahead. They had been triumphantly delivered; but they were by no means near or established in their final rest.
And so, it was the man rejoicing in his first experience of the redeeming grace of God. He may feel as if Heaven itself had come down to him, or as if no powers of death or hell could ever shake his faith, or cast a suspicion on his love for God; but a sinner is nothing but a poor frail erring child. To his burnt-offering for past guilt, and his meat-offering of personal consecration, and his peace-offering of communion with God, he must yet add his sin-offering for failings through ignorance, and his trespass-offering for his defections in charity.
(1). Consider some lingering defilements and trespasses clinging to man, even though he be justified, consecrated, and in fellowship with God. The first point of doctrine is that the most firm and cautious Christian has roots of evil still in him, even though there may be times and seasons when their existence is neither felt nor suspected. By the converting grace of God, and the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, the reign of sin is broken in every believer's soul, and its oppressive power overthrown, and at times may seem completely dead. He may be so captivated with the LORD that he does not feel or know that there is treachery in his heart. Dear one, with all his efforts, prayers, and joys, the best Christian still has faults. We should consider Paul’s words: Rom. 7:17-20 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (KJV) . . . If Jesus did not always make intercession for us, we could not stand firm, NOT even one single day. The reason that we are acquitted before God is that our "sins are not imputed to us" (Eph.1:7). The Blood of Christ comes between us and the Law, and because of the Blood of Jesus we are declared not guilty in the courts of Heaven. If it were not for the benefit that precious Blood (1 Pet.1:18-19), made afresh for us each day, we would be open to condemnation, and could not be saved. The fact that Christ Jesus is in Heaven, continually offering and pleading His atoning Blood on our behalf . . . and always intervening for us, is proof that we constantly need His Cleansing Blood applied to us because we are NOT perfectly sinless. If we were not continual sinners, we would not need continuous atonement.
I also know that: 1 Jn 3:9-10 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (KJV)
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s Seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born again. The Holy Spirit will not allow it! He will convict us of sin!
Jesus said we MUST be “born again” (Jn.3:7). We must be born into God’s family (spiritually). And anyone who is ‘born of God’ will NOT make a habit of sinning. The moment we are ‘born again’ God graciously grants His Holy Spirit to us (His Seed). The Spirit remains in us and will convict our hearts when we sin. If you have been born again, you have a divine nature that is disgusted every time you sin. We can know who is a child of God and who belongs to Satan (1 John 3:10). Whoever is willingly living a life of sin and does not love his brother shows that he is NOT in God’s family.
In God’s eyes, there are only two families in the world today: #1. The children of God. #2. The children of the devil. And there are only two destinations for those two families. God plainly states in Mat.25:41, that He made Hell “for the devil and his angels” (and all who follow him). Heaven (which is God’s Home) is for God’s children (John 14:2-3; 1 Pet.1:4). Not one, not even one, who is NOT God’s child, will ever enter Heaven. The doctrine that everyone will go to Heaven is NOT what the Bible teaches. This damnable heresy of Universalism will take you to Hell!
If you do not belong to God’s family, it is not too late for you. God holds out the GIFT of eternal life to you today. That life is in His Son, and ONLY His Son! Reach out and accept that irreplaceable Gift! (Jn.3:15-18,36; 5:24; 8:24; 14:6; 1 Pet.1:4). My friend, you can access Heaven ONLY through Jesus! John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (KJV)
A TRUE Christian must put off the old man with his deeds, because all our intentions, purposes and desires are now directed to obedience to God and purity. The shed Blood of our Redeemer renews the spirit of our mind (Eph.4:23). We become haters of sin, so that the old man of sin cannot live any longer. We can no longer consent to sin for a moment. Our new experiences have made sin our perpetual foe, so in this sense it is impossible for a Christian to sin. 1 John 3:9-10 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.(KJV)
TRUE Christians have a renewed nature that is opposed to all known wrong. If this is not so, the person is not born of God (1 John 3:9, 18; 4:7). But . . . this does NOT prove, that no imperfections shall ever occur in his life, or no defects attach to his actions. Even though a good man is totally opposed to sin, and he has no more fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph.5:11), he is still prone to every day lacks and failings, and the devil’s temptations which would undo him . . . were it not for the pleadings of His Saviour. Even though his face and heart are fully turned away from sin, he could well be "overtaken by a fault" (Gal.6:1). The apostle John, tells us: 1 Johnn 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (KJV)
Let men speculate as they please, when we come to inspect earthly goodness in the light of Heaven, we shall find ourselves just where James places us when he says, "In many things we all offend" (Jam.3:3).
(2). These lingering imperfections and defects are real sins. This is the second point of doctrine which I bring about from these chapters. People are inclined to think that an offence committed unintentionally or unaware, cannot incur the charge of guilt. Men do not hesitate to plead their ignorance, their infirmities, their natural and habitual propensities, as an excuse for their wrongs.
Lev.4:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them: (KJV)
If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments, he must bring his sin-offering, and atone for his sin by blood, the same as for those old willful transgressions in which he once lived. If a man becomes contaminated, even though it should be through accident, or commits any of those things which are forbidden: Lev.5:17 And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity. (KJV) A sinner can only be cleansed and delivered by atoning blood. So saith the LORD, and NO man can annul it.
There are groups of people who try to make a difference, or categorize sin, for instance, the Catholics. They say that while some are mortal, and carry after them the certain judgment of God, others are only venial (forgivable), and are simply mere imperfections, to which God attaches no serious guilt. THAT is NOT what Almighty God says in His Holy Book! NO where do I find ANY such distinctions in the Word of God. Sin is sin; and guilt is a part of its essential nature whenever or wherever it is found. TRUE, in their effects on the perpetrator, or in their influences on society, some sins are worse than others; but in their relations to God and His Holy Law, sin is always the same, always evil, repulsive and critical. Men (or cults) may talk and teach of "little sins;" but God never does. It is not as wicked to sin only in ignorance and infirmity, as to sin knowingly, intentionally and presumptuously; but to sin in any way, needs to be atoned for by the shedding of blood. All sin therefore is basically worldly. And there is not a Christian on Earth, no matter how eminent, who does not, every day he lives, accumulate guilt enough to ruin him forever, were it not that he has: 1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (KJV)
All this portrays the rites of the sin and trespass offerings now under consideration. As to sins of ignorance, if the guilty party were a priest, he was to offer "a young bullock;" if a judge or magistrate, he was to offer "a kid of the goats," of the male kind; if one of "the common people," he was to offer "a kid of the goats," of the female kind, or a lamb. And in the case of trespass, the guilty one was to offer "a lamb or kid;" or, if poor, two doves or young pigeons; or, if poor, and unable to procure the doves or pigeons, an offering of fine flour might be substituted as the representative of the animal or bird which could not be obtained, but was to be looked upon, not as a meat-offering, but as a "sin-offering," the same as if it were a living animal. These offerings were then to be slain and burned, and their blood presented as the only adequate redemption. From the nature of the sin-offering, we learn how God estimates the offence. Even though committed in ignorance, or no more than a trespass, or an accidental contamination, it required blood and sacrifice to cover it.
Many may be offended with these continual displays of blood. And there are those of a doubtful mind who cry out against the ceremonial slaughter and burning, as unworthy of God and repulsive to man. They are shocked at it, and cast away from them the Book that prescribes it, and the God who agrees to it. But. Of this one thing, rest assured, it is not so much the rites themselves with which such people are offended, as GOD in those rites. "The carnal mind is enmity against God," and wherever He shows His Holy Authority, there is an immediate revolt to that carnal mind, and it draws back, reviles and blasphemes. If the heart is right, God's appointments will be right, beautiful, impressive and good. It is in sinful man where the fault lies, NOT in God, NOT in the appointments of God, but in GOD Himself!
Although there be a constant repetition of blood, it is of enormous importance. It tells of guilt, and of death and ruin deserved by that guilt. It tells of our condemnation, and of the way in which that condemnation is removed in Christ Jesus. It shows us the awful penalty which we have incurred, and how our Saviour undertook to bear it in His Own Body on that horrid cross. And when we see our Creator, Almighty God annexing these bloody compensations to sins of ignorance, accidental contaminations and trespasses against the law of love, we see and know that these are really sins from which we never could be saved, were it not for the ever-effective Blood of that Lamb of God who was slain for us.
(3). There is a noticeable gradation in these sins of ignorance. Although they all are sins, so that only blood can atone for them, they are more serious and offensive in some persons than in others. When a priest or ruler sinned in this way, a much more valuable sacrifice was required than when one of the common people that sinned. The more prominent and dignified the person offending, the more obvious was the offence.
There is a very serious increase of responsibility that goes along with those holding a high office. The need and obligation for greater care and attention goes along with every official person, for they are responsible far beyond a common individual, because his office or station represents others beside himself. A parent is accountable for a child, because he acts for, influences and represents the child. A pastor is responsible for his congregation, because he acts for, influences, and represents those who attend his church. A judge or ruler is responsible beyond the ordinary subject, because he acts for, influences and represents those who are under his jurisdiction and legislation. And among the Jews, the priest was the most responsible of all, because he was the most exalted man of all the people, acting for, influencing, and representing them to a greater extent, and in more important matters, than any other official of the nation. An error in him, was the same as an error of the whole nation, for he represented the whole nation; and his fault could only be atoned for by a sacrifice which was required of the whole nation's sin. It would be similar to the president of the United States, being responsible for the whole nation.
A sin in a public man is a sin to the sinning of others; and is aggravated . . . (1), because he should understand his office and know its duties, before entering it; and, (2), because it is an example and pattern which will be copied by others, and be thought right because of its greatness. Public characters will be copied by others, weaker hands will imitate to every letter, and curve, and line, and dot; and IF the COPY is wrong, all the imitations are wrong, because the public official is wrong!
A sin in high life is a greater offence than the same kind of sin in the common person. It is committed under more solemn responsibilities, and it requires a heavier atonement.
Some people are very excited and ambitious for a high place. They want to be visible, influential and prominent. They covet that office. They long for power. They will do almost anything for an exalted position. But rarely do they ever really consider the increased responsibilities that are involved in the fulfilment of their desires. There are some who seem to consider office a full license for them to do just as they please. They never think of how God looks upon those invested with public influence and trust. A mistake in them is NOT a common offence in God’s Eyes! Abuse of power is a sin more aggravated than ordinary sins. What in other men might be considered minor, in these people in power, are held to a unbending accountability. Let public men consider this, and tremble when they lay hold of the helm of power. Office is a solemn and awful thing. It is a significant trust. It is a fearful charge. And it is to be entered into respectfully, discreetly and in the fear (reverence) of God.
(4). But while we are considering the defects and failings that are found in the Christian life, we must not overlook the main point of the text . . . there is an adequate remedy for them.
Catholics say that the protestant religion, makes no provision for sins after baptism. How utterly ridiculous! How Satan blinds people’s eyes to the truth! There most certainly is a remedy for sins after baptism, and it is the same as for sins BEFORE baptism. We have a great ATONING SACRIFICE, provided by Almighty God Himself . . . to which we may always take to ourselves in remorse, and where we can find full salvation. For so it is written: 1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (KJV)
When the cleansed and consecrated Jew sinned through ignorance after his consecration; or through accident, carelessness or infirmity, and became contaminated after his cleansing; there was a plain way for him to get back again to his former purity; and that way was the same way by which he secured forgiveness at the beginning. He had to return to the same bloody sacrifice which he had offered the first time. The chief of the herd or of the flock had to die and burn, and have its blood put upon the horns of the altar. Its fat, and its kidneys, and the caul of its liver, had to be laid upon the fire; and every remaining part had to be carried forth without the camp unto a clean place, and consumed there in the place of ashes. What did all this mean? Heb. 10:1-4 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. (KJV)
Since the blood of bulls and of goats could NOT make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; why then, were the animals killed? The writer explains, it was a shadow of good things to come. It pointed to a holy sanctification 'with better sacrifices than these." It was God looking forward to the way of forgiveness in Christ. Heb. 13:11-12 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. 12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. (KJV)
Away from the holy place, driven from the mercy-seat, beyond the bounds of the holy city, on Calvary's hill, outcast and forsaken, the criminal's veil hung over our LORD Jesus for three hours of darkness (Luke 23:44), a spectacle to all that passed by, his face more marred than the face of any man (Isa.52:14).
Let us consider Him in those heartbreaking scenes. Let us see Him in those awful fires as suffering for us. Let us repentantly stretch forth our hand of faith, and lay it on His devoted Head. Let us consider the mysterious transactions of payment for our debts, His paying the penalty for OUR sins. If we have sinned, this secures our forgiveness. If we have offended, this cancels all our guilt. If we are defiled, this purifies us, and makes us clean. If we are deficient and undeserving, this covers anything we may lack. In our Lamb we have forgiveness and pardon, not only for one time to cancel the past debt, but forever . . . a pardon that flows without interruption or fatigue . . . a pardon that is always fresh and always there for us, as often as our sin-burdened soul will cast itself anew upon its Saviour.
Catholicism’s "No provision for sins after baptism!" That is ridiculous and false! How little must they know of the resources of those who take the Bible for their Guide. Christ Jesus' infinite atonement is NOT a shallow thing, that the first draw of the sinner upon it drains its virtue, leaving all following sins to be disposed of by the wicked mockery of confession to a priest, who himself is a sinner. The false doctrine of purgatory (NOT found once in the Bible), and the mumbled, repeated prayers of man-made priests? Mat. 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (KJV) . . . Dear one, we are told by God in His Most Holy Book: Heb. 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (KJV)
Is there not enough virtue in Christ Jesus to cover a few sins of ignorance and infirmity in our Christian life? Is our precious LORD Jesus just a priest of a typical economy, with the mere blood of beasts upon His Fingers, obtaining a full remission for the Jew? NO! He is our Great High Priest in Heaven, at God’s Right Hand (Rom.8:34; Heb.12:2),
He bears the scars of deadly wounds He endured for us . . . He is well able to secure mercy for ALL the struggling saints of God, who, in hours of surprise or weakness become entangled again in guilt, of which they whole-heartedly repented the moment it was done. O, foolish people, how serious it is to forget, that "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin?" (1 John 1:7). We have God’s Holy Word . . . we do NOT need any pontifical absolutions, no penal inflictions, no purgatorial fires, to make us acceptable to God. We KNOW that Jesus has entered Heaven as our Surety and Advocate. We KNOW that He pleads our cause there. What more could we ask? 1 John 2:1-3 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. (KJV)
Let us reflect:
(1). God's Law is holy! It reveals guilt, not only in the sins which are deliberate, known and presumptuous; but also in the mistakes of ignorance, contaminations by accident and the short-comings of even the holiest saints.
It detects and marks sin, for which ONLY the death of Christ Jesus alone can atone. This law was written by Almighty God Himself. How fearsome is His Holiness! How terrible is His watchfulness of sin! We should consider the prayerless and the wicked, that they should stand in His sight, when even the small failings that cleave to His best saints are so offensive to Him that only can to be purged by blood! Only a fool thinks lightly of sin, and worse . . . sometimes, some even think sin is sweet . . . these do NOT consider the wounds and agonies of Jesus on the cross! ALL sin is ugly, even in its lightest or smallest form, which show up in Heaven, and awakens anger in the very Heart of God. God CANNOT look upon sin with any degree of allowance. Well may the seraphs sing, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts!"
(2). WHY should we cultivate the modest virtues of Christian life? The answer is so that we can be realistic in our affectations, humble in our spirit, charitable in our criticisms, forgiving when injured, compassionate to those who offend us, forceful when we examine ourself, honest in our repentance, watchful in our walk, constant in our prayers, and anxious to be firmly rooted and grounded in the true faith.
I don’t care how good we may be, we are still great offenders, and much worse than we think we are. Every time we search and weigh ourselves, we find new inadequacies, and find new sins come to light where we never expected them to be. If we could see ourselves . . . as God sees us, and assess our goodness as it stands in the eye of His pure Law, it would make us sick! Each new day simply adds new corruption to us, which calls for new forgiveness. We must consider just how valuable the grace of God in Christ Jesus is! We sin every day. Nothing we do is done as well as it should be. And now, my dreaded shortcoming . . . when we pray, it is often without emotion, with thoughts wandering off into the wide blue yonder! If we hear, it is with clouded and forgetful minds. We are constantly turned aside by the continual flow of temptation that strives to make us forget to stand firm in our faith. We fall far short of convicting ourselves of any deliberate sin . . . and even at our best, our righteousness is NOTHING, and our imperfections countless. But even in all this, we do have a remedy. Since we sin daily and hourly, our God has provided a daily and hourly forgiveness. Our Priest is forever in the Temple, and we do have an Advocate with the Father, and His intercessions never cease. Our Lamb is always before God.
If we have innocently or unintentionally offended, we simply have to return to His Offering on Calvary, and His sufferings without the gate, and vengeance is stayed, forgiveness is complete, and we are still the children and heirs of God. Dear one, we sinners have precious mercy in Christ Jesus! We simply need only come in sight of the cross, and our load is gratefully removed. Let us look upon the Face of our meek, loving Sufferer, as our LORD, and our sins, though great or many, are remembered against us no more (Heb.8:12; 10:12). Let us come before Him kneeling, let us look, pray, trust and stand firm in our faith! In the shadow of the cross let us build our tabernacle, and with heart-felt love, say, "Here is where I will dwell."
Moses clearly brings the GOSPEL in the Book of Leviticus!
He brings us a crystal-clear picture of Jesus!
The Gospel most certainly is in Leviticus.
Is the Gospel in the Book of Leviticus? YES, it is!!!
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