SBC Banner


Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

September 5, 2018

Leviticus 5:1-6:7

  1. Last week, we began learning about the sin offering. We learned that this offering was for unintentional sins that a person committed. Once a person learned that they had committed a sin, maybe out of ignorance, they were to make a sin offering. In chapter 5, we see a more detailed look at what would constitute an unintentional sin.

  2. Verse 1. Unintentional sins can also include sins of omission. Sins that are wrong because one didn’t do something. In this first verse, the sin is “not speaking up” or failing to share witness testimony. The idea is that a person’s silence allowed for something to happen that might not have happened if they spoke up. The text says that they are held responsible. Silence, when speaking up was called for, is a sin. We get the sense that this was especially true in a judicial matter. An important witness could change the course of the entire trial. Failure to do so could send an innocent person to jail or set a guilty person free. The silence would lead to another unintentional wrong being committed.

  3. Verses 2-6. The idea here is when you become aware of your guilt, quickly confess and make a sacrifice. The point is to recognize your wrong and quickly get right with God. The first unintentional sin could be the touching of something unclean. Things deemed ceremonially unclean were things such as a carcass of an unclean dead animal or a live unclean animal or insect or human uncleanliness. The second thing mentioned was oath making. If a person thoughtlessly made an oath, that was considered a sin. Oaths were contracts or agreements that were legally binding. A person making an oath forced another person to decide based on that oath. It was highly inconsiderate to cause another person to make a commitment when one is not ready to make a commitment. It was easy to sin unintentionally, but once one became aware of their uncleanness, they were to bring a sacrifice to the priest to offer to the Lord.

  4. Verses 7-13. The one who cannot afford to sacrifice a lamb or a goat is allowed to sacrifice two turtledoves or two pigeons. The one who is so poor as not to be able to afford two birds is allowed, in verses l1-13, to offer a small quantity of grain. Thus, while not everyone could afford a Peace Offering, everyone was afforded the opportunity to make a Sin Offering. How gracious.

  5. Verses 14-19. The next offering was the guilt offering. This offering has two parts. Sins against God and sins against your neighbor. Both are sins against God. The sins against God all required a sacrifice of a ram without defect and some silver. The first part of sinning against God had to do with the holy things. This could be using frankincense for other uses or eating some bread that was supposed to be offered as a sacrifice. Eating a lamb that was supposed to be offered as a sacrifice. If this happened, the person was to make a sacrifice. If they accidently ate an offering that was to be used of as a guilt offering, they had to make restitution with 20% interest. The second unintentional sin was breaking a command a person didn‘t know was a command. Even though it was unintentional, they were still guilty of wrongdoing against the lord. The good news is that they could be forgiven with a sacrifice.

  6. Chapter 6. Verses 1-7. God required offerings whenever a person deceived another about a deposit or a pledge, committed robbery or fraud, lied about lost property that had been found, or swore falsely about a matter (Lev. 6:2-3). It was not a fine imposed by a court of law, by a reparation offered by perpetrators who got away with the offense, but who then felt guilty later when they came to “realize” their guilt (Lev. 6:4-5). Repentance by the sinner, not prosecution by the authorities, is the basis of the guilt offering. The guilt offering calls for the remorseful sinner to return what was wrongfully taken plus 20 percent (l.ev.6:4-5). Only after settling the matter on a human level may the sinner receive forgiveness from God by presenting an animal to the priest for sacrifice (Lev. 6:6-7). The guilt offering uniquely emphasizes several principles about healing personal relationships that have been damaged by financial abuse.

    1. Mere apology is not enough to right the wrong, and neither is full restoration for what was taken. In addition, something akin to today’s concept of punitive damages was added. But with guilt offerings--unlike court-ordered punitive damages»--offenders willingly take on a share of the harm themselves, thereby sharing in the distress they caused the victim.

    2. Doing all that is required to right a wrong against another person is not only fair for the offended, but it is also good for the offender. The guilt offering recognizes the torment that seizes the conscience of those who become aware of their crime and its damaging effects. It then provides a way for the guilty to deal more fully with the matter, bringing a measure of closure and peace. This offering expresses Gods mercy in that the pain and hurt is neutralized so as not to fester and erupt into violence or more serious offenses. It also extinguishes the need for the victim {or the victim’s family) to take matters into their own hands to exact restitution.

    3. Nothing in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross releases the people of God today from the need for making restitution. Jesus taught his disciples, “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23-24). Loving our neighbors as ourselves lies at the heart of the law's requirements (Lev. 19:18 as quoted in Rom. 13:9), and making restitution is an essential expression of any genuine kind of love. Jesus granted salvation to the rich tax collector Zacchaeus who offered more restitution than the law required, lifting him up as an example of those who truly understood forgiveness (Luke 19:1-10).

    4. Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:23-24 also teach us that doing everything in our power to reconcile with people is an essential aspect of getting things right with God and living in peace wherever possible. Receiving forgiveness from God goes beyond, hut does not replace, our making restitution, where possible, to those whom we have harmed. In response to God’s forgiveness of us, our hearts are moved to do everything we can to reverse the harm we have caused to others. Seldom will we have the ability to fully undo the damage our sin has caused, yet the love of Christ impels us to do as much as we are able.

    5. The guilt offering is a potent reminder that God does not exercise his right of forgiveness at the expense of people harmed by our misdeeds. He does not offer us psychological release from our guilt as a cheap substitute for making right the damage and hurt we have caused.

click here to select another lesson