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Leviticus 4:1-5:13
Leviticus 5:14-6:7

Sin & Guilt Offerings

The Sin Offering (chatta'ah) (Leviticus 4:1-5:13) was a compulsory offering for the covering of sin. It could be an ox, ram, kid, doves, or pigeon or even fine flour depending on the nature of the case. This offering covered sins committed out of weakness or waywardness, unintentionally. It did not cover sins of presumption in defiance of God, or open sins of rebellion. It did not deal with sins in general, but particular sins.

Numbers 15:30-31 reminds us that there was no propitiation for the defiant person. The idea is that of shaking the fist raised up against God. Highhanded sins were not covered, and only the judgment of God could be expected for such acts.

The worshiper brought his animal to the Tabernacle, and in the presence of the priest, he placed his hands on the head of the victim thus identifying himself with his sacrifice. The animal was slain and the blood was sprinkled either on the horns of the great altar or in the Holy Place toward the veil. The fire on the brazen altar consumed the fat. In some instances, the flesh was given to the priests. Unconsumed parts were burned outside the camp.

The Guilt Offering (asam) was similar to the sin offering. The procedure and purpose was much the same, however the guilt offering was a special kind of sin offering. The life of the suffering victim was accepted as a substitute for the life and guilt of the offender. It would appear that the common thread running through the guilt offering was an offense that caused loss to either God or man. The animal made expiation before God for the individual. Restitution was in addition to the sacrifice of the animal. Not only did the offerer have to make restitution, but he had to pay a penalty equal to a fifth part of the value. The worshiper made a personal confession of specific sin that he had committed (5:5). This knowledge brought about a deep sense of guilt and humiliation. Because of his personal knowledge of sin he must obtain forgiveness and make restitution.

Jesus Christ's death on the cross was the full and final sin offering.

 Our sinless Savior voluntarily took upon Himself all our sins that we might have God's perfect righteousness. He was "without sin" (Hebrews 4:15), "holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens" (7:26). The apostle Paul declared, "He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). No wonder Jesus cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me!" (Matthew 27:46).

Christ is our propitiation and our expiation. As our propitiation God's wrath toward sin has been satisfied and turned back by the death of Christ (Romans 5:25; 1 John 2:2; Romans 3:23). As our expiation He covers all our sins and restores the relationship between God and the believer. He removes our sin by the sacrifice of Himself that satisfies God.

Christ "offered up Himself" (Hebrews 7:27). He did this once and for all, never to be repeated like the Aaronic priesthood. His was an all-sufficient sacrifice. No daily sacrifices were needed after He went to the cross and died for us. Jesus Christ "committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (1 Peter 2:22-24). He was the sinless Lamb of God bearing the sins of others. "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness." Peter tells us the same thing Paul was teaching.

In fact, the Hebrew prophet Isaiah preached the same prophetic message in Isaiah 53:4-6, 10.

                    Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
                    And our sorrows He carried;
                    Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
                    Smitten of God, and afflicted.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.

"You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin" (1 John 3:5). The totally pure sinless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, came and died as our sin offering. Christ covers all our sins. Every sin we have committed or ever shall commit is under His blood. His sacrifice on the cross for our sins is all-sufficient. "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit" (1 Peter 3:18). Every sin must be covered in order for us to stand before a holy God. Sins of open rebellion as well as unintentional weakness of the flesh must be atoned for because God is holy. "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (1 John 2:1-2).

The death of Jesus is a satisfactory substitutionary sacrifice to provide forgiveness of all our sins.

However, the appropriation of His death is not universal and not automatic. It is the responsibility of every individual to put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ to save him. God has done everything He can possibly do in order to save you. Christ went to the cross and died for your sins. The Holy Spirit is tugging in your heart, perhaps causing a terrible uneasiness as you read this. He is preparing your heart and mind to receive Christ as your Savior. Take a few moments right now, turn from your sins and unbelief, and believe on Jesus Christ as your Savior. Confess to Him that you need His provision on the cross, that Jesus died for you and trust in His death and resurrection to save you right now. Go ahead, take a few moments now, and thank the LORD God for the perfect sin offering of Jesus Christ Himself on your behalf. Ask Jesus Christ to be your Savior.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) was a rich man who came to Jesus and not only believed on Christ, but also made restitution for his deliberate sinful acts. He stood up and did something which the rich young ruler refused to do in Luke 18:22. Zacchaeus from his own personal volition chose to give half of what he owned to the poor, and repay fourfold all that he had wronged. Here was the evidence that Christ had changed his life. The restitution is always based upon the substitutionary sacrifice for the sinner. Atonement came first, then the restitution. All of the offerings begin with the vicarious sacrifice. A substitute died in the place of another. Because of the atoning sacrifice restitution could then be offered, just as the peace offering demonstrated that peace had already been accomplished through the atonement.

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Title:  Leviticus 4:1-5:13 5:14-6:7 Sin and Guilt Offerings
Series:  Christ in the Old Testament

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2007. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

Unless otherwise noted “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries for ten years. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Honduras.

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