Leviticus 4 talks about sin. God knows the people are committing it, and now there is a way to atone for it – the sin offering. To this point we have seen burnt offerings, meat offerings, peace offerings but now we have the law and people fail to live in obedience. That creates a problem and the wages of sin are death. Interestingly, the sin addressed in this chapter is one of unintentionality. There are really four different groups addressed here, and each time the reference to sinning unintentionally.
Sin comes in a few flavors. There is the sin of commission which means doing something you know is wrong. Then there is the sin of omission which means not doing something you supposed to. These can happen intentionally by an act of the will, or they can happen unintentionally because someone is not paying attention or just plain missed the memo. Ignorance is not an excuse, in other words. God’s law applies to every person equally. There are no excuses or escapes. Obedience, complete and absolute, are the only standard that is acceptable.
So who gets called out here about sin? There are four groups described:
- “anyone sins
- the whole congregation of Israel sins
- a leader sins
- anyone of the common people sins”
These come in different flavors – some knew it, some didn’t – but one thing in common is that they all sinned. And they all needed to bring a sacrifice to deal with their sin. The impact of sin is significant. When a leader sins it can cause the entire camp to be led astray. How we live matters to God. He has a standard for life and living. We don’t get a free pass – we need to live His way.
So what does this mean to us? There is no more sacrificing going on in churches today like this. Sin still happens. You and I are both guilty. And sin still has a price on it – if it is not dealt with it will lead to eternal separation from God. So man has a problem – and it is sin. Sometimes, probably often, intentional in how it occurs, but it also can happen unintentionally as this chapter describes. We just accidentally miss the mark of God’s requirements – which is what sin truly is – missing the mark and falling short of God’s law. Fortunately God has a solution for our problem. Jesus went to the cross to be our sin sacrifice. His blood becomes what covers us and sets us free. But that only happens when we receive God’s gift of grace and we have a relationship with Christ. He is the great and true sin offering. Have you dealt with the sin in your life? It does matter, it will determine eternity, so don’t take it in stride. Make sure you know the Jesus who can set you free!