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Bible verses about Offering, Sin and Trespass
(From Forerunner Commentary)

There are two clear distinctions between the sweet-savor offerings and the sin and trespass offerings. The burnt, meal, and peace offerings were a sweet savor because no sin was represented in them. God enjoyed them because of the devotion of the offerer they represented. The sin and trespass offerings, though requiring unblemished animals to be offered, representing the sinless Christ, were nonetheless laden with unforgiven sin. Jesus was laden with sin once He took our sins upon Himself, and the law claimed His life. God never views sin as pleasurable; they were not a sweet savor.

A second distinction is that the sin and trespass offerings were burnt outside the camp. This act emphasized God's disgust and aversion to sin and at the same time signaled the separation sin produces. The sinner, separated from God, could have no access to Him until he repented, and he was likewise separated from the community until cleansed of his trespass.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Seven): The Sin and Trespass Offerings


 

Leviticus 4 provides instructions concerning the sin offering and Leviticus 5, for the trespass offering. Are they not the same? Are not sins and trespasses the same thing? Can we see a difference between them? God does, thus there are two different offerings covering them.

Humanly, we are quite limited in making judgments because we can see clearly only what is happening on the surface of another's conduct; we have but a small degree of insight into another person's heart. Conversely, God says He looks upon the heart in His judgments of men (I Samuel 16:7). The fruit of our shallow perception is that we are forced to judge what a person does rather than what he is. We are willing to confess that we might do evil things but reluctant to admit that the heart, the fountain of what we do, might be inherently evil! Jeremiah 17:9 plainly says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?"

How can sin in the heart be covered unless there is an offering for what is in it? The distinction between the offerings of Leviticus 4 and 5 is this: The sin offering of Leviticus 4 covers our evil nature, the heart's sin. The trespass offering of Leviticus 5 atones for the fruits of that evil nature, the acts that are actually performed.

Notice how God reveals the sin offerings purpose: "If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the LORD for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering" (Leviticus 4:3). Notice that, though God mentions the priest, he names no specific sin. It is generalized, as if it could be any number of specific sins.

Verse 13 is similar: "Now if the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally, and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done something against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which should not be done, and are guilty. . . ." Again, sin is dealt with broadly; no particular sin is named. The same principle holds true in verse 22, where a ruler is named but no specific sin, and in verse 27, where the common people are identified but no particular act of sin.

By contrast, the instructions for the trespass offering reveal the opposite approach: Specific sins appear but the offender is generalized. Leviticus 5:1 provides a clear example: "If a person sins in hearing the utterance of an oath, and is a witness, whether he has seen or known of the matter—if he does not tell it, he bears guilt." This pattern continues: "Or if a person touches any unclean thing" (verse 2); "Or if he touches human uncleanness" (verse 3); "Or if a person swears, speaking thoughtlessly with his lip to do evil or to do good" (verse 4). Verse 5 concludes the opening thought: "And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing."

These contrasting approaches show that the sin offering covers the sins of the evil heart, and the trespass offering atones for sins of evil behavior.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Seven): The Sin and Trespass Offerings


 

Leviticus 5:15-16  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Whenever a sin caused loss to the one sinned against, restitution had to be made to him for his loss according to a valuation made by the priest. An additional one-fifth was added to the evaluation to compensate the plaintiff for any costs involved in recovering his loss. This process contains a valuable, spiritual lesson.

Suppose a person stole something from another worth a hundred dollars. He would then appear before the priest with his offering (a ram without blemish), as well as a hundred dollars. However, an additional twenty more dollars (one-fifth) would go to the victim to cover any mental anguish or attorney's or private detective's fees. This is what would have happened physically. However, we should consider this spiritually because this principle has application to us today. We are similarly under His government.

When we break His law, we are indebted to Him. The penalty of breaking His law is death. If we pay the penalty, we die, ending our indebtedness, but it also ends our potential, stops our growth, and perhaps—God forbid—keeps us from entering God's Kingdom. That would be the total end of everything! However, upon repentance, God permits us to claim the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sin. He allows the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to substitute for us.

However, in doing so, He now has a claim on us He did not have before we made use of Christ's sacrifice (symbolically, the unblemished ram). Before, He had a claim only on our obedience, but now He also has a claim on our life because He has spared us the death penalty. God not only forgives our sin, but He also clears us of guilt and then gives us the wherewithal to keep His law in the future. God adds grace, that is, gifts, as this is generally what "grace" means.

In Romans 5:20, Paul puts it this way: "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." When God forgives our sins at the beginning of our conversion, He does not simply wipe sins away. He also invites us into communion with Him, gives us His Spirit to enable obedience, promises to provide all our needs, and adds everlasting life on top of all this! In other words, God sets the example of going above and beyond what is merely required of Him.

God expects us to follow His example in our relationships with each other. The twenty-percent payment over and above what was literally owed represents the way we are to act toward men in general. In answer to the disciples' request to increase their faith, Jesus clearly instructs them to go above and beyond what was required (Luke 17:5, 9-10).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins His ministry espousing this very principle:

You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. And if any man wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. (Matthew 5:38-42)

He crowns his teaching on this principle in verses 43-44: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." He says we must be quick to forgive. He did that very thing hanging on the stake in behalf of the very ones who were killing Him! That is going above and beyond even in the midst of great personal pain and stress when one would most likely have his mind focused on himself. At the very least, we should have a mind to extend grace even before our enemies want it.

In concluding instructions on loving our enemies, Jesus makes an arresting statement on the attitude and conduct by which His disciples are to live:

And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much aback. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:34-38)

Even as God lives by grace, we too are to learn to implement it into our lives. If we want to super-abound, we must learn to give grace. We are to go above and beyond mere requirement because it will support developing the mind of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Seven): The Sin and Trespass Offerings


 

Hebrews 13:10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This altar is God's table. We are fed spiritual food from this spiritual altar. Jesus said in John 6:63, "The words I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." The priests were permitted to eat of the peace, sin, and trespass offerings. Thus those who serve at the altar are fed at the altar. We are now part of a spiritual priesthood. It is our responsibility to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:5).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Six): The Sin Offering


 

 




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