Today’s Reading: Leviticus 4 – 6
As a father of two, I observed something interesting. Children know when they have done something wrong, before we give them classes on the topic of sin.
I have become convinced that God created all humans to know the difference between right and wrong from a very early age. Sure – the child does not know deep meanings of that knowledge but they have it and the slowly grow up learning how to deal with that knowledge.
I have many examples in brining up my children when they would do something as a toddler that they knew was wrong. They would try to hide their misdeed. Whether it was a crayon mark on the furniture, a sneaked cookie or hit to a brother or sister, they would try to hide the wrong deed. Whether they knew all the rules of life or not, they knew that what they had just done was wrong and could get them in trouble.
Can you see the look of “uh oh, I just got caught doing something I shouldn’t” on my son’s face in this photo from 1995?
While I believe that people are born with this built in knowledge of right and wrong, our society begins to tell them that there is no right and wrong and even if there was wrong, wrong is a relative term. It is very common for people to walk through today’s world without the knowledge that what they perceive is wrong is actually a contradiction to the will of God. It is violation in one way or another of the greatest commandment:
Matthew 22:37-39 (New International Version, ©2010)
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
In today’s reading this very topic is being addressed. And I think the paragraph holds a message for us today. It is a special message in that there is a solution for those knowingly do wrong with or without the knowledge that they had violated the Lord’s commands.
Leviticus 5:17 – 19 NLT
17 “Suppose you sin by violating one of the Lord’s commands. Even if you are unaware of what you have done, you are guilty and will be punished for your sin. 18 For a guilt offering, you must bring to the priest your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value. Through this process the priest will purify you from your unintentional sin, making you right with the Lord, and you will be forgiven. 19 This is a guilt offering, for you have been guilty of an offense against the Lord.”
Right from the beginning we see that even if someone is unaware of God’s commandments they are still guilty of the sin and they must still pay the penalty. This very concept is still with us today in law. Anyone who has tried to get out of a traffic ticket by saying “I didn’t see the sign.” or “ I didn’t know it was a school zone.” knows that ignorance is not a defense. It won’t work. Even if someone does not know the Bible and God’s direction for how we should live, it does not excuse them of the guilt of sins committed.
However, the really exciting thing for us today is that even while we are guilty of the sin of violating the Lord’s commands – our guilt offering has already been paid. No, we do not need to go find a ram without any defects. We do not need to an earthly priest who will purify us from our sin, making us right and forgiven with the Lord. All of that has been done perfectly for us already, once for everyone for all time. A perfect sacrifice has been made on our account and a perfect priest has purified us from all of our sins, known and unknown.
Hebrews 10 (New International Version, ©2010)
Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All
1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, my God.’”