Skip to main content

I didn't recognize that one!

The Book of Leviticus is the record of the Old Testament Law - commandments and rules for living, sacrificial worship expectations, and the foundation by which we were to come to understand that a penalty for sin was to be paid.  In other words, the Law acts as a means to help us understand why the sacrificial death of Christ was necessary - it points us toward his work of what we call "atonement".  To understand atonement, we must understand why it is necessary.  As pointed out numerous times throughout scripture, man has a difficult time living his life "without sin" because he has a sin nature.  He has free choice, and as a matter of choice, he sometimes chooses things which are a violation of the way God would want him to live. When this is the case, this is referred to as "sin" - better known as "missing the mark". In other words, try as we might, we don't always hit the target!  

If anyone sins by breaking any of the commandments of God which must not be broken, but without being aware of it at the time, the moment he does realize his guilt he is held responsible.  (Leviticus 5:17-18 MSG)

I don't want us to focus on the Old Testament Law as a means of righteousness, but hope we can see God's intent in giving it.  He was laying out the foundation for us to recognize the need of a "sinless" or "spotless" offering on our behalf.  Plain and simple, he was pointing us toward Christ. The little lamb, turtle doves, and rams used in the sacrificial offerings of the Old Testament temple worship, atonement sacrifices, and the like, were simply "fore-shadowing" the sacrificial death of Christ on our behalf.  That said, then we are free to see what God says about our sin.

As we examine what God has to say about sin in scripture, we find there are not so much "degrees" of sin (as ALL sin is sin), but that sometimes we are totally aware of our sin and other times we almost sin without really realizing we have.  I grew up in a church environment which promoted the "degrees" of sin - some were "menial" and others were quite "grievous".  If we go back to scripture as our source of truth on this matter, we will see ALL have sinned, ALL sin matters, and ALL sin requires an "atoning sacrifice".  This idea of "degrees" of sin just doesn't hold up under our examination of what scripture outlines.

Since there is validity to this idea of us "knowingly" and "unknowingly" engaging in sin, maybe this is where we start.  Those things we know better than to do, but do them anyway - these are a big deal.  God doesn't ask for our obedience to be at our convenience, but rather for it to become a spontaneous response of our heart.  When we struggle with obedience in a particular area of our lives, he doesn't expect us to resist the temptation to sin in that area all on our own.  He gives us the support of his Holy Spirit, others which whom we can enter into accountability relationships with, and the wisdom of the Word to guide our actions.  Those areas were we struggle without even really recognizing our struggle are sometimes not evident to us unless someone else points them out, or perhaps we get that "twinge" of conviction when we hear a good teacher, or read something we may have overlooked in scripture.  

What God wants us to see is that both require our attention - when we "become aware" of our sin, we have a means by which we can deal with our sin - Christ's sacrificial death on our behalf.  ALL sin required his death.  ALL sin is subject to the same "scrutiny" by God.  ALL sin leaves us "at odds" with God - we aren't right until that sin is "under" or "covered" by the blood Christ shed on our behalf.  What is most important when studying the Law in the Old Testament is not the rigidity of the sacrificial means for atonement, but that atonement is provided by means of God's grace.  The sacrifice was just a means of us connecting our actions with the penalty needing to be paid.  It is not much different than us connecting our actions with the penalty which was paid on our behalf - Christ Jesus.  He is our "means" of connection between the "wrongdoing" of our sin and the "right-setting" of our lives through the perfect action of his sacrifice.

Although "degrees" of sin don't really exist, the means by which sin is dealt the final blow in our lives is already accomplished - even though it may not be fully revealed by our actions today.  Christ's sacrificial death on our behalf was "complete" on our behalf - past sin, present sin, and all future sin.  His actions were complete - meeting ALL our needs for atonement - the known sin and the unknown; the "biggees" and the "wee ones".  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…