- Lev. 3:1-17; 7:11-21, 28-36; 17:1-7; 4:1-35; 5:1-13; 6:24-30
- Num. 15:29-31
Included in today’s readings were GOD’s instructions to the Israelites on how to receive forgiveness when they sinned unintentionally, and what was to be done when someone sinned willfully. He said:
If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD's commands, he is guilty. When he is made aware of the sin he committed, he must bring as his offering for the sin he committed a female goat without defect.
(Lev. 4:27-28 NIV)
In the Old Law, when an Israelite sinned—even when they didn’t realize they had sinned or that what they had done was a sin—GOD said they were guilty. Sin demands punishment, even when it happens by accident.
If someone sinned on purpose, the punishment was severe:
But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the LORD, and that person must be cut off from his people. Because he has despised the LORD's word and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him.
(Num. 15:30-31 NIV)
To sin willfully is to despise the LORD, which is rebellion, and GOD said it would not be tolerated. GOD’s punishments were very firm and, although it may seem otherwise, His judgments are perfect.
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
(Psalm 19:8-10 NKJV)
This is another reason to rejoice because of what Jesus has done for us. We don’t live under the Law of Moses, the Old Covenant; rather we live under the law of Christ, which is the New Covenant. As Christians, we don’t have to live in constant fear that we may have sinned ignorantly, because we are under grace (Rom. 6:14).
Don’t misunderstand me: we must strive to live righteously, never adopting an attitude of willfully sinning simply because we are under grace (Rom. 6:15; Heb. 10:26). But the Christian who walks according to the spirit (meaning, not living in sin, nor aware of any sin they haven’t confessed [1 John 1:9]) need not fear being condemned by GOD (Rom. 8:1).