Focal Passages: Leviticus 5:1, 4-5, 14-16; 6:1-7
I have learned as a pastor over the years that many Christians have a poor understanding of both God’s holiness and God’s forgiveness as it relates to committing sin. Some believers superimpose their earthly fathers or authority figures over the biblical picture that God provides of Himself. For example, if an individual had a father who spoiled him and never disciplined the child, he may assume that sin does not offend God and no serious consequences are to be expected. On the other hand, if a person had a ruthless unforgiving father, he or she might constantly live in an unhealthy fear of God when sin occurs. Both the former and latter are not accurate. Only through examining the Bible can we find the correct balance between God’s holiness and His forgiveness. In Leviticus 5-6, God points out to Israel that when a person sins it offends His holiness. Consequently, the person incurs guilt and must confess the sin and pay restitution in order to be forgiven. I think when you read both chapters one cannot assume God takes any sin lightly. In fact, the sins identified in chapter 4-5 were in the context of sins committed unintentionally. Therefore, any Christian who makes light of sin does not properly understand God’s holiness and the consequences that may occur from disobeying God’s word.
However, does that mean as Christians we walk in an unhealthy, paranoid fear before God? Certainly not. We recognize that the Old Testament sacrificial system was a foreshadowing of Christ’s perfect and final sacrifice. Christ paid our restitution for our sin and became our sacrifice once and for all. In other words, Christ bore the penalty of God’s wrath for anyone willing to repent and trust in Him. Thus, as Christians we do not fear God like He is an unreasonable tyrant, but instead we humble ourselves, give Him the reverence He deserves, and rest and enjoy His great mercy. When sin does occur there must be a genuine confession and a heart attitude that seeks not to repeat the sin. Otherwise, there is no real repentance.