When you look at the sin offering, you notice that God once again provided provisions for all sin. It was provided for both public and private sin, as well as individual and group sin. When it was offered for the sin of a group, or a public individual representing a group, then the offering always had to be a male. When it was an individual sin, the animal was a female. Verses 1-3:
And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, if any one sins unwittingly in any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and he does any one of them, if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer for the sin which he has committed a young bull without blemish to the LORD for a sin offering.” (Leviticus 4:1-3 RSV)
And, again, in Verses 13-14:
“If the whole congregation of Israel commits a sin unwittingly and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they do any one of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done and are guilty; when the sin which they have committed becomes known, the assembly shall offer a young bull for a sin offering and bring it before the tent of meeting;” (Leviticus 4:13-14 RSV)
In the case of a ruler or king, the requirement is given in Verses 22-23:
“When a ruler sins, doing unwittingly any one of all the things which the LORD his God has commanded not to be done, and is guilty, if the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring as his offering a goat, a male without blemish,” (Leviticus 4:22-23 RSV)
But then when the common people sinned as individuals, Verses 27-28:
“If any one of the common people sins unwittingly in doing any one of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and is guilty, when the sin which he has committed is made known to him he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed.” (Leviticus 4:27-28 RSV)
In Verse 32 another provision is made:
“If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish,” (Leviticus 4:32 RSV)
Also there were also provisions made in the sin offering for people who could not afford large animals like the bull or a goat or lamb. We have these in Chapter 5.
“But if he cannot afford a lamb, then he shall bring, as his guilt offering to the LORD for the sin which he has committed, two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.” (Leviticus 5:7 RSV)
Still further provision is made in Verse 11:
“But if he cannot afford two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he shall bring, as his offering for the sin which he has committed, a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it and shall put no frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering.” (Leviticus 5:11a RSV)
So even the very poorest had a way out of the guilt of their lives. That was God’s provision for them. Even if they could not afford any animal, they could bring a handful of flour. But they were to put no oil on it, because oil is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit-filled life. Nor were they to put any frankincense on it, because that is the symbol of the heart dedicated, fully yielded, to God.
Notice in several of the verses that the sin was said to be unwitting. That means individuals had sinned unknowingly. It is dealing with acts of deliberate evil, but it is dealing with the nature which prompts those acts, and which always takes us by surprise.
Many of us would say that we don’t intentionally do wrong…I hope… Some situations and people catch us unaware and then we do or say something that we would nevvvvvvver think we would EVER DO!
We come to realization that there is evil in us deeper than we had realized. That is what the sin offering is talking about … the surprising sin which catches us off guard
We struggle with it afterwards, we feel guilty.
In the sin offering, the blood that in the previous offerings was poured out at the foot of the altar, was used differently during these offerings, Chapter 4, Verses 4-7:
“He shall bring the bull to the door of the tent of meeting before the LORD, and lay his hand on the head of the bull, and kill the bull before the LORD. And the anointed priest shall take some of the blood of the bull and bring it to the tent of meeting; and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle part of the blood seven times before the LORD in front of the veil of the sanctuary. And the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense before the LORD which is in the tent of meeting, and the rest of the blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the door of the tent of meeting.” (Leviticus 4:4-7 RSV)
The blood of the sin offering had to be sprinkled seven times before the LORD! In the case of the offering for the anointed priest , had to be put on the horns of the altar of incense which stood in the holy place right in front of the veil which guarded the holy of holies, i.e., right before the presence of the LORD. Now the same thing was required if the whole congregation sinned, as specified in Verses 15-18. But in the cases of the offerings for a ruler or for an individual the blood was put on the horns of an altar, but in these instances on the altar of the burnt offering, which was in the outer court. Verse 25:
“Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering[not of fragrant incense], and pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering.” (Leviticus 4:25 RSV)
The same in Verse 30:
“And the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar.” (Leviticus 4:30 RSV)
So there was a difference in the requirement, depending upon the importance of whoever had sinned. If it was an extremely important individual, such as the anointed priest, or if it was the whole congregation, the blood actually had to be put on the altar right in the very presence of God. But if it was a ruler or an individual it was put on the altar a bit further removed — in the outer court where the offerings were usually burned.
What is the significance of this? The individual for whom the offering is being made is to be able to see the blood there. That is the point. In other words, there is to be an understanding on the part of the one who sinned that this blood has now covered his sin, forgiven it, and before God it is acknowledged to be forgiven. And when he understands that, then his own conscience can be at rest.
Some of us trouble ourselves, we do not see the blood on the horns of the altar. We have not seen it clearly and as a result, we torture ourselves endlessly with guilt. But God is trying to make very clear that there is a way to be free of guilt. And once the blood is there on the altar, it provides an absolute way out. There is no guilt left! “He shall be forgiven,” the Scripture says — not only of the sinful acts (that is what the trespass offering is for) but of the guilt of his very nature. A division is made between what we are now and what we once were in Adam. When once we come to Christ a break occurs, and that nature which once was ours is no longer ours. That is why in Romans 7, regarding his sinful actions Paul says, “It is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me,” (Romans 7:20 RSV).
Men are always trying to find their own ways to be free of guilt. Some try to forget it. Most are trying simply to avoid the whole subject. They don’t want to think of their guilt. But you remember how David said he felt when he tried that. These are his words from Psalm 32:
When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long[It affected him physically].
For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. (Psalms 32:3-4)
This is what unacknowledged guilt will do. It will dry up your life, will reduce it to a shallow, superficial level of living in which you have to be caught up endlessly in some diversion in order not to think about your relationship with God. And forgetting will never work either.
It keeps coming back, haunting you, living with you, sleeping with you, turning your moments alone into times of fear and loneliness. And there is no way out, no exit from this prison, except by the blood of Jesus Christ. That is the only way out.
There is one final distinctive about the sin offering. It is in the way the fat and the meat of the offering were handled. Verses 8-12:
“And all the fat of the bull of the sin offering he shall take from it, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the appendage of the liver which he shall take away with the kidneys (just as these are taken from the ox of the sacrifice of the peace offerings) and the priest shall burn them upon the altar of burnt offering.” (Leviticus 4:8-10 RSV)
All the inward organs and their fat were to be offered to God, just as in the peace offerings. But now listen to the rest:
“But the skin of the bull and all its flesh, with its head, its legs, its entrails, and its dung, the whole bull he shall carry forth outside the camp to a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and shall burn it on a fire of wood; where the ashes are poured out it shall be burned.” (Leviticus 4:11-12 RSV)
The entire rest of the bull was to be taken clear outside the camp, not to the altar of the burnt offering but clear outside the camp, where it was to be burned. You find this again in Verses 20-21:
“Thus shall he do with the bull: as he did with the bull of the sin offering, so shall he do with this; and the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven. And he shall carry forth the bull outside the camp, and burn it as he burned the first bull; it is the sin offering for the assembly.” (Leviticus 4:20-21 RSV)
No one was to eat of this offering. In fact when the blood was offered in the holy place then the bull or other offering had to be taken and burned outside the camp.
All our inner life as believers in Jesus Christ, is acceptable to God. The fat and the kidneys and the organs within, all the inward life, is God’s and is perfectly acceptable to him. But there is still something wrong with the outer life — the body. It is still unredeemed, you see. It is still subject to sin. It is still to be rejected. That is why in the New Testament we are told that the body is still the seat of the flesh, and therefore it must die.
In other words, our inner life, our thoughts may be changed, yet we are still in the world But we look forward to Gods return as the completion of God’s work for us. How beautifully all this is described in the sin offering. And there outside the camp we are to take the place which Jesus took, that of humility and rejection before the world. This is a blow to our pride. We don’t like it there. But our Lord is there. So the exhortation comes to us that we are to go outside the camp.
The great truth of the sin offering is that God has dealt with our nature of evil. We are no longer linked to it. We are no longer what we once were. Therefore, in Jesus Christ, we stand basically and fundamentally accepted before God, absolutely favored in his sight!
We are no longer the old person!!
Im so grateful to be a new person in Christ! My past no longer defines me. I often tell folks I use to be a 0.5 but now I am a 5.0!
Yes Lord! Im grateful!!!!