The Five Offerings Part 4
The fourth offering is the sin offering (Chapter 4). It's very interesting to note that only sins of ignorance is mentioned here. "If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord..." (vs2). It may be that the anointed priest who sinned (verse 3) He too has to bring a sin offering unto the Lord. It may be a leader who has sinned. (verse 22). Some Christian leaders act as though they don't sin at all!! When God judges sin, He always begins with the leaders and the priests. They must settle their scores with God first.
If that you were one of the ordinary Israelites and you saw the leader of your tribe bring an offering to the altar, you may be surprised and say to yourself, "This man is our leader, but he has sinned too." That would encourage you to believe that God chooses ordinary people like you to be His leaders. Don't we all sin? Is there a man on earth who does not sin? Don't give people the impression then that you are perfect, when you know that you are not. One thing that encourages me about stories of godly men in the Bible is that the Bibles does not hide their mistakes. We have seen that in the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The apostle Paul made mistakes too and he told his co-worker Luke (who wrote the Acts record) not to hide any of them. So Luke wrote faithfully that Paul fought with Barnabas, that he circumcised Timothy, that he shaved his head to fulfill a Jewish vow, and that he shouted at the high priest towards the end of his life, etc. These things are written for our encouragement, so that we realize that great men of God also make mistakes and fall into sin. Mist modern biographies, however, never speak the whole truth, They make those men look as if they never made any mistakes in their lives. Such biographies don't encourage anyone. The Scriptures, however, are honest. Leaders do sin and need to settle matters with God and man- just like everybody else.
I am not asking you leaders to confess your sins in public. But I am saying that you shouldn't give people the impression that you never make a mistake or sin. If you never apologize to anybody in your parish then that is the impression that you are giving. There is only one person who never needs to apologize to anyone-and that is God Himself. So humble yourself and ask for forgiveness from those whom you have hurt. They will respect you even more for that,
When an anointed priest sinned, he had to bring an offering to the doorway of the tent (verse 4). He could not do it privately or in secret saying, "I am an anointed priest and my reputation will go down if I do this publicly." He had to confess his sin right therein front of all the people, at the doorway of the tent. He had to lay his hand on the head of the bull and admit that he had sinned, and take some of the blood of the bull, dip his finger in it and offer it to the Lord.
I want you to notice one interesting thing here in 4:13-14: "And if all the multitude of Israel shall be ignorant, and through ignorance shall do that which is against the commandment of the Lord, And afterwards shall understand their sin, they shall offer for their sin a calf, and shall bring it to the door of the tabernacle." Now there are different offering mentioned here- for a leader who sinned (4:22), and for a common person who sinned (4:27). When a common person sinned, he had to bring only a female goat (4:28), which was not very expensive. But if the whole congregation sinned they had to bring a calf (more expensive). If the priest sinned he also had to bring a calf. Notice here that the offering for a sinning priest was the same as for a sinning congregation. A leader sinning was not like a common man sinning. It was equivalent to the whole congregation sinning. Both had to bring a calf.
A lot of people don't realize that God does not look at all same sins in the same way. When the ordained, sins in some way, and a common man sins in exactly the same way, they are not equal sins in God's eyes. The sin of the anointed priest is far more serious. He has to bring a calf whereas the common mans has to only bring a female goat. The more responsibilities we have in the Church, (priest, bishops, cardinals, popes), the more we are answerable to God for our lives. "But he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more." (Luke 12:48)
Notice that the sin offering is prescribed only for unintentional sin. (Leviticus 4:2,13,22,27). Look at the warning given in Hebrews 10:26, "For if we sin willfully after having the knowledge of the truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins," this is in keeping with Leviticus 4. If you have truly turned to the Lord and have become one of God's children, you will not want to sin. that is one mark of being born again. We may sin. In fact, we all do sin unknowingly. But if we are born again through baptism, we will never want to sin again. we don't take advantage of God's mercy and goodness. One who sins against God because he knows that he can get forgiveness easily, is almost certainly not born again. A born again Christian may fall into sin, but he hates sin.
But we must all confess that we have all sinned deliberately too, even after we have been baptized.. What about those sins? Hebrews 10:26 is referring to continuing sin and not to the occasion act: "For if we sin wilfully", that is "For if we go on sinning deliberately" refers to continuously taking advantage of God's goodness. then there is no more sacrifice for sin, but only a looking forward for God's judgement (Hebrews 10:27).