We made it to the last sacrifice. This last one also has to do with sin but it's a little different. Have you ever heard someone say that all sin is the same? I've heard it many times and asked them to back up that argument biblically but they couldn't. We're going to see here that God does not view all sin as the same. The Guilt Offering, also known as the Awsham in Hebrew, is a sacrifice that deals with holy things or things that are set apart. As we continue with the subject of holiness we're going to see that God holds a high value on the things that He calls holy. Let's jump in and take a look at what God has to say about the things that He set apart for holy use.
First off, did you know that some sins have a higher price than others. In the sin offering the common people could offer four things: a female goat, female lamb, pigeon or a turtledove. In Leviticus 5:14-16 we see that the Guilt Offering required a ram, no exceptions, not even for the poor. The ram in the Jewish culture was a symbol of prosperity because it held the seed and had the power to reproduce. When we violate the holy things of God we lose part of our future or prosperity. How so? The Guilt Offering was used in the case of sexual sin as well (Leviticus 19:20-22). Did you know that your sexuality is a holy thing set apart by God for your husband or wife. When we choose to live outside of the boundaries that God has set for us we are out of His protection and can/will lose a part of our future (Leviticus 18 gives guidelines on what God expects as far as sex goes). If you choose to sleep around and you have a child or obtain a sexual disease, those are things that cannot be taken away and will most definitely affect your future. How are you treating your sexuality?
Next in verses 17-19 God says that even if the person sinned while being unaware it is still sin. Our level of understanding doesn't make sin something else, it's still sin. I man who once asked me, "Well, don't you think that if you don't know it's sin that for you it's not sin?", I didn't know how to respond because I didn't have as good of a grasp on the Bible but later I found out that it's not true. Even if you don't know, it's still sin. Our responsibility is to know the Bible and find out what God expects from us.
Another case of use for the Guilt Offering is in the personal relationships of Israel (Lev 6:2-3). The examples here are the following: deceit (in regard to a deposit or security entrusted to him), robbery, extortion, and finding something that was lost and then lying about it. When we use our relationships with others in order to gain we are taking something that is set apart and using it for an unholy purpose. Not only did the person have to offer the Guilt Offering but also had to pay back 120%. There's too many people who believe that after wronging someone all that is due is a simple I'm sorry. Let's use the break it buy it principle here. If we harm someone or cause some damage it's our responsibility to go above and beyond and make the situation right. This is not only meant to look out for the other party but also meant to fix the relationship as well. God is all about relationships. In the law it's easy to think that God was so demanding and cruel but it's really the contrary. If we look at the context of Israel just coming out of slavery we have to understand something. They had no idea how to live in peace with each other. God gave them the the civil code (Exodus 20-23; Numbers 5-6, 15, 28-30) while they were in the desert so that they would know how to relate with their God and also how to have right relationships with their neighbors. God is all about relationships and desires us to live in peace and love with other believers.
Lastly in 6:6-7 we see an even deeper issue. The sin that lies in our hearts. The very thing that separates us from God. How do we deal with that? Simple, by faith in Jesus Christ and turning around 180 degrees saying, "I don't want to go that way anymore, I don't want to sin against you anymore Lord Jesus". The good news is that God can and will clear the guilt in between us and Him and will make our relationship right. I thank God for His Son whom He offered on the cross. Jesus is our one-size fits all sacrifice. Through Him and only through Him can we approach God. The book of Leviticus is the heart of God and these five sacrifices show us some practical principles on how to approach a holy God as an unholy people. God has never changed His system, salvation has always been by grace through faith. These sacrifices are the grace of God. The fact that He showed them how to approach Him is grace or unmerited favor; and the faith of the Israelites in the sacrifice is what cleaned them of sin.
To finish up let's take a look at Romans 7:23-25, "...but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Wow! That's all I can say, Christ set us free from sin. Sin is anything that separates us from God and we had no way to approach God because of our sin. God set us free, let us not be conformed to our old ways but let us be transformed by the renewing of our minds through the Word of God. If you desire more of God, if you are sick of being defeated by sin, know that there is victory in Christ. He desires us to have a holy life. Amen!