‘Do not treat God’s forgiveness lightly’: Leviticus chapters 4-6 mainly describe two offerings that the children of Israel had to offer to God: the sin offering (4:1-35) and the trespass offering (5:1-6:7). It is to be noted that these offerings are only for sins that are committed unintentionally. See the different examples mentioned below:
- When any person sins: 'If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them’ (Lev 4:2)
- When the whole congregation sins: 'Now if the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally, and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done something against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which should not be done, and are guilty’ (Lev 4:13)
- When the ruler sins: 'When a ruler has sinned, and done something unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord his God in anything which should not be done, and is guilty’ (Lev 4:22)
- When common people sin: 'If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty’ (Lev 4:27)
- When a person commits a trespass: ‘If a person commits a trespass, and sins unintentionally in regard to the holy things of the Lord…’ (Lev 5:15)
There is a spiritual application for us: we can receive the same forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Christ. ‘For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?’ (Heb 9:13-14). ‘But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:7, 9).
However, we need to understand that we cannot keep on sinning intentionally again and again and expect forgiveness from God. ‘He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy’ (Proverbs 28:13). Our Lord Jesus Christ made it clear that we should not keep on sinning and expect forgiveness from God when he told the man whom he had healed by the pool of Bethesda: "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you" (John 5:14). This is what Jesus also told the woman caught in the act of adultery: "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more" (John 8:11). Let us be very careful that we do not treat God’s forgiveness lightly!