Now, most people would think God would say something like, "If you didn't mean to do it or didn't know you were breaking one of my commands, you are only held accountable to that sin once you realize that you sinned or broke my command." Right? It seems strange for people to be guilty for something they didn't know was wrong...
Well, when you keep reading chapter 4 and beyond, you encounter a repeating phrase:
- "If the entire community sins... but the people don't realize it, they are still guilty." (4:13)
- "If one of the leaders sins... but doesn't realize it, he is still guilty." (4:22)
- "If any of the common people sin... but don't realize it, they are still guilty." (4:27)
"We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6, NLT)
So what what do we do? Here's the second repetitive phrase for us:
- "When they become aware of their sin, the people must bring a young bull as an offering for their sin... the elders... must then lay their hands of the bull's head and slaughter it... then put some of the blood on the horns of the altar..." (4:13-21)
- "The he becomes aware of his sin, he must bring as his offering a male goat with no defects... slaughter it... put blood on the altar..." (4:22-26)
- "When they become aware of their sin, they must bring an offering... (4:27-31)
Once again, Leviticus points us to Jesus. Knowing that we are guilty and deserving of death (regardless of our awareness of our sin), He became our offering, our bull/goat slaughtered for our sin. As we become aware of our sin and confess them to Him, His blood, which was spilled on the altar of the cross, is what cleanses us of our guilt. So that through this process, the Ultimate Priest Jesus, purifies the people, making them right with God, and giving them forgiveness.
It's a beautiful picture. It's a free gift. It's available for everyone as we become aware of our sin...