Sermon Summary
Leviticus 4 – Sin Offering

Scripture: Leviticus 4:1-3

1. Instructions of the Sin offering

In Lev 4 – God gives different instructions for different people:
v3-12 : The high priest
v13-21 : for the entire congregation
v22-26 : leaders of the people
v27-35 : common people

The instructions differed according to 3 ways:
a) Value of the animal
b) where the blood is sprinkled
c) what happens to the body of the animal afterwards

(1) The value of the animal
The High priest has to bring a bull, the leader of the people has to bring a male goat, the commoner has to bring a female goat or male lamb. Why different? Because sin is different but not in terms of quality but of quantity. We can understand this if we look at the representation. When you put your hand on the goat, it is saying this animal represents me what happens to this animal is what should happen to me.

The leader bears the responsibility for the people, so his sin is heavier. He has bear responsibility towards God, his is heavier than the commoner’s sin. So he has to offer something greater, heavier, a male goat. The heavier the sin, the heavier the sin offering.

What about the High Priest? So the High Priest has to offer a huge bull. The instructions for the sin offering of the high priest and the instructions for the sin offering of the entire congregation are exactly the same , why? Because the high priest represents all the people to God. So in God’s eyes, his sin and the sin of all the congregation weighs the same.

(2) Where the blood is sprinkled
For the High Priest and entire congregation, the blood of the animal is sprinkled on the veil leading to the holy of holies. Then the priest has to put some of the blood on the altar of incense in the holy place. Lev 4:6-7, 17-18
This tells us that the sin of the High Priest is so serious that you have to walk right up to the holiest place and stain it with blood.

But for the leader and the commoner , the blood doesn’t even get near the holy place, in fact it’s only applied to the altar of burnt offering in the outer courtyard of the tabernacle. They put the blood on the altar of burnt offering Lev 4:25,30

(3) The body of the sin offering
For the leader and the commoner, only the fat has to be burnt on the altar of burnt offering.
But for high priest and entire congregation, the fat, the kidney and liver are offered on the altar of burnt offering but the rest of the animal is to be burnt outside of the camp, Lev 4:12,21

In summary we learnt that:
a) the heavier the sin, the heavier the sin offering,
b) the heavier the sin offering, the deeper the blood must come into the tabernacle, and
c) the further away its body must go away from the temple.

2. What are the Implications of the sin offering

It teaches us about the weight and the severity of sin. What kind of sin? The bible distinguishes 2 kinds of sin – intentional sin and unintentional sin.

(1) Intentional sin Num 15:30
(Num 15:30 [ESV2011]) But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from among his people.
==> ‘high hand’ – defines as a defiant and rebellious attitude towards God’s law.

(2) Unintentional sin Lev 4:2
It’s breaking God’s law without intent, without meaning to, probably due to forgetfulness or ignorance. Why does it still count? Even the unintentional sins are sins and need to be atoned for.

Why does God care so much about the Law? The Law is all about relationship with Him, the purpose of the Law is about Love (Matt 22:37-40). So we can think about the tabernacle as not about keeping us out , but keeping God in, keeping the holiness of God inside to protect us. That’s why He is giving us this sin offering, He’s bringing us back into His presence, back into the Garden of Eden. But unless we offer our sin offering, we cannot get pass the flaming sword that guards the Tree of Life (Gen 3:24). We cannot enter God’s kingdom unless we have been completely separated from our sin (Lev 15:31).

Our sins are described as unclean, they are disgusting to God like rat or cockroaches which we hate having in our houses. Imagine the heart of God when sinners who are unrepentant enter the house of the Lord and yet He withholds His wrath. So the sin offering implies that it is a fearful thing to approach the holy presence of God, why? Because even our unintentional sin must be forgiven we must offer our sin offering in order to come clean before the Lord.

3. The intercession of the Sin offering

How can we give our sin offering? In the Old Testament, we need priest and a sacrifice.

(1) Who is our Priest?
If the High Priest sins, he brings guilt on the people. When God looks at the people, he sees the sins of the High Priest (Lev 4:3). Adam is like the first priest in the Garden of Eden which is like the temple. But Adam sinned. Adam’s name means mankind, he represents mankind. So when he sinned, all mankind sinned (Rom 5:12).

Flip that around, what if the High Priest is completely sinless before God? Then when God looks at the people, what is He going to see? He will see the righteousness of the High Priest. So who do we want to be representing us in the end? The bible says either you are in Adam or in Christ (Rom 5:19) 1 Corinthians 15:22 tells us

(1Cor 15:22 [ESV2011]) For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

That means if we are in Christ, when we enter the presence of God we will be alive. So may Christ be our high priest.

(2) What is our Sacrifice?
Our sacrifice depends on how heavy is our sin. How heavy is our sin?

God is of infinite value. So what kind of sacrifice must we bring to atone for our sins? It must be a sacrifice of infinity value. So what can possibly atone for sins as heavy as infinity? We have 2 options – first it is to burn in hell for eternity or second, it is to lay our hand on an infinitely valuable sacrifice and say my sins I lay upon you.

Out of the 4 kinds of people mentioned in Leviticus chapter 4, the words “atonement and forgiveness” only apply to 3 of them:
– Entire congregation (v20)
– Leaders of the people (v26)
– Common person (v31, 35)

It’s almost pointing us to a high priest who covers the sins of people with no one to cover for him. One who takes on the sins of the people but there is no one to shield him from the wrath of God , he bears it alone. Lev 4 points us to the heaviest sin offering of all, one of infinite value, the sinless son of God who was crucified outside the camp, and whose precious blood shed on the cross outweighs the sins of the people under Him a million times over. That whosoever believes in Him will receive eternal life and be cleansed of their sins for all eternity. Hebrews 13:11-12.


How shall we apply this lesson?

(1) Leaders in the church have a greater accountability toward God.
Leaders in the church, those who teach or are in charge of a ministry , need to thrive for holiness all the harder (Jas 3:1, Luke 12:48).

(2) We must confess our sins to God and trust His faithfulness to forgive (1 John 1:9)
Perhaps we have accidentally sinned by forgetting our offering or may have accidentally spread rumours or darkened others. When we realise our sins we must confess our sins to God.

(3) We can confidently approach the holy presence of God
The holy presence of God is not something to be taken lightly, God has given us the law, His Word in order to accommodate us into His holy presence. The Bible tells us we are no longer slaves of sins , we are no longer burdened by our sins because they have been nailed to the cross and we have a sinless high priest (Heb 4:15-16).

(Rom 8:1 [ESV2011]) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

(Rev 22:14 [ESV2011]) Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.


Evangelist Nicholas Chiang