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Unintentional sin and what to do about it. Leviticus 4
Unintentional sin and what to do about it
Leviticus 4-5

This morning I want to talk to you about unintentional sin.

-Sin, as defined by the Bible, is the breaking of God's laws. I John 3:4
-We all sin in many differing ways. James 3:2.
-Sometimes we sin intentionally. i.e purposefully saying something mean and nasty to a person
-Sometimes we sin unintentionally
-To sin unintentionally is to break God's law without knowing it. To sin unintentionally is to break God's law without malice, intent, or aforethought.

i.e I say or do something thats wrong, offensive, or rude in a reactionary way. While I might not have planned on it, my doing of it or thinking of it is still wrong, it's still sinful

In Leviticus 4-5 unintentional sins are talked about at length. The discussion of Leviticus 4-5 is highly practical for us, because we ourselves commit unintentional sins

Some questions you might have about unintentional sin

1. Are we held responsible by God for them?
2. Are the consequences for them the same as intentional ones-- since we didn't mean to commit them?
3. What's the big deal? Everybody sins. Nobodies perfect. Surely God understands?

Before we read Leviticus 4, I'd like to note that I'm aware that some of you might be finding Leviticus a hard read because of the sacrificial system and rituals that are described. Such owes itself to the fact that the Temple and the sacrificial system is no more (as it has been fulfilled in the person of Christ). However, there is much profit in us studying all of God's word. As 2 Timothy 3:16 says; "All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness."



A. The structure of Leviticus 4

a. If a priest sins... (interesting, for it doesn't say unintentionally yet it seems implied)
b. If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally
c. If a leader sins unintentionally
d. If a member of the community sins unintentionally

As you can see, chapter 4 covers off the "if x or y sins" then.... Chapter 5 then gives some examples of various unintentional sins that one might commit. Chapter 5 also takes into account that some would not be able to afford big animals and so accommodation is made for a persons income. Geared to income sacrifices.

B. Sin -intentional or not- involves the breaking of a command of God.

"Does what is forbidden in any of the Lord's commands" v13,22,27

Such is the very definition of sin: Breaking God's laws (1 John 3:4). Not perfectly keeping it. Falling short

We are all guilty of breaking God's laws which are perfect, holy, and just. Not one of us can say we have perfectly kept the 10 commandments

Breaking God's commands is a very serious crime

We tend to downplay our sin "It was a mistake, I didn't mean it" or we compare ourselves to others and say "I'm not as bad as...". Yet, God and his holiness is the standard that we are held against.

Because of the seriousness of sin before God, it is vital that we examine ourselves against the backdrop of God's word, that we might determine whether or not we are living the holy lives that He has called us to. God's Word is our perfect standard for how to live.

Consider David's prayer of Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

C. Unintentional sin incurs this sentence: GUILTY v.3,13, 22, 27

As Romans 6:23a says "The wages of sin is death..."

What's interesting here is this: The defense of ignorance is no defense. "I didn't know" is not a defense

The point: All of us are guilty before God. All of us have broken God's laws. With the guilty sentence comes this penalty "death". This is what is deserved. This is why a sacrifice had to be made. This is why Jesus had to die and why the latter part of Romans 6:23 is so good "but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus"

Interesting: If unintentional sin is such a big deal, what about intentional acts of disobedience!

D. There is a way to be forgiven and for our guilt to be taken away v.20, 26, 35

While the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23)

One of the most sobering things about Leviticus 4-5 is this: All sin -intentional or not - results in guilt- for which the sentence is death

One of the most encouraging things about Leviticus 4-5 is this: A way is given for their to be forgiveness and peace with God. THIS IS TREMENDOUS NEWS FOR US

For every example of unintentional sin given in Leviticus 4, there is a prescribed a way for the sin to be forgiven, for the person to be made right with God

How: The death of a substitute (a sacrificial animal and the shedding of it's blood)

PROBLEM: The blood of animals not sufficient for the forgiveness of our sins. This is why Jesus came

Listen to what Hebrews 10:1-7 says; "The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming-not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offering and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am-it is written about me in the scroll- I have come to do your will, my God.'"

According to His great love for us: God has provided a lasting and true way for us to be forgiven of our sins: Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross

John 3:16 says; "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

1 John 4:9-10 says; "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

When we discover or come to realize that we have sinned against God, it is imperative that repent and seek God's face.

In 1 John 1:8-9, which comes with a great promise, it says; "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

If you are not right with God do not delay in being reconciled to Him. According to His grace and mercy there is a way! Humble yourself. Confess your sin. Put your faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.

If you are a follower of Christ, your salvation is not in jeopardy -- for Jesus speaks in our defense to the Father-- yet it important for us to live a holy life. So, if you are aware that you are doing something that offends God, confess it, repent of it, follow Jesus.


A reading from Psalm 19:7-14

The law of the LORD is perfect,reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.