The Cost of Forgiveness: Leviticus 1-7


When I was young, my parents had rules for me.  I was not a horrible child and wanted, for the most part, to please them.  I followed most rules, most of the time.  When I broke the rules, there were consequences.

At the time, I had little knowledge that rules were made mostly to protect me.

As I read the end of Exodus last week and realized how many rules God had for the Israelites, I came to the conclusion that most of them were to protect the people of Israel from themselves.

Our nature is to be selfish, unkind, and stubborn.

God provided rules so that living in community would make sense.

In modern day, I am guessing He would have something to say about removing snow from sidewalks (even in April!) so that those without cars who walk on those sidewalks would not have to walk in snow.  The rules made sense then, and I am sure that they would make sense now.

More important than the rules themselves, though, are the offerings – sacrifices – that were made when one broke rules.  Although the rules broke fellowship with God, they also broke fellowship with one another.  Offerings were made; amends were made. – all depending on the offense.

  • Burnt offering
  • Grain offering
  • Fellowship offering
  • Sin offering
  • Guilt offering

As I read through the seven chapters, I thought about how it would have been to live “back then.”  I am not sure that the rules would have been that hard to keep track of because they would have made sense in community.

What caught me off guard was thinking that we no longer have to make offerings for our sins.

And this thought made me wonder if I take that for granted.

I think I do.

Because I live on the other side of Christ’s death and resurrection, I no longer need to make offerings and sacrifices for my sins.  I confess to God, ask His forgiveness through the blood of Christ, and go on.

Often, though, I go on to sin again – same sin; same prayer; same forgiveness.

If I had to pay for a dove or a pigeon, go to the temple, and offer the sacrifice to pay for my transgression against my neighbor, I might think twice before doing whatever it is that I have done.

If I had to bake (I don’t cook…) grain or cook it on the griddle and follow the Leviticus 2 directions about to make it pleasing to God, I might think twice before doing something that would bring about the need for sacrifice.

When I forget how severely Christ was beaten, tormented, and brutalized, I tend to do as I please and hope that the world does not notice my transgressions.

But sacrifice – in the Old Testament and in the New Testament – is costly.

I need to remember that Christ’s sacrifice, though once for all, cost.  God paid; Christ paid.  And we benefit from this.  In benefitting in this way, we must live accordingly.  We must live in such a way that reflects our knowledge, our respect, and our gratitude.

How does this concept play out in your life?

2 thoughts on “The Cost of Forgiveness: Leviticus 1-7

  1. You are quite right in your assertation that because Christ came and fulfilled the Old Covenant and gave us the New Covenant, we do not have to offer those sacrifces. Christ offered Himself as a perfect and acceptable sacrifice to God for us all.

    You brought up a good point about if there was a real and tangeable cost for your sins, in this life, you may not be so apt to committ it, or repeat them. Let’s be honest here, most of us are repeat offenders. This doesn’t make us bad people, it merely points out we are weak. As a practicing Catholic who periodically attends conffession, i can tell you that when you examine your conscience and go to confess your sins to another person, “(Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. James 5:16) you feel a great amount of sorrow and humility. Catholics believe that God forgives our sins by the redemption of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit at the hands of a Priest. That authority to do so was given to them when Jesus appeard in the upper room, (Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:21-23)
    Jesus was giving the Apostles the authority to both forgive sins, or if the person wasn’t really sorry, the ability to not forgive them. This is the prayer of absolution that is prayed by the Priest in conffesion over the conffessee: “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son
    has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us
    for the forgiveness of sins;
    Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace,
    and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

    To go into a room with a Priest and ask for forgivness and to say outloud your sins, is a very humble expierience, and very emotional at times. In a way, this is our version of the Old Testament sacrifices.

    If you or anyone else wishes to discuss this further feel free to email me directly

    God bless you for speaking so wonderfully of your faith!

    • Thank you so much for commenting and giving so much insight. As a protestant, this is an area that I often wonder about. Though my theology does not put my confession in the hands of a priest, I have experienced the difference of how I approach sin when I share my confession with another Christian. Thank you so much for adding to this concept.

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