Leviticus 4* The sin-offering of ignorance for the priest. (1-12) For thewhole congregation. (13-21) For a ruler. (22-26) For any of thepeople. (27-35)1-12 Burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and peace-offerings, hadbeen offered before the giving of the law upon mount Sinai; andin these the patriarchs had respect to sin, to make atonementfor it. But the Jews were now put into a way of making atonementfor sin, more particularly by sacrifice, as a shadow of goodthings to come; yet the substance is Christ, and that oneoffering of himself, by which he put away sin. The sins forwhich the sin-offerings were appointed are supposed to be openacts. They are supposed to be sins of commission, things whichought not to have been done. Omissions are sins, and must comeinto judgment: yet what had been omitted at one time, might bedone at another; but a sin committed was past recall. They aresupposed to be sins committed through ignorance. The law beginswith the case of the anointed priest. It is evident that Godnever had any infallible priest in his church upon earth, wheneven the high priest was liable to fall into sins of ignorance.All pretensions to act without error are sure marks ofAntichrist. The beast was to be carried without the camp, andthere burned to ashes. This was a sign of the duty ofrepentance, which is the putting away sin as a detestable thing,which our soul hates. The sin-offering is called sin. What theydid to that, we must do to our sins; the body of sin must bedestroyed, #Ro 6:6|. The apostle applies the carrying thissacrifice without the camp to Christ, #Heb 13:11-13|. 13-21 If the leaders of the people, through mistake, causedthem to err, an offering must be brought, that wrath might notcome upon the whole congregation. When sacrifices were offered,the persons, on whose behalf they were devoted, were to laytheir hands on the heads of the victims, and to confess theirsins. The elders were to do so, when the sacrifices were offeredfor the whole congregation. The load of sin was supposed then tobe borne by the guiltless animal. When the offering iscompleted, it is said, atonement is made, and the sin shall beforgiven. The saving of churches and kingdoms from ruin, isowing to the satisfaction and mediation of Christ. 22-26 Those who have power to call others to account, arethemselves accountable to the Ruler of rulers. The sin of theruler, committed through ignorance, must come to his knowledge,either by the check of his own conscience, or by the reproof ofhis friends; both which even the best and greatest, not onlyshould submit to, but be thankful for. That which I see not,teach thou me, and, Show me wherein I have erred, are prayers weshould put up to God every day; that if, through ignorance, wefall into sin, we may not through ignorance abide in it. 27-35 Here is the law of the sin-offering for a common person.To be able to plead, when charged with sin, that we did itignorantly, and through the surprise of temptation, will notbring us off, if we have no interest in that great plea, Christhath died. The sins of ignorance committed by a common person,needed a sacrifice; the greatest are not above, the meanest arenot below Divine justice. None, if offenders, were overlooked.Here rich and poor meet together; they are alike sinners, andwelcome to Christ. From all these laws concerning thesin-offerings, we may learn to hate sin, and to watch againstit; and to value Christ, the great and true Sin-offering, whoseblood cleanses from all sin, which it was not possible that theblood of bulls and of goats should take away. For us to err,with the Bible in our hands, is the effect of pride, sloth, andcarelessness. We need to use frequent self-examination, withserious study of the Scriptures, and earnest prayer for theconvincing influences of God the Holy Spirit; that we may detectour sins of ignorance, repent, and obtain forgiveness throughthe blood of Christ.
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