Solemnness of Sin: Leviticus 4:8-16

Leviticus 4:8‑16  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
After some of the blood of the sin offering had been put upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense, then the rest of it was poured out at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering. Here we see that the individual is never lost sight of, and the one who had sinned, though a priest, needed personal restoration.
The Value of Christ’s Work to God
Then the fat of the bullock was taken and offered upon the altar of burnt offering. The fat is the excellence of the animal, in type, and even though it is the sin offering we are considering (which tells us particularly of the awful judgment of our sins at Calvary), nevertheless God delights to remind us of the preciousness of what Christ’s work was to His heart. Even when His holy soul was made an offering for sin, God the Father found infinite delight in Him, and He delights to remind us of this.
Completely Worthless, Completely Worthy
Then the whole bullock (except its fat and blood as mentioned) was carried outside the camp to the place where the ashes were poured out and burned there. The skin, head, legs, inwards, and dung were all burned together, reminding us of the awful judgment of sin at the cross. The skin, like the self-righteousness of which man might boast, along with the dung which is vile and hateful, were all burned together. There is nothing of sinful man or his doings in nature that God can accept. No works of our own can put away sin, no matter how nice these works may appear to others. Like the pretty skin of the animal they must all be burned up. All that we were as men in the flesh has come to a complete end in the death of Christ, and this is aptly pictured as we see the whole bullock burned to ashes outside the camp. As we consider this, and think of what it cost the holy, spotless Lamb of God to suffer outside the gate of Jerusalem for us, how our hearts bow in worship and thanksgiving to Him (Hebrews 13:1313Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. (Hebrews 13:13)) knowing that He is now seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high. May our hearts and lips be more filled with His praises, and may our lives show forth our appreciation of what He has done for us.
Realizing the Awfulness of Sin
Next we have provision made for the sin of the whole congregation. We have remarked before that this speaks of some unjudged, collective sin among the people of God. Even though the assembly did not know of it, they were guilty. Oh what an awful thing sin is before God. He cannot go on with it, or bless His people when they allow it among themselves. As soon, therefore, as the sin was known (for God must bring sin to light, and none of us should ever have any part in trying to cover it up), then a bullock must be brought and offered for a sin offering. The elders of the congregation were to place their hands upon its head, and it was killed “before the Lord.” A bullock is the largest clean animal, and the elders of the people must realize, as representing the “whole congregation,” the solemn judgment of sin. Of course we know that the work of Christ has settled the sin question forever before a holy God, but the knowledge of this should never lessen in our minds the horribleness of what sin is — it should rather make us realize it more fully!
“In His spotless soul’s distress,
I have learned my guiltiness;
Oh how vile my low estate,
Since my ransom was so great.’’
For Further Meditation
1. What part of the burnt offering could be saved?
2. We live in a world where it’s hard to understand how a group of people could be held responsible for something they didn’t know about. Why does God hold His assembly accountable for evil done by one of its members? What example can you give of God’s judging His people Israel because of the hidden sin of one of their members?
3. An important aspect of discipline is for the good of the person disciplined. You can meditate on that purpose by reading the booklet The Assembly Acting in Discipline by J. N. Darby.