The Trespass Offering: Leviticus 5:1

Leviticus 5:1  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Leviticus 5:1
We now come to the trespass offering. It has to do more particularly with those sins which we only know to be sins because God has forbidden them, even though perhaps they are not sins against natural conscience. For example, natural conscience might not tell a woman that she should not wear clothes pertaining to a man, and she might think it was all right to do so, but it is a sin because God has forbidden it in His Word (Deuteronomy 22:5). This is the importance of reading God’s Word diligently in order that we might know His mind, and how it shows us what sin is before Him. How much we needed the true “Trespass offering,” for we have all sinned!
Measuring Sin Properly
But it is good to know that God has not taken up the sin question according to our thoughts or standards. That would never do! We who are sinful in our very nature are incapable of measuring sin aright, and natural conscience is a very imperfect guide at its best. But God has taken up and settled the sin question according to the majesty and holiness of His own throne, when the Lord Jesus bore the judgment of sin on Calvary. Perhaps the one who reads these lines has formed his own standard of sin and is trying to go by this standard, vainly thinking that this will satisfy a holy God. First of all we would remind you that you have not, and cannot, even measure up to the standard set by your own conscience. Your own conscience tells you that you are a sinner and you know it! But even if you could measure up to your own standard, we must solemnly warn you that you have fallen sadly short of God’s standard, for His Word declares that “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Yes, you are guilty before a thrice-holy God, and where is your trespass offering? It is not a little lamb or a goat that you need — they were only types and shadows — but the Lord Jesus, God’s Lamb, is the true trespass offering. Have you accepted Him as your own personal Saviour? Has His precious blood cleansed away all your sins according to God’s perfect knowledge of them? Do not go on in your sins one moment longer, we beseech you, but come to Christ now.
“Oh! what a Saviour is Jesus the Lord!
Well may His name by His saints, be adored!
He has redeemed them from hell, by His blood,
Saved them forever and brought them to God.”
Oath and Obedience
In the first verse of our chapter we are told that when one is called upon under oath (such as in a courtroom) to tell what he knows about any matter, he must do so. We find the blessed Lord doing this when the high priest adjured Him by God to tell if He were truly the Son of God (Matthew 26:63-64). Up to this time the Lord had remained silent, never defending Himself, but when put under oath, He replied at once because He always walked in obedience to God His Father. May we ever seek to be obedient, too, even though we may not understand, at times, the reason why. We are reminded once again that when God speaks we must never question, we must obey. We find this perfectly exemplified in the life of the Lord Jesus. He took the servant’s place, and in that place He was obedient even unto death. He would rather die than disobey.
For Further Meditation
1. How can we be certain that no one but the Lord Jesus has met God’s standard of holiness?
2. Why can we be glad that God hasn’t ever changed His standard of holiness? What would become of heaven if He were to lower the bar to allow people with “just a few sins” to enter His home? What provision did He make for those sinners instead?
3. You’ll find a nice overview of the different offerings, including the trespass offering, in the conveniently sized The Levitical Offerings Chart by J. B. Nicholson Jr. and S. Tucker.