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"Unintentional Sinners"
Leviticus 4

Wednesday AM Bible Study
June 28, 2006

Theme: The sin offering pictures the ministry of Christ in making it possible for us as sinners to approach a holy God.

The focus of the first three offerings was on the person of Christ Himself. But at chapter four, the focus changes (as indicated by the phrase “Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying . . .”). With the sin offering (chapter 4), and the trespass offering (chapter 5), the focus is now on Christ's ministry to us on the cross as our sin-bearer.

The trespass offering has, as its focus, the specific sins that a man or woman may commit in terms of the harm done to other people and the demands of holiness before God. But with the sin offering, the focus isn't so much on specific 'sins' as it is on the principle of 'sin' that still abides in the believer. It is a picture of the reality that frustrated the apostle Paul in Romans 7. It is the accomplishment of what Jesus spoke of when He told Peter, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean . . .” (John 13:10). It is a symbol that was fulfilled in Christ, in that He sanctified His people with His own blood by suffering 'outside the gate' (Hebrews 13:10-13).


A. It concerns a person who sins “unintentionally”. It is the same word that was used by David in Psalm 19:12, “Who can understand his errors?” These are offenses before God that we are unaware of ; but that are nevertheless real, because we have come out of a life of sin and are still indwelt by the principle of sin within us.

B. It concerns a violation of the commandments of the LORD in “anything which ought not to be done”. When we first come to Christ, we discover that there are things we were doing that were sins. God progressively sanctifies us and conforms us to the image of Christ; but because He ever remains a holy God, the blood of Christ covers even those sins which were committed in ignorance (1 Timothy 1:12-13).


A. In the religious life of the people (vv. 3-21).

1. When a priest sins (vv. 3-12). The priest is the spiritual leader of the people. If he sins, he brings the impact of sin upon the people entrusted to his care (Hosea 4:6-8).

2. When the congregation sins (vv. 13-21). They may be led astray because of the sins of the spiritual leaders.

B. In the civic life of the people (vv. 22-35).

1. When the ruler sins (vv. 22-26). Note that God even holds “secular” leaders responsible for their sin. Note that the offering is different in this case. A female may be offered—perhaps to express that all people need atonement.

2. When any one of the common people sins (vv. 27-35). The sin of each individual— great or small—is of concern to a holy God. God graciously allows a very humble offering to be accepted on behalf of the very poor.

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