Our Atoning Sacrifice // Numbers 15:22-31
22. ” ‘Now if you unintentionally fail to keep any of these commands the LORD gave Moses-
23. any of the LORD’s commands to you through him, from the day the LORD gave them and continuing through the generations to come-
24. and if this is done unintentionally without the community being aware of it, then the whole community is to offer a young bull for a burnt offering as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, along with its prescribed grain offering and drink offering, and a male goat for a sin offering.
25. The priest is to make atonement for the whole Israelite community, and they will be forgiven, for it was not intentional and they have brought to the LORD for their wrong an offering made by fire and a sin offering.
26. The whole Israelite community and the aliens living among them will be forgiven, because all the people were involved in the unintentional wrong.
27. ” ‘But if just one person sins unintentionally, he must bring a year-old female goat for a sin offering.
28. The priest is to make atonement before the LORD for the one who erred by sinning unintentionally, and when atonement has been made for him, he will be forgiven.
29. One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether he is a native-born Israelite or an alien.
30. ” ‘But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the LORD, and that person must be cut off from his people.
31. Because he has despised the LORD’s word and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him.’ “
Rules for Atonement (15:22–29)
When sin entered the world in Genesis 3, it corrupted the human nature that God intended to be holy. As a result, no matter how hard we work to obey God’s commands, we will always fall short. Even if we do not intend to sin, we will still find ourselves disobeying God by omission, neglect, or mistake. Our lack of sinful intent does not, however, make our transgressions any less grievous to God, and here we see that He requires His people to atone for their unintentional sins through burnt offerings. Just as God forgave the Israelites for their unintentional wrongs through an atoning sacrifice, He has forgiven all our sins through the sacrifice of His Son.
Defiant Disobedience (15:30–31)
These verses prescribe the heavy punishment that is to be dealt to anyone who sins “defiantly”— with intentional disregard for or blatant rebellion against God and His laws. Such sinners will be cut off from the people of Israel, which is effectively a death sentence. This penalty is a stark reflection of God’s hatred of sin, especially sin that shows contempt for His Word. For Christians, however, this passage is also a reminder of the incredible depths of God’s mercy. Through Christ, God extended His forgiveness to even His worst enemies—those who trample on His commands and persecute His people. He still calls out to them, urging them to believe in His Son, receive forgiveness, and be saved.
– Think back upon your week and reflect on the sins you may have committed by omission, neglect, or mistake. Confess your sins to God, and ask for His forgiveness.
– Have you ever sinned defiantly against God? Do you ever show contempt for His Word? Thank God today that He does not withhold His forgiveness from even the worst of sinners.
A LETTER TO GOD:
Gracious Father, thank you for Your mercy that not only forgives my sin but also clothes me in righteousness and gives me a new nature through the Holy Spirit. Continue to sanctify me and mold me into the image of Your Son. In His name. Amen.