Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness’


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

The Day of Atonement

(The Day of Atonement was the greatest day of the year for Israel. The Hebrew word for atone means “to cover.” Old Testament sacrifices could not actually remove sins, only cover them. On this day, the people confessed their sins as a nation, and the high priest went into the Most Holy Place to make atonement for them. Sacrifices were made and blood was shed so that the people’s sins could be “covered” until Christ’s sacrifice on the cross would give people the opportunity to have their sin removed forever.

Aaron had to spend hours preparing himself to meet God. But we can approach God anytime (Hebrews 4:16). What a privilege! We are offered easier access to God than the high priests of Old Testament times! Still, we must never forget that God is holy nor let this privilege cause us to approach God carelessly.)

Lets Bring it Home: The way to God has been opened to us by Christ. But easy access to God does not eliminate our need to prepare our hearts as we draw near in prayer. 

16:1-34 The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the LORD. 2The LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.

    3“This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bath himself with water before he puts them on. 

5From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.

    6“Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. 7Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 8He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat 9Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.

    11“Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 

12He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the LORD and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain.

(A censer was a dish or shallow bowl that hung by a chain or was carried with tongs. Inside the censer were placed incense (a combination of sweet-smelling resins and spices) and burning coals from the altar. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Most Holy Place carrying a smoking censer. The smoke shielded him from the ark of the covenant and the presence of God—otherwise he would die. Incense may also have had a very practical purpose. The sweet smell drew the people’s attention to the morning and evening sacrifices and helped cover the sometimes foul smell of the sacrifices.) 

13He is to put the incense on the fire before the LORD, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die. 14He is to take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.

    15“He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkl it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17No one is to be in the tent of meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.

    18“Then he shall come out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. 19He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.

    20“When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. 22The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.

    23“Then Aaron is to go into the tent of meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there. 24He shall bathe himself with water in the sanctuary area and put on his regular garments. Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people. 25He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

    26“The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp. 27The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and intestines are to be burned up. 28The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp. 

(This event with the two goats occurred on the Day of Atonement. The two goats represented the two ways God was dealing with the Israelites’ sin: (1) He was forgiving their sin through the first goat, which was sacrificed, and (2) he was removing their guilt through the second goat, the scapegoat, which was sent into the wilderness. The same ritual had to be repeated every year. Jesus Christ’s death replaced this system once and for all.)

Lets Bring it Home: We can have our sins forgiven and guilt removed by placing our trust in Christ (Hebrews 10:1-18). 

 29“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-borne or a foreigner residing among you— 30because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins. 31It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. 32The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments 33and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community.

    34“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a yearn for all the sins of the Israelites.”     And it was done, as the LORD commanded Moses.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Leviticus 6:1-7 (The Guilt Offering)

1-7 The LORD said to Moses: 2“If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor, 3or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit— 4when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, 5or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering. 6And as a penalty they must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, their guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. 7In this way the priest will make atonement for them before the LORD, and they will be forgiven for any of the things they did that made them guilty.”

Here we discover that stealing involves more than just taking from someone. Finding something and not returning it or failing to return something borrowed are other forms of stealing. These are sins against God and not just your neighbor, a stranger, or a large business. 

Lets Bring it Home: If you have gotten something deceitfully, then confess your sin to God, apologize to the owner, and return the stolen items—with interest.


Under Gods Command

Forgiving Others

Matthew 6:14 – For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Why? Those who are unwilling to forgive have not become one with Christ who was willing to forgive even those who crucified him Luke 23:34 – Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. We are also denying our common ground as sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. God’s forgiveness of sin is not the direct result of our forgiving others, but it is based on our realizing what forgiveness means. We cannot live as Children of Light walking around with sin and hate towards others.

Ephesians 4:28-32 – He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  

We can grieve the Holy Spirit by the way we live. Paul warns us against unwholesome language, bitterness, improper use of anger, brawling, slander, and bad attitudes toward others. Instead of acting that way, we should be forgiving, just as God has forgiven us. Are you grieving or pleasing God with your attitudes and actions? Act in love toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, just as God acted in love by sending his Son to die for our sins.

Lets Bring it Home: Is there anything that you are holding against someone right now. A friend, Mother or Father, Husband or Wife, Son or Daughter, co-worker or anybody else that you can think of? Now ask yourself this. What is God holding against me right now that He will not let go because I won’t let it go?   Is it really worth to burn in hell over for the rest of your life?Sp


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 5:17-21Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Christians are brand-new people on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives them new life, and they are not the same anymore. We are not reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated—we are re-created (new creations), living in vital union with Christ (Colossians 2:6-7). At conversion we do not merely turn over a new leaf; we begin a new life under a new Master.     While this newness is true individually, Paul is saying much more. Not only are believers changed from within, but a whole new order of creative energy began with Christ. There is a new covenant, a new perspective, a new body, a new church. All of creation is being renewed. So take notice. This is not a superficial change that will be quickly superseded by another novelty. This is an entirely new order of all creation under Christ’s authority. It requires a new way of looking at all people and all of creation. Does your life reflect this new perspective?

God brings us back to himself (reconciles us) by blotting out our sins (see also Ephesians 2:13-18) and making us righteous. When we trust in Christ, we are no longer God’s enemies, or strangers or foreigners to him. Because we have been reconciled to God, we have the privilege of encouraging others to do the same, and thus we are those who have the “ministry of reconciliation.”

An ambassador is an official representative on behalf of one country to another. As believers, we are Christ’s ambassadors, sent with his message of reconciliation to the world. An ambassador of reconciliation has an important responsibility. We dare not take this responsibility lightly. How well are you fulfilling your commission as Christ’s ambassador?

When we trust in Christ, we make an exchange—our sin for his righteousness. Our sin was laid on Christ at his crucifixion. His righteousness is given to us at our conversion. This is what Christians mean by Christ’s atonement for sin. In the world, bartering works only when two people exchange goods of relatively equal value. But God offers to trade his righteousness for our sin—something of immeasurable worth for something completely worthless. How grateful we should be for his kindness to us.

Lets Bring it Home: How well are you fulfilling your commission as Christ’s ambassador?


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 2:5-11 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Paul explained that it was time to forgive the man who had been punished by the church and had subsequently repented. He needed forgiveness, acceptance, and comfort. Satan would gain an advantage if they permanently separated this man from the congregation rather than forgiving and restoring him. This may have been the man who had required the disciplinary action described in 1 Corinthians 5, or he may have been the chief opponent of Paul who had caused him anguish (2:1-11). The sorrowful letter had finally brought about the repentance of the Corinthians (7:8-14), and their discipline of the man had led to his repentance. Church discipline should seek restoration. Two mistakes in church discipline should be avoided: being too lenient and not correcting mistakes, or being too harsh and not forgiving the sinner. There is a time to confront and a time to comfort.

We use church discipline to help keep the church pure and to help wayward people repent. But Satan tries to harm the church by tempting it to use discipline in an unforgiving way. This causes those exercising discipline to become proud of their purity, and it causes the person who is being disciplined to become bitter and perhaps leave the church entirely.

Lets bring it home: We must remember that our purpose in discipline is to restore a person to the fellowship, not to destroy him or her. We must be cautious that personal anger is not vented under the guise of church discipline.


Under Gods Command

Mark: 11:25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

Forgiving others is tough work—so much so that many people would rather do something totally distasteful than offer forgiveness to someone who has wronged them. For a person to pray while bearing a grudge, however, is like a tree sprouting leaves and bearing no fruit (11:13). True faith changes the heart. Real prayer dismantles pride and vengeance, filling the holes with love. Real faith seeks peace. For our churches to have prayer power, there must be harmony and forgiveness evident in the body of believers.

Lets Bring it Home: Let go of hurts, abandon grudges, and forgive others.


Under Gods Command

Romans 4:25: He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.   

When we believe, an exchange takes place.  We give Christ our sins, and he gives us his righteousness and forgiveness (2 Corinthians 5:21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God).  There is nothing we can do to earn this.  Only through Christ can we receive God’s righteousness.  What an incredible bargain this is for us!

Lets Bring it Home: But sadly, many still choose to pass up this gift to continue, “enjoying” their sin.