Chapter One: The Sin Offering
Chapter Two: The Trespass Offering
Chapter Three: Our Stand And Our Walk
We have discussed the three sweet savour offerings which are Christ in perfectness offering Himself for us to God without sin. The next two offerings, for Sin and Trespass, represent Him as offering Himself as our representative for sin. The setting-up or establishing of these different offerings in their certain order give us Godís view if we can but appreciate it.
By placing the sweet-savour offerings first in holy writ, He is showing us that Christ offering Himself without sin must precede His offering Himself for sin. Had he not been what the Burnt and the Meal Offerings typify, a voluntary offerer of a sinless offering, he could not have been offered for sin. The fact of His life being perfect qualified Him to be a sin offering. How little thought we have given to the value of that poured-out life! We magnify His death on the cross, but until we are dealt with by the Spirit about dying to our self-life ó to every area of the soul: mind, will, emotions, desires and affections, we have a limited appreciation for the fact that Christ yielded up each of these areas unto God. It was His yielded Life that made Him that unblemished offering!
Although the sweet-savour offerings were mentioned first, yet in practice, the sin and trespass offerings were the ones that were first applied to the life. This gives us the order of Christís work as viewed by man. Our view begins where the Offering meets our sin and failure. We cannot, in any way, be a sweet-savour to God, enjoying communion with Him, until we have embraced the Sin Offering to deal with our sin nature. After that we can, through Christ, be an acceptable worshipper.
But Jesus, being born of incorruptible seed, of the Holy Ghost, needed not to first offer for sin! He simply needed to yield His soul ó that very human part of Him ó that self-part, to His Father. And because He did so, we know that, in Him, we also shall be able to subdue the workings of the soulish realm in us and let the spirit rule even as God intended. O, blessed hope!
The Offerings which were not of a sweet-savour are the Sin Offerings (Lev.4; 5:11-13); and the Trespass Offerings; (Lev. 5:14-19; 6:1-7). As Christians, we have tended to lump these two words, sin and trespass, together, as if they were the same thing. By so doing we have obscured precious truths that would set us free should we understand them. If there were not a difference, there would have been but one offering portraying sin. Since there are two, the Lord is saying something much deeper than we have yet understood ó O blessed mystery, revealed by the Holy Spirit, to set us free!
Remember that God is the actor upon the stage of this drama. He has acted out these offerings before our eyes that we might more fully understand our redemption. He has shown a difference here and it is important to our joy and peace to know what it is. So many are mourning who should be praising, for they do not see that atonement has been made and accepted for sin in them, as well as for their acts of trespass. I John 1:9 makes this distinction: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." There are the acts or deeds of trespass. "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." There is the sin nature atoned for.
The Sin Offering, though without spot or blemish, was yet not a sweet-savour offering. The sweet-savour offerings were for acceptance ó sin is not seen at all. Jehovah is satisfied with the perfect life offered to Him. The Sin Offering is for expiation (atonement, making amends). In it, the offering is charged with the sin of the offerer. Rather than; offering something sweet and pleasant to Jehovah, the offerer now comes as a convicted sinner, to receive in his offering (which represented himself), the judgment due to his sin.
"The Holy One of God," Himself without sin, became our substitute and confessed our sins as His sins and bore their penalty. Taking His peopleís sins as His own, He says, "My sins, O God, are not hid from Thee" Psa. 69:5. "Innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me: they are more than the hair of my head; therefore my heart faileth me" Psa. 40:12. Such unspeakable love, that the Holy One of God should bear the sin of sinners and be made a curse for those who were cursed!
Ponder in your heart the perfectness, yet the rejection of the victim in the Sin Offering. Had there been a spot or blemish of any kind on Jesus, His offering could not have atoned for sin. Had there been one unholy desire in His heart, one imperfect act, word or thought, He could not have borne the sin of others; He would Himself have needed atonement.
II Cor. 5:21 says, "For he hath made him (to be) sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Do you notice a contradiction here? It was Godís requirement that the Sin Offering be completely spotless or it could not qualify to bear the sin before the Lord. So, if Christ became sin, He would no longer be an acceptable offerer. In some versions of the Bible, marginal references render this more literally. Rather than saying Jesus became sin they say He became a sin-offering , which is the truth of the matter. That spotless Lamb of God was completely unchanged in His holy nature when He bore our sin; He did not become sin. Instead, He was deemed worthy to be the Sin Offering for the sin of all mankind! A study of the Offerings brings out this truth in a very real way.
We learn the measure of the love of Jesus when we see Him not a sweet savour, accursed of God and afflicted! He Who was Lord of the Tabernacle was cast forth as unclean "without the camp." "But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we were healed" Isa. 53:5.
In His Love He saw us ruined and knew that fallen man could not bear the curse and live. "Then He said, Lo, I come." He came and confessed our sins; as our representative He bore their curse and received at Godís hand, our judgment. "He by Himself purged our sins" Heb. 1:3. God now is "just to forgive us," for Christ has borne our sins.
"He His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, might live unto righteousness" I Peter 2:24. "For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord" Rom. 6:10,11.
What certainty of salvation do we have who trust in Jesus? Are we looking to a future work, a work yet to be accomplished, a promised work? Nay, but a finished work is our sure foundation. When Jesus gave up the Ghost, He said, "It is finished."
Godís testimony is,"He bore our sins." And, having borne them, "He was raised BECAUSE WE WERE JUSTIFIED" Rom. 4:25. Oh, what realms of truth are hidden through the careless use of one little word! The King James here reads, "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." Some more recent translations,as the Amplified, render this word more perfectly from the original so that it reads: "He was delivered because of our sins; and raised, because of our justification."
"Whatís in a word?" you may ask. In this respect, a tremendous assurance and certainty of salvation is dependent upon the proper word being used here. The scripture more perfectly says, "He was raised because we were justified." Had we not been justified, Christ could not have been raised! His resurrection, and ours in Him, is the proof that we are justified. If, on the other hand, His offering had not been accepted, He could not have been raised from the dead! "And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins" I Cor. 15:17.
If sin has not already been borne, how shall it be borne? Should Christ die again ó be again a Sin Offering? Nay, for "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many" and "now there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin" Heb.9:28; 10:18,26. If He has not borne our sins, He can never bear them. If He has borne them, why do we not have peace? If the Sin Offering on Calvary has not met all sin and every trespass, whatever remains can never be pardoned. Some believers act like this is true. But the truth is that Jesus for His people bore not some sins, but all sins: and "by Him all that believe are justified from all things" Acts 13:39. "He hath forgiven us all trespasses" Col. 2:13. The Cross has cancelled them all. And we have this tremendous witness that Jesus was raised because we were justified. The resurrection was dependent upon our sins being forgiven and atoned for. If they were not, Jesus would have remained in death with all our sins upon Him. But we see the victorious One, "when He had Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" Heb. 1:3. Having paid the consequences of sin and endured the awful judgment of it, the Law could now declare that all sin was atoned for forevermore. The demands of offended justice were satisfied, and God is now just ó right, fair, righteous, lawful, proper, correct ó to forgive us and to declare us justified before Him (to be free from blame or guilt).
The three sweet-savour offerings were burnt on the altar in the Tabernacle. But in the case of the Sin Offering, the bullock was killed at the door of the Tabernacle before the Lord. Here "the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and with his legs, his inwards, and his dung, even the whole bullock shall he carry without the camp . . . and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out. . . " Lev. 4:11,12.
The fat (strength) and the kidneys (will) were removed and burnt on the altar as Godís portion to show that the offering, though made a sin-bearer, was in itself perfect. (Lev. 4:8,9). The blood was sprinkled in three places: before the vail of the sanctuary, and upon the horns of the sweet incense altar, and lastly it was poured out at the bottom of the Brazen Altar of the Burnt Offering in the Outer Court. By the Spirit, I see the Blood being applied to every realm of our spiritual walk. At salvation, we behold the Blood at the Brazen Altar, signifying that our sin is judged (brass means judgment), and atoned for by Christís Blood.
Secondly, the vail of the sanctuary speaks of the second experience we have in Christ, even the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The sanctuary represents the realm of the Spirit,and the blood of Christ, being sprinkled there, signifies that the believer will now know its value in a greater measure. Its power becomes more real in cleansing and in deliverance than ever before.
Thirdly, the Blood is sprinkled on the sweet incense altar that stands before the Holy of Holies. Once a year, during the Feast of Tabernacles, the coals from off the altar are taken into that awesome place where the High Priest stands in the very presence of God. But not without the Blood, for he has offered Sin Offerings for himself, for his household of priests, and for all the congregation of Israel, and has sprinkled that Blood upon the mercy seat seven times. (Seven signifies completion, fullness ó a complete atonement, if you please!)
His Firstfruits remnant company are being prepared to enter into that last vail, to appear in the very presence of the Living God. For some who have regarded the Blood as irrelevant to a deeper walk, please note that the Blood of Christ, our Sin Offering, is found at every stage of our spiritual walk ó at salvation, at the Baptism of the Spirit,and at the fullness of the Spirit at the Feast of Tabernacles. It speaks of the spirit-life of Christ outpoured for us which we need to appropriate in its many depths and various ministrations. Jesus, teach us more of Your sprinkled Blood!
The body of the bullock was cast forth without the camp. Who can tell what this must have cost our Lord? Who can tell the secrets of that hour when Jesus fulfilled this type and was led forth without the camp, to bear the vengeance due to sinners? He Who was "greater than the Temple" was considered unclean and unworthy to enter it. Christís words alone reveal what is unspeakable: "My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken me?"
As a man He felt the approach of death by painful, shameful, lingering suffering. But the consequence of imputed sin ó the hiding of His Fatherís face óthis was His anguish. Surely he suffered from the betrayal of His disciples, the cruel mocking of His foes, the reproach, the contempt, the spitting. In His own words again He tells us, "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spittings" Isa. 50:6.
Yet, this was not what caused Him to cry out in anguish, "My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?" His anguish was the hiding of His Fatherís face. He Who had never known what it was to have a thought out of communion with His Father, now should be cast out of His presence. Unthinkable!
Iím sure many of us have felt that the great anguish Jesus experienced in the Garden when he sweat great drops of blood, was a silent plea that He might be spared the physical suffering of the cross. Might I suggest that we could be looking at that scene too carnally ó from manís viewpoint and not the Lordís? We have never known what it is like to have unbroken communion with the Father. If we had, would it not be most precious to us and the hardest thing to give up? In the Garden, looking forward to this hour, Jesus cried, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me." But even here He says, "Nevertheless not my will ó but Thine be done." Knowing what being forsaken of God would involve, He says to the Father, "Not my will, but Thy will."
We have no way of measuring the depths of this surrender, for we can see it only from the carnal perspective ó the pain, the shame, the awfulness of bearing all of manís sins. We have not known what it could be like to "do only those things I see the Father do," or to "seek not my own will, but the will of the Father"; or to know that "of myself I can do nothing." Consequently, we can hardly understand the anguish that Jesus experienced at the hiding of His Fatherís face.
He might have refused to drink this cup of trembling. But how else could His Father have been glorified? How else should we have been redeemed? To fulfil all righteousness "He suffered for sins," and "the Just One" died for the unjust. He took our place that we may take His. He was "cast out" so that we might be "brought nigh" by the Blood of the Lamb. What security there is in knowing we have such a Sin-bearer! It is only through unbelief, or ignorance of the Sin-bearer that we should yet mourn under sin or guilt.
There is a very real sense in which the Firstfruits remnant of His sons coming forth in this day are also cast out by the religious systems of the day, deemed unfit for their temples. These are cast out without the camp, bearing His reproach, as they own no other Head but Christ, and for this they suffer and bear reproach even as He did.
It may be a surprise to some, as it was to myself, that there were two offerings required to portray the full offering for sin. Yet this distinction is very instructive and full of comfort to our souls. Our inability to have seen this sooner is that we are prone to always look at what man does rather than at what he is. While we may be willing to admit that he does evil, we are reluctant to consent that he is evil.
But God judges what we are as well as what we do. He judges our sin, the sin in us, as much as our trespass. He sees sin in us óour evil nature ó as clearly as our trespasses, which are but the fruit of that nature. He knows the root is evil, and so will be the buddings. Recently, the Spirit has been bringing this verse to my attention again and again: ". . . many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men. And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man" John 2:23-25..
Thus the Sin Offering is for sin in our nature; the Trespass Offering is for the fruits of that nature. No particular act of sin is mentioned in the Sin Offering, but a certain person is seen standing as a sinner. In the other, for trespass, certain acts are enumerated, but the person never appears. In the Sin Offering we see a person offering for himself as a sinner. In the Trespass Offering we see certain acts which need to be atoned for, and an offering is made for these particular offences.
In the Sin Offering, because no list of misdeeds could be used to establish guilt, some other means was used to prove the person to be a sinner in need of making an oblation for his sin. (See Lev. Ch. 4). The sin was brought by the law that says, "If he shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments." This also shows us why there were neither Sin or Trespass Offeings before the Law was given. The early patriarchs offered Burnt and Meal Offerings but never Sin Offerings, for "where there is no law there is no transgression" Rom. 4:15. Paul tells us, "By the law is the knowledge of sin," and again, "Sin is not imputed where there is no law." The law convicted man of sin, making it necessary to have a Sin Offering.
At times in our witnessing for Christ, we have found a person responding in self-defence, "Why, Iíve kept all the commandments. Iíve been a good neighbor and Iíve never killed anyone!" Satan has beguiled us into trying to prove ourselves holy by that which God gave to prove us sinners. The law was given not to make man holy, nor to prove that he is holy if he can keep the commandments, but instead to prove us to be in ourselves sinners and only sinners. No man but Jesus has ever fully kept the comandments, for He alone was able to love God with all His heart, soul, mind and strength; and His neighbor as Himself.
The unconverted can discern only acts of trespass; a sin nature is unrecognized, as it is in the liberal churches of our day. The thought of their inheriting the sin of their father Adam is quite repugnant to them. It doesnít fit in with their social gospel. If they could just ban the Bomb, get equal rights for women, or homosexuals, or whoever, and educate the people so that they would gradually improve themselves, they feel they will have done the will of God. They know not that they are born in sin and shapen in iniquity and no amount of reform or education can change their state. Only the Sin Offering can cleanse their hearts and bring forth a new nature within!
The young Christian is only aware that he has done this evil and that evil, never realizing that in himself he is evil. It seems that we have to suffer many "X-rated testimonies" as these new believers tell in gory detail all the evil deeds they committed before the Lord saved them. It has become so bad that young people who have never strayed far off the path to taste the depths of evil, feel they donít have any testimony. They have no exciting things to tell. It seems to them that the Lord has done very little for them in comparison to those who have been delivered from such depths of sin.
Ah! Christian! Take heart! The fact that the Lord has kept you from evil is far greater than to have pulled you out of it! People will flock to hear these sordid testimonies, not thinking for one moment that the deeds of trespass are being glorified and magnified, rather than the One Who offered for both sin and trespass. For not only are their deeds evil, but so is their nature and they know it not.
The more mature believer sees not only what he has done, but what he is, is his sorrow. The constant sense of indwelling evil as "when we would do good, evil is present with us," brings a daily struggle. We find that "the spirit in our hearts cries Abba, Father," yet the flesh still "lusteth against the Spirit." Painfully, this one is learning what he is in Adam and finds great comfort to know that indwelling sin, as well as wicked acts was put away by His sacrifice.
How little is this understood by His saints, for when the Spirit begins to reveal their self-life to them that they might learn to die to it, they seem to respond in grief and doubtings that God still loves them. To know what is in their nature is so disturbing that they are convinced that God must remain far from them because of their condition. My counsel to such is: "God is not shocked nor surprised by what is manifesting in your life. He knew all the time that it was there. You are the only one who did not know it! And now that He is revealing your self-nature to you, take heart, for He is dealing with you as a son! He is visiting you in a very special, personal way to cleanse every area of your life so that His nature might come forth in you. He wants you to co-operate with Him in dealing with everything that He exposes ó rather than being horrified by it and despairing of being accepted by God. Your acceptance is secure through the Burnt Offering ó that yielded life of Christ. (Can you add to or nullify that?) Now, that same Spirit of Christ is going to teach you how to yield all the areas of your soul so that you might "be a son indeed!"
Our sin is indeed most hateful. But has Christ not offered the Sin Offering? And has it not been attested to by His resurrection from the dead? All our mourning, our doubts and fears are counted as unbelief and as a questioning of what God testifies of Jesus. We may claim the amount and evil of our sinfulness as reason to grieve over our sin, or we may plead fear of presumption, or humility, but we are, in Godís eyes, casting aspersions (slander) on the value of Christís offering. "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water" Heb. 10:22.
Not only was "His soul an offering for sin, (Sin Offering), but "He was wounded for our transgressions." The judgment for trespass was also laid upon Him. Trespass is defined as: "to act treacherously; to be faithless; to do wrong; a moral offence." By Godís definition, if a man wronged God, that was trespass; if he wronged or robbed his neighbour, that was trespass.
In Lev. 5:15,16 we read, "If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord; . . . then he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done." Again, "If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; or found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found."
In every case of trespass, there was wrong done. An act of evil caused anotherís hurt. We read of violently taking, deceitfully getting, and swearing falsely about that which is found. The offering for this act was offered by the offerer rather than the priest, as in the Sin Offering. It was offered ó not because he was evil, but because he had done evil. The act of wrong, rather than the person, is always noted in the Trespass Offering.
In addition to actual wrong deeds that a person knows he has done, there might also be trespass, as well as sin, of which the trespasser was ignorant. Our justice system says, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse," and this is founded on the biblical principle that we are discussing. It is found in Lev. 5:17, "And if a soul sin and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord; though he was not aware of it, yet he is guilty,; and shall bear his iniquity."
Unintentional trespass is especially seen in regard to "wrong in holy things." We do not find this same problem when it comes to "wrong done to a neighbor." Very simply, our natural conscience notices manís claims far more easily than it can understand Godís standard for approaching Him in holy things. When little of holy things is seen or understood, when trespass is thought of merely as affecting man, then unknowing trespass in holy things will not be known or understood.
Should a man spend much time in prayer before the Lord, he will be made more aware of Godís holiness and will realize some act of trespass in his prayer, praise, worship or ministry that he had been ignorant of. Personally, I have been made aware that I was "barging into the presence of the Lord" with my needs and questions first and foremost without properly recognizing His holiness. I have learned to worship ó to praise and express my love to the Lord before I present my petitions or my questions. Needless to say, the sense of His presence is greater and my heart is more uplifted than if I had simply received the answer to my request.
In this lukewarm Laodicean age we hear many light and irreverent names used in reference to the Lord. I believe these could be considered "a trespass against His holiness." He is called "the man upstairs" and many other names which are disrespectful and have no place in our vocabulary if we know anything at all of His holiness and majesty.
In recent years we have heard more personal accounts of the Lord Himself dealing directly with "acts of trespass in holy things," even in the very courts of heaven! We heard Howard Pittman tell how he died and was taken to heaven. He wanted to entreat the Lord that he might return, as he was running in an election. He had served the Lord for thirty years and had done many good works in His Name. Surely the Lord would grant his request! I quote from his own words:
"God answered me in a supernatural, audible voice that was neither sweet nor lovely. It was like the sound of tornadoes, volcanoes, and the roar of the ocean all rolled up into one. When this thunderous voice came over the walls, His wrath hit me and knocked every ounce of strength out of my being and God told me who I was ó not who I thought I was. He said, "Your faith is dead. Your works are in vain. The life you lived and offered to Me as a life of Christian service I rejected as an abomination in the Pharisee. What made you think I would take that from a Laodicean Christian? Untold millions are living the same life and they stand in danger of My wrath."
"Of my works, He said, ĎThey are My works and they are good works. Iíve ordained that My people offer Me those works every day. But in your case they are in vain, for you did not do them for Me ó you did them for a false god and I cannot accept them, for I said in My Word that I am a jealous God and I will have no other gods before Me."
"I said, ĎBut Lord, I called you Lord every day!í But I saw that I had never made Him Lord of my life. As Lord, He means Ďthe ruler of life,í not one whom you call Lord, but one whom you serve. I protested, ĎIíve never known another God! Iíve done all these works in Your Name!í
"Yes," He said, "you did. You did all those works in My Name, but you did not do them for Me. You lied. You did them to your god and they are in vain.í Then He named my false god: self. Because self ruled in my life, Jesus had no place.
I was allowed to continue to plead for my life until I finally saw that I was pleading for the wrong life; the least of my possessions was this old physical life. But housed within it was an immortal life that was very important: a life that will never cease to exist. When I saw that my natural life was no longer important, but only my Fatherís will, then He gave my life back to me and sent me back to my body. He gave me a commission to His Church which is going to sleep." (Unquote).
It is clear to see what the trespass against God was in this instance. Would you agree that self-serving is likely the greatest wrong that we commit against God? And yet, it is often done in ignorance.
We know of a Baptist minister who was one year away from retirement and had, in his own eyes, served God faithfully for many years. Some Spirit-filled members of his congregation were praying fervently that the Lord would deal with this pastorís heart and show him the way of the Spirit. The Lord answered that prayer and told him, in essence, the same things about himself that He had told Howard Pittman. He revealed to him that his life of service had been ordered by self ó not by God ó for He had not led or directed any of it. It must have been quite a shock for him to hear the Lordís judgment upon his lifeís work when it was almost over.
Is then our Lord such a hard task-master that it is impossible to please Him? Not at all! All He is asking of us is a life yielded to Him. Instead of this, we have given Him Cainís offering, the fruit of our ground ó our works of righteousness, and He, as of old, will not regard it because it proceeds from self. Our self-works are "a trespass against God in holy things; and we knew it not!
The Trespass Offering teaches us that neither our conscience nor our measure of light, nor our ability, is the standard by which both sin and trespass are to be measured. Only the truth of God can be that standard! "Though he was not aware of it, yet he is guilty; he hath certainly trespassed against the Lord" Lev. 5:17.
If manís conscience or light of understanding were the standard, we would see, as we do today, many different rules. Right or wrong, good or evil would then depend on a manís understanding rather than on Godís truth. If you look around today, you will find that this is the standard used in the world and in some extent, in the churches. In homosexual acts, the standard is "between consenting adults" ó not what God has said about it in His Word. In abortion, the standard is that the womanís conscience should dictate ó no one should be able to tell her what to do with her own body. She has her rights! There is a great rebellion in the earth against "being told what to do." Man wants no restrictions on his will ó least of all, to have Godís truth as his standard!
The prodigal son, when he left his fatherís house to spend his inheritance in riotous living, eventually found himself feeding pigs. This was quite a fall from the fancy places he had been when he had money. In comparison to his fatherís house, he realized that he was in a filthy place among unclean creatures. Would he have argued that the pigs are unconscious of their state, therefore the distinction between what is clean and unclean must be given up? Would he have said that there is no use trying to enforce any standards because the pigs cannot tell the difference? No ó he knew he was in an unclean place and made the decision to return to his fatherís house.
We are to judge clean and unclean, not by anotherís perception of it, but by our own, in the light and knowledge that has been given to us by God. The ignorance of those who wish to be unclean, is not to be our standard. God still judges evil as evil wherever He meets it, though in His grace He has means for pardoning it. His judgment is never altered by our blindness, for it is our sin alone that has caused the blindness. Things that others allow in their lives we cannot allow because Godís standard must now be our standard.
There is another aspect of the Trespass Offering that sets it apart from the Sin Offering. It is a most remarkable difference and I pray
that your heart shall rejoice as did mine when I understood it. This is what the Lord said to Moses, "If anyone commits a breach of faith and sins unwittingly in the holy things of the Lord, he shall bring his trespass or guilt offering to the Lord, a ram without blemish out of the flock, valued by you in shekels of silver, that is, the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass or guilt offering" Lev. 5:15 Amp.
In addition to the ramís life laid down as the offering, money was paid to the injured party. It was paid in shekels of the sanctuary according to the priestís evaluation of the trespass. Not only that, but ". . . he shall make restitution for what he has done amiss in the holy thing, and shall add a fifth to it and give it to the priest; and the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass or guilt offering, and he shall be forgiven" Lev. 5:16.
Have you ever heard of such a thing? Not only does the transgressor have to repay the full value of the wrong that he did to the injured party, but he must add a fifth part more to it! And ó best of all, it is given to the victim ó not to the priest, nor to the lawyer, nor to the court! The amount of the injury, according to the priestís valuation of it, is paid in shekels of the sanctuary to the injured person. The main thought here is that the injured party is repaid the wrong, not that trespass is punished. . By these pictures we learn to see more of the righteous, loving nature of our Father.
The payment was made in "the shekels of the sanctuary" which were the appointed standard by which Godís rights were measured. They represent the truest measure, even Godís standard, by which He weighs all things. Trespass is weighed by this standard and the value of it is paid to the injured person.
God was injured through trespass in His holy things. His rights and claims have been slighted, ignored and unpaid. Man was, in many points, a thief, taking for himself the fat (the strength of his life), which was Godís claim in the offering. Could we say that God had been a loser at manís hands? It would indeed seem so, but at the hands of Christ the loss has been repaid. Whatever was lost through man in the first Adam, the Last Adam, even the Lord from heaven, has made up to the full. Glory to God! Whatever Godís claim could be: whether worship, obedience, honour, or service, whatever man could rob Him of, all this He received again from man in Christ. Not only God in regard to His holy things, was injured by trespass. Man also suffered from trespass from his fellowman, in different ways. He, too, receives as much again. Christ for man as offerer of the Trespass Offering, must offer to injured man the value of the original injury, plus more!
Those believing ones who accept Christís offering, find their loss through manís trespass more than paid. If trespass wronged men of life, peace, or joy, he may claim and receive repayment through Christ. Not only as for man to God, but for man to man, Christ stands the One in whom manís wrongs are remedied. All wrong done to God has been met. God is no loser by trespass. The wrong done to man is also paid for. Man need not be a loser, any more than God.
To illustrate this from my personal life, the Lord gave me a baby girl, speaking to me about her birth before ever she was conceived. He also took her away when she was a little over a year old. He brought me great comfort at her passing. I experienced Him as "the God of all comfort." (Written in our booklet, The Church Age Passes, available upon request). In addition, He promised me that He would give me many spiritual daughters who would be a blessing to me, and He has done so óI am richly blessed. And "one-fifth added," for I have a beautiful daughter-in-law and three little grand-daughters. Beside which, I am able to comfort others "with the comfort wherewith I was comforted."
Even in monetary losses, or loss of things by trespass against us, the Lord has always made it up to us ó more than the original wrong!
When Satan was talking to Eve in the Garden, he accused God of being grudging, unloving and selfish when he said, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Eveís heart was opened to temptation by questioning Godís love. In doubts of Godís love, self-love entered in. All the world is doing what Eve did ó thinking God does not love them; they must then love themselves. Man turns away from God to find his joy in outward things ó in things that cannot satisfy. Bill and I frequently say to each other, "If people only knew the nature of the Lord, they could not help but love Him! It is because He is not known that His love is doubted and spurned." Rather than grudging that we "should be like gods," it was His divine and blessed purpose from the beginning to make us in His own image ó in the likeness of His divine nature. Yet, we could not even know or desire that nature had we not started at the bottom to know the nature of self. Then only could we desire and appreciate God, whose nature is the opposite of self!
I have said all that to introduce to you another facet of the goodness, love and fairness of our Lord in His dealings with man as brought out in the Trespass Offering. "And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto. . . " Lev.5:16. Not only is the original claim satisfied, but something more, "a fifth", is added to it. The history of where "the fifth part" originated is of keen interest.
"The fifth" is found first in the story of Joseph(Gen. 47). We see that Egypt was Pharoahís land and the Egyptians were his people, yet in some way they were still independent of him as each man tilled his own small plot of ground. Then we read that "when that year was ended, the Egyptians came to Joseph the second year, and said unto Him, "We will not hide it from my Lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle: there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies and our lands: wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharoah; and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.
"And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharoah; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharoahís. Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold I have bought you this day and your land, for Pharoah: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part to Pharoah, and four parts shall be your own. And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharoahís servants. And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharoah should have the fifth part."
"The fifth part" paid to Pharoah was the acknowledgment that all had been forfeited to him through misery. Although they had been Pharoahís people and land before the famine, they were now his by another claim, because of their need. From that time forward, the payment of "a fifth" in scripture shows that the person paying it has lost and forfeited the whole thing for which "the fifth" was offered. It witnessed that the whole thing was yielded up ó not by choice ó but of necessity; as a debt, not as a free gift.
In the Trespass Offering we see that "the fifth" that was given was not given as a gift, but as payment of a debt for wrong or injury inflicted on another (either God or man).
This "fifth" has also some connection with the tithe for it is two tenths, or a double tithe. One tenth was paid by Godís people until something was forfeited by trespass and then a double tithe was required. "The fifth" in the Trespass Offering was paid as the acknowledgment of the double claim.
How does all this apply to us as believers? Can we see that, by the addition of this fifth part to the original claim, the injured party is better off than he was at the beginning? Is it possible that both God and man should be gainers from the entrance of trespass? How unfathomable are His ways! Who would think that from man in Christ, that God receives back more than that of which sin had robbed Him?
"Five" is also the number of grace. The Egyptians asked for grace to receive seed when they were entirely poor and destitute and it was given on the condition that their persons and their land belonged to the Pharoah. He entrusted the land back to them to work it for him. They could use what they needed for their sustenance, but they must return unto him the amount of grace that he required. Can we see that, because of trespass, God has a claim upon us that He didnít have before? All that we have is His ó our body, our land. We are but stewards of the grace of God. Because he brought us back from our state of abject poverty ó where there was no "seed" within us to sustain life ó we belong to Him fully. And His seed, the life of the Spirit, sustains us and keeps us alive. We are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and our offspring with us; that seed that satisfied Him, and for whom he poured out His soul! And what we owe Him for redeeming us back from our lost, miserable state, is "the fifth" which signifies that from henceforth we must deal in grace to our fellow-man and to God. We cannot reckon that God owes us anything, as a debt that He must pay us, but rather that He has given us life and a land (of spiritual inheritance) as a free gift! Glory! We, in Christ, are debtors, to deal in grace far beyond the claims of justice.
Before trespass entered, God only claimed His part or right, which was a right to holy things. Since trespass, His claim is increased. It is now the original right plus the fifth part added. The fact that God had been wronged by man, and that Christ stands for man confessing trespasses, gives God a claim upon Him. This claim covers not only the original right, but far more than the first-claimed holy things.
Before trespass entered, man also had his claim. That claim was his right. That claim was justice. Man has been injured by man. But because Christ stands for man as his substitute, therefore man has a claim on Christ, not only for the original right, but for greater blessings.
Christ never refuses this claim and deals with us in grace far beyond the claims of justice. We too, as "in Him", as debtors to Him, are not free to shrink from giving grace to our fellow-man as our due. Those in the world may feel that to mete out justice is the highest path which man can attain. But Christ has shown us a higher way and we are required "to walk as He walked": He yielded, not only rights, but grace, to every man.
In the past few years as the Spirit has begun to teach us kingdom principles, we have learned more about the debt of grace we owe than ever before. When, at one time, we would have dealt with our brother "after their trespass," now we find ourselves obliged to deal in grace. And I must admit, that at times my grace has not always been sufficient for the situation. It would be much simpler to tell this person what I think of their actions!
At such times, the Spirit removes me from the scene until I am able to deal in grace and not in condemnation. This has happened to both Bill and I, and we have marveled at His workings.
As many of our friends know, we were defrauded (by an act of trespass!) of $15,000 when we were about to build our house. We were never able to get it back, but we can truthfully say that Christ repaid us in so many ways that we found we were gainers after all, and not losers. Precious brethren came to our aid so that our house was built. And the spiritual lessons were many and the dyings-to-self from material things were so needful. We learned that man can not diminish us in any way, for all we really possess is that portion we have of that "holy seed" nature within!
What, actually, is a Christian? Is it one who has signed his name to a church roll, or one who tithes faithfully, or one who attends "the church of his choice" regularly? There is only one thing that makes a person a Christian, and that thing is union with Christ. This is not some imaginary thing. It is a reality, wrought by the Holy Spirit. The Church is "in Christ Jesus," and it follows that, "as He is, so are we in this world," "identified with Him in His shame and in His joys, in His death, His burial, and His resurrection."
This union has very definite consequences as pertaining to our standing and to our walk in Christ. Faith perceives our standing in Christ. We have peace with God when we consider that man was reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus. By faith, we see His perfect sacrifice of Himself meeting Godís claim on man, and thus in His person we are reconciled to God. His place with God is now understood to be our place, for He offered for us and we are in Him. What peace this gives if by faith we can receive it fully!
Yet, if our union with Christ is a reality, it not only affects our standing, but also our walk. By our walk, we demonstrate the measure of understanding and light that we have. Because of our lack of spiritual power (for self still reigns), we may understand in our minds much more light than we are able to walk in. By the operation of the Spirit working in us, He takes the truth or revelation revealed to us as "head knowledge" and works it into our hearts through many fiery processes. It doesnít come easily! You donít just say, "Eureka! I have it!" and see it done. No, He does as He said He would do: "I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. . . " Heb. 8:10.
"He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked" I John 2:6. It is the work of the Spirit to verify in all of Christís members what is already true for them in their Head. "Verify" is a strong word meaning, "to make true, to prove to be true by evidence; to confirm; to test the accuracy of." The operation of Spirit will show us the standard for our walk, and then He will teach us to judge in ourselves all that is contrary to the walk of Christ in the light of our holy calling. When we know it is true that in Him we are dead and risen, in the knowledge of this we seek to be conformed to Him. The things which are true for us in Him must surely be made true in a very practical way, in our soulís experience (in the areas of the mind, will, emotions, desires and affections). Simply "reckoning it so" is not the complete answer. "Reckoning" shows us our place, sets our sights on it, and encourages us to "go through" as the Spirit does the inworking of these truths in His own personal way in each one of us.
Some see part of this truth, such as our standing, and emphasize that to the exclusion of the other part ó our walk. The church system has placed undue emphasis on the believerís walk without giving them the assurance of their standing in Christ. The result of this has been when one fails or falls, he thinks he is lost or forsaken and beyond the reach of the Saviourís love. Or, if the Spirit is dealing with his self-life and begins to show him unexplored realms of his own heart, he finds the truth of his fallen nature so abhorent that he feels he has utterly failed God and shall never "make it."
These lose the joy and strength that comes from knowing that they are apprehended of God. Paul explains it thus, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" Phil. 3:12. An interesting word ó "apprehended". It means "to seize or to take prisoner; to capture or to arrest; to perceive or understand." Paul, in bonds, called himself "a prisoner of Christ," not "a prisoner of Rome." Can we not take delight in knowing that our Lord seizes upon us with godly jealousy, holding us close to His bosom until we relinquish all that is not like Him?
The Lord spoke to me while I was going through a trial, "I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy." He caused me to understand that He was jealous of anything in my life that was not of Him, of His nature, and He would continue to try me until all was fully yielded.
Seeing our union with Christ, that He died for us, that we died in Him, must also cause us to see that, if this union is real, it must involve our daily dying with Him. There is our walk being cleansed because of our standing in Him. We cannot emphasize one above another, or neglect one for the other. They must walk hand-in-hand if we are to be at peace.
In a secondary sense, we also are offerers and our bodies are offerings. As it is written, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice" Romans 12:1. This we do as a result of our acceptance in Him, and as the fruit of our union with Him. Though in self we are poor, weak, and worthless, yet our loving sacrifice of self, entered into willingly is acceptable through Him. As alive with Christ; as one with Him; as in Him dead and risen; we seek always "to be made conformable to His death" Phil. 3:10.
The sum of the matter is that Jesus was content to be nothing, that
God might be all. May this reality burn in our hearts and be manifested
in us through the power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ who gave
Himself for us.