You Lost Me at Leviticus, Part 5

The Purification and Guilt Offerings
November 27, 2022 | By Tyler Carroll

The purification and guilt offerings were primarily about addressing the violation of boundaries we don’t use anymore, so what are we supposed to do with that? We may not have their boundaries, but many of us have boundaries when it comes to life with God. As followers of Jesus, we are called to be holy in all of life, at all times, because all of life is connected and it all counts.


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The sacrifices are practices through which God transforms the people who are meant to bless the world.

Gordon Wenham
“Everything that is not holy is common. Common things divide into two groups, the clean and the unclean. Clean things become holy, when they are sanctified. But unclean objects cannot be sanctified.Clean things can be made unclean, if they are polluted. Finally, holy items may be defiled and become common, even polluted, and therefore unclean…”

The purification offering and the guilt offering are mandatory sacrifices introduced to prevent and correct boundary violations.

Boundary #1
Sacred | Secular

Boundary #2
Vertical | Horizontal

Leviticus 4:27-35
“And if a single person from the common people should offend unintentionally in doing one of the LORD’s commands that should not be done, and bear guilt, or his offense that he committed is made known to him, he shall bring his offering, an unblemished female goat, for his offense which he committed. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the offense offering and slaughter the offense offering in the place of the ascension offering. And the priest shall take from its blood on his finger and place it on the horns of the ascension-offering altar, and he shall pour at the base of the altar. And all its fat he shall take away, as the fat was taken away from the communion sacrifice, and the priest shall turn it to smoke on the altar as a fragrant odor to the LORD, and the priest shall atone for him and it shall be forgiven him…”

Leviticus 6:1-7
The Lord spoke to Moses as follows: “If anyone sins and trespasses against the Lord by cheating his neighbor with regard to any deposit or security, by theft, or by oppressing his neighbor, or if he finds lost property, and cheats by swearing falsely in any of these cases in which men sin against each other, if he sins, and feels guilty, he must return what he stole or extorted, the deposit with which he was entrusted, or the lost property he found, or anything else about which he swore falsely: as soon as he feels guilty, he must repay in full and add a fifth extra to what he should give him. He must bring to the priest, as his reparation to the Lord, a perfect ram or its equivalent to be a reparation offering. The priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he will be forgiven for any of these things by which men bring guilt on themselves.”

Different does not mean disconnected

All of life is connected, which means all of life counts.

1 Corinthians 1:1-2
“Paul…to God’s assembly at Corinth, made holy in King Jesus, called to be holy, with everyone who calls on the name of our LORD, King Jesus, in every place…

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
“Why is it that it is often easier for us to confess our sins to God than to a brother? God is holy and sinless, he is a just judge of evil and the enemy of all disobedience. But a brother is sinful as we are. He knows from his own experience the dark night of secret sin. Why should we not find it easier to go to a brother than to the holy God? …we must ask ourselves whether we have not often been deceiving ourselves with our confession of sin to God, whether we have not rather been confessing our sins to ourselves and also granting ourselves absolution. And is not the reason perhaps for our countless relapses and the feebleness of our Christian obedience to be found precisely in the fact that we are living on self-forgiveness and not a real forgiveness? Self-forgiveness can never lead to a breach with sin; this can be accomplished only by the judging and pardoning Word of God itself.”