“And he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt-offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.” Leviticus 1:4
“And the priest shall make atonement for them; and it shall be forgiven them.”
“And the priest shall make atonement for him to cleanse him from his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.” Leviticus 4:26
The book of Leviticus is so often skipped among Christians today. They ask, “Why should I read it? It was for Israel back then under the law, but I am under grace. Why is it important to me?” We need to know that ‘every scripture is divinely inspired and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’ (2 Tim 3:16) and ‘all things were written for our learning.’
It is so striking that the book of Leviticus opens with offerings. Here in this book, God desires to show His people how they can draw near to Him in worship and how God accepts that worship. We have the first three offerings, in the first three chapters, which were voluntary offerings. The burnt offering, meal offering (or oblation) and peace offering were all offerings ‘by fire to Jehovah of a sweet odour.’ Our worship to God is also a sweet odour, if done in the way God desires. God set out His instructions of worship, and He seeks such as His worshippers. We have in Hebrews 13:15-16, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of the lips confessing his name. But of doing good and communicating of your substance be not forgetful, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Another well-known verse about sacrifice is in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the compassions of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your intelligent service.” So, when worship is done in the way that God desires, it shall be accepted for us. We now come to another offering, the sin offering. Now the other offerings were voluntary, as a means of worshipping God. However, this offering was not voluntary. This is a means by which a person can be forgiven when he or she commits sins. The sin offering is forgiveness on our part, but it was judgment on the Lord Jesus, when He was forsaken by God on the cross. Psalm 22 is the Psalm of the sin offering. We have in Hebrews 9:22, “and almost all things are purified with blood according to the law, and without blood-shedding there is no remission.” So this offering had to be applied with blood for forgiveness on the part of the offender. Does this not signify that only the precious blood of Christ can forgive and cleanse our sins? In 1 John 1:7 we read, “and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” So if we fall into sin and confess, we also read in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We need everyday to confess our weaknesses and faults, but may we continually offer our worship to God in the way that He desires, for all that He has done for us.