Christ in the Sin Offering

Leviticus 4:1-2


  1. The sin offering is the one that most closely resembles Christ’s sacrifice.

    1. It is through Christ that our sins can be cleansed.

    2. They are continually cleansed if we walk in the light (1 John 1:7).

    3. They had to offer this sacrifice all the time, where the sacrifice we take advantage of was only offered once for all (Heb. 9:28a).

    4. We have a far better sacrifice than they ever did.

    5. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

  2. Recall the five sacrifices in Leviticus.

    1. Burnt offering brings ones closer to God – atonement.

    2. Grain offering is an offering of dedication to God – dedication.

    3. Peace offering is one of praise and acknowledgment – thanksgiving.

    4. Sin offering is our topic for today – purification.

    5. Trespass offering is next week – reparation.

  3. Sin offering is somewhat controversial.

    1. It is used in the case of unintentional sin.

    2. It was also used for natural functions, yet still called the sin offering.

    3. That’s why it is more accurately understood to be for purification rather than sin alone.

  4. It also gives different requirements depending on the one who sins:

    1. for the priest,

    2. for the whole congregation of Israel,

    3. for a ruler,

    4. for one of the common people,

    5. for the poor or very poor.


  1. When was it used?

    1. When an unintentional sin is committed (Lev. 4).

      1. These sins were inadvertently committed, from either negligence or ignorance.

      2. These sins were not premeditated or intentional.

      3. Some contend that these were also sins that were rationalized. He convinced himself it wasn’t sin somehow. Surely you know of those who rationalize away their sin—perhaps you have done that yourself.

      4. Others include sins of weakness (Rom. 7:19-20) – you might know it’s wrong, but you’re not strong enough to resist the temptation.

      5. The sacrifice was done when the person had been made aware of his sin.

    2. There were some sins that this sacrifice could not forgive.

      1. Capital offenses.

      2. Sins done openly, defiantly, arrogantly—open rebellion against God.

      3. Premeditated or intentional sins.

      4. Surely these sins were forgiven sometimes, but as a general rule, avoid these.

      5. Later in Leviticus 24, we’ll see the young man who blasphemed.

      6. In Numbers 15, we also see the man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath Day.

      7. The death penalty was given to these people for violating any of the Ten Commandments.

      8. It wasn’t necessarily the sin itself that doomed them, but the attitude in which they were done.

      9. In other words, they didn’t want forgiveness, so they weren’t granted any.

    3. There were other occasions, like at a moment of ritual uncleanness.

      1. This is mainly discussed in Lev. 12—15.

      2. This included after giving birth, the cleansing of leprosy, and the cleansing of mold.

      3. It was also done after other particular emissions.

      4. These will be discussed more in-depth later.

      5. This shows that it covers not just spiritual uncleanness, but physical uncleanness.

    4. But it did absolve certain other sins, including some intentional sins (Lev. 5:1-6).

      1. This included failing to testify in a particular matter—sin of omission.

      2. It also included touching something unclean—a dead body or some other uncleanness.

      3. When someone made a careless oath and failed to follow through.

      4. This showed the seriousness of being unclean, both physically and spiritually.

  2. Characteristics and Christ’s Fulfillment.

    1. Different sacrifices were expected of different types of people.

      1. Priest – a young bull is offered; done privately; blood covers certain places all over the tabernacle because the priest defiled it; sacrifice killed at door of tabernacle, ashes carried outside the camp.

      2. Whole congregation of Israel – a young bull is offered; elders lay hands on it; blood placed in certain key areas (veil, altar); sacrifice killed at door of tabernacle; carried outside the camp to be burned.

      3. Ruler (e.g. king, judge) – a young male goat is offered; sacrifice killed at door of tabernacle; blood placed on altar.

      4. A common person – a young female goat or lamb is offered; the rest is the same as the ruler.

      5. A poor person – two turtledoves or two pigeons are offered (one as sin; another as burnt); blood sprinkled on side of altar.

      6. A very poor person – 1/10 an ephah of fine flour, no oil or frankincense, is offered; a handful is burned on the altar, the rest the priest eats.

    2. What this meant for the different people.

      1. The priest’s sin is the gravest because that affects the sacrifices everyone offers. He is also very influential and can sway a lot of people (e.g. Jehoiada whose influence kept King Joash righteous in 2 Chron 24).

      2. An example of a group of Israelites sinning would be in the case of an innocent man having been killed, but the murderer never found. The people of the nearest town would have to offer a sacrifice (Deut. 21).

      3. A ruler was very influential. Recall when the king sinned, the whole country followed in his sins. Such was very severe.

      4. A common person does not have nearly that influence, but his own soul (and perhaps the souls of his family are at stake).

      5. The poor and very poor were in need of forgiveness, too, but could not afford some of the sacrifices.

    3. As Christians, the blood of Christ covers us all.

      1. We are all priests in Christ, but we all have the blood of Christ that cleanses us completely (1 Pet. 2:9). Without it, it could hinder our prayers (altar of incense symbolizes prayers—if it needed to be cleansed that indicates prayers were hindered by the priests sin).

      2. This shows us that whole congregations can be seen as having sinned. We note this in the letters to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation. At least one was in danger of having its candlestick removed if they did not repent (Rev. 2:5).

      3. Rulers and teachers do face a stricter judgment (James 3:1).

      4. We are all in need of the blood of Christ forgiving our sins! God does not show partiality, for rich and poor alike need to access His blood.

    4. Jesus was crucified outside the camp.

      1. This was the Place of the Skull, Golgotha, Calvary.

      2. It was outside the city walls of Jerusalem at this time.

      3. The sacrifice here was meant to be disposed of outside the camp just as Jesus was.

    5. Confession of sins was expected with the intentional sins.

      1. We see this in the NT as well.

      2. We are to confess our faults to one another (James 5:16).

      3. We are also to confess our sins so we can be forgiven (1 John 1:9).

      4. This is a public acknowledgment that we have done wrong and are resolved to change.

      5. Note the types of sin are sins of a public nature.

      6. We, too, are required to confess sins of a public nature.

      7. If I’m caught in adultery and you all know about it, in order to have fellowship with me, you all need to know that I have repented. This requires a public confession.

      8. Of course, we go to an extreme example, but for less extreme cases, it can depend on the nature of the sin and what the individual feels necessary to do.

    6. The males among the priests were to eat this sacrifice (6:24-30).

      1. This was to assure the one offering the sacrifice that his sins were forgiven.

      2. This also relayed to them how special the sacrificial blood was.

      3. We have a covenant established on better promises, so we are assured of our forgiveness through His Word.

      4. Christ’s blood is the most precious of all for it is the only thing that can truly forgive sins.


  1. It’s difficult to do all these justice.

    1. We are doing only a brief look at these things.

    2. There is so much that could be covered.

    3. Hopefully these highlights are helpful for you.

  2. This sin offering, an offering of purification is so important.

    1. The burnt offering brings us close to God.

    2. But the sin offering, offered first, cleanses us before we can get close.

    3. Our sacrifice, that of Christ, was so much better than bulls, goats, and sheep.

    4. Our sins can be fully forgiven through His blood (Heb. 10:10-14).

    5. Though confessing your sin might be necessary as it was for them.

  3. We are to thank God for His Son that He sent to die for us.

    1. If you don’t have access to His blood, I pray you remedy that this evening.

    2. You see for us, our hearts are sprinkled with His blood, when our bodies are washed in water (Heb. 10:22).

    3. His blood cleanses us when our bodies are washed in baptism.

    4. Will you do that this evening if you need to.

    5. If you have already, but need to confess something before us, please do so.

    6. Repent and pray that you might walk in the light once again and have your sins cleansed.