by Michael Simons
Torah: Leviticus 1:1-5:26
No word is more insulting to modern thinking than sin. People would rather use any other word to describe human nature and behavior. Years ago, a book was written by an author titled, Whatever Happened to Sin? To avoid the hated word, many substitutes are given.
Here are some of them: Psychologists get around it by saying people simply make bad choices. Sigmund Freud, the father of Psychoanalysis, substituted for sin by stating there is a battle between the Id, a pleasure principle, and Superego, a harsh regulator. Philosophers often assert a different world view, such as situation ethics. Oriental religions are known for claiming there are cosmic forces, known as the yang and yin, operating in the universe. People in law enforcement call it lack of conformity to the law or something else. Psychiatrists, in criminal trials often assert the individual is NOT Guilty by reason of insanity. Sociologists have a tendency to blame external causes. Even many religious thinkers, both Jewish and Gentile, claim there is no sin because the Bible is an allegory or myth. However, according to the same Bible, the real cause of human misconduct is always sin-violation of God's clear standards of right and wrong. Sin MUST be dealt with. As believers, sin will block our relationship with God and cause us many problems.
This week's Torah Portion teaches us that unconfessed sin is still sin! Anyone is capable of this, including the high priest and leader. (That is why we must pray for our leaders since they have the awesome responsibility of standing as representatives between God and us} Sin is offensive to God, and the appropriate offering must be given for restitution. Sin is also collective. It is an infection that can spread throughout the entire body of believers. The proper remedy is the prescription given in the Bible, which is the sacrifice of atonement. We must respond to it by putting off sin. When we do, God will deal graciously with us and fellowship will be restored.
In our Haftarah Portion we are told by a patient, loving, but always holy God that he can become weary and burdened by sin. Yet, amazingly, he wants to hear our point of view. God tells the people to state the case for their innocence, review their past with him, and then argue the matter together. Excuses, excuses, excuses! We all have them. We can talk to God about them but remember that in the end, sin is still sin. It is a part of who we are. The passage goes on to say that our first father sinned. That would be Adam, whose human nature we all inherit. God, in his loving kindness, wants to blot out our sins. We must come clean with him. When we do, he will bring us into a right relationship with himself.
The Brit Chadasha states that the God of the Bible says, "Don't play with me regarding sin." This is certainly true regarding nations. History is littered with the shattered bones of leaders and nations who disregarded God's warning concerning his love for the Jews. It is also true regarding individual unbelievers and has meaning for God's people as well. We are told that if we claim to have fellowship with him, but walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. If we claim to be without sin, the word to describe us is deceived. On the other hand, if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Yeshua, his son, cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Then, another great promise is the well known verse, 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The word confess in the original is a compound which means to say the same thing. We must say the same thing about sin as God does. When we do, we are pleasing to him.
God sent Yeshua to give us eternal salvation. We must live daily in light of so great a salvation. Sin that is not confessed and repented of will block our relationship with him. We will be miserable, and no individual is more miserable than a believer with sin in their life. Once again, the standard is God's word. God is holy and commands us to be holy. Sin must be dealt with. Then, we can experience the beauty of restored fellowship with him.