This is the first year I have ever really observed Lent.
By observed, I mean that I’ve been asking more directly and plainly for God to show me how and where I fail to love.
So how’s that going, you might wonder?
Be careful what you pray for, friends. Exactly how many more days until Easter?
I’ve been particularly asking that the LORD who loves me would reveal blind-spots; the areas of sin hidden out of plain sight. Can God really show me what might be embedded so deeply in who I am that my thoughts and actions don’t feel like sin at all? What unintentional sins am I not aware of?
The LORD’s nature and passion today is the same as it was back-in-the-day, and will be forever. God has always hated sin, hates how it separates his creation from himself and from each other. In the same way, God has always shown more mercy, and ever more compassion and kindness for those He loves.
Sin might bring it, but God’s infinite grace will always bring more.
In the well-loved, and oft-requested bedtime book of Leviticus, God lays out in painstaking detail exactly how his people (almost 2 million living in the desert, after being rescued out of Egypt) would need to start bringing regular offerings to the tabernacle. The offerings would then need be sacrificed in a very particular way by the priests, all for the forgiveness of every type of sin: big, small, and even unintentional.
Here’s the thing: the sin and guilt offerings were not romantic tokens or smell-goody rituals. The day did not end well for the cooing turtle-doves carried to the tabernacle. The innocent lambs and bulls would become gruesome and violent displays of undeserved death.
Why? That seems horrible.
Through the burnt offerings of two-million people (imagine the scene!) God began to illustrate the utter seriousness and hopelessness of our personal and corporate sin; both intentional and unintentional. Someone had to pay.
(Lev. 4:2)“…when anyone sins unintentionally…he is guilty”
(Lev. 4:22) “…when a leader sins unintentionally…he is guilty”
(Lev. 4:13) “…if the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally, even though the community is unaware of the matter…they are guilty.”
If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though he does no know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible; he has been guilty of wrongdoing of the LORD. (Leviticus 5:17,19)
Leviticus is truth, saints: God hates all sin, and at the same time is infinitely merciful.
And Revelations is just as true.
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne.(Revelations 5:6)
Saints, with his own blood, the blameless Lamb purchased your soul for God.
He became the guilt offering, for even our unintentional sins.
Where sin abounds, God’s grace always brings more.
This week we have an opportunity as God’s chosen people, during the Lenten season, to consider all these things. One area in particular might be in the arena of politics and government.
Is it possible that you might have unintentional sin in how you think and act and respond in the area of politics? How do you speak or think of others who believe differently than you? What might be so deeply embedded in who you are that it doesn’t feel like sin at all?
Read about our Winter Series 2013: Cross and Culture evening coming up here.
Marvin Olaski, editor-in-chief of World magazine will be our guest speaker. He is incredible, and if you are in Austin, we’d really love to have you join us.
Peace, because the Lamb purchased your soul for God.