But I didn’t do it on purpose!

By David Phillips

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Behind the Ritual: Forgiveness in Leviticus

Leviticus 4 discusses the sins which are taken care of by the purification offerings. We talked about this in the last post. These are limited to those sins that are committed inadvertently. In 5:1-13, however, the scope of the offering is extended to include sins through omission or neglect. Omission carries the idea of a failure to do something one can and should do. Sometimes it is inadvertent – though that word is not used in Leviticus 5 – while at other times it is willful. Regardless of the intent, the issue is that omission and neglect is a sin and one that a person needs to be forgive from. Thus an offering had to be made.

Leviticus 5:1-13 addresses sins that were both inadvertent and non-defiant. This is an important distinction. In the Old Testament, flagrant, defiant violations could not be dealt with by an offering (Numbers 15:30). We can tell the difference between the inadvertent and defiant violations here because there seems to be a mitigating factor in each of these, a sense of “I forgot…” in verses 2-4.

Another key is that in Leviticus 5:1-13, something or someone happens that causes the person to realize what they have done (or not done) was wrong. When that awareness occurs, the sinner immediately brings a sin/purification offering.

The point of this is that when we realize we have messed up, we make things right, not simply by confessing the sin but by actually working to make things right. When a person does not confess the violation and set things right with God (ultimately) and/or another person (if involved), punishment will follow.

The key to these sins …read more

Read more here: Faith in a Post-Everything Culture


David has been a systems thinker most of his life. He has started three businesses as well as designed and developed systems and processes in existing organizations. He has a Doctorate in Leadership and has also done additional post-graduate work in communications.

He has also pastored 3 churches and loves to think about, write about and podcast about scripture, theology, and leadership.

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