What if God only forgave the sins we did unintentionally, in other words, those sins we commit without meaning to or knowing at the time that what we were doing was wrong? Would you still have sins left over that wouldnt be forgiven in that case? Lets ask the question another way: Have you committed sins where you did what you did, absolutely knowing it was wrong, but you did it anyway? Because if you have intentionally sinned there is no sacrifice provided for you in the Law of Moses. What? (you say) that cant be, most of the sins Ive committed I knew were wrong before I did them, so the Law wouldnt be of any help to me. In fact, learning the Law would only increase my guilt by educating me more precisely as to what is right and wrong leaving me fewer and fewer areas where I can claim I sinned in ignorance. Yep! But be careful, because if you do sin on purpose you will be completely cut off from Gods people and your guilt will remain on you (Nu 15:29-31).
Believe it or not this is all the Old Covenant can offer you: forgiveness for those things you neglected to do or committed in ignorance. Nothing was provided for deliberate sin, thats why when the author of Hebrews tells us that in Christ God has given us a better covenant which has been enacted on better promises (8:6) we should be thankful and rejoice with all our hearts, because frankly, without a new covenant were all lost.
1. Two categories of sin
a) Unintentional sin: Lev 4:2, 22, 27; 5:15, 18; Nu 15:28, 29; Heb 9:7
b) Intentional sin: Nu 15:30, 31 (lit: with a high hand, Ex 14:8)
example: Nu 15:32-36; reminder: Nu 15:38-41
c) Read: Victor Hamilton, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Vol 2, p. 904, Moody, 1981.
2. Can there be no forgiveness for a person committing intentional sin in the Old Covenant?
Yes. David is one example of a person who intentionally sinned, but was forgiven. However, he clearly understood the Law of Moses provided no forgiveness for him.
Davids sin: 2Sam 11:1-27
Davids prayer: Ps 51:16, 17
The sacrificial system can do nothing for me. Only by true repentance and calling on God for mercy is there hope that I might be forgiven.
3. The order of Aaron could not help us
(v 11) The insufficiency of the atonement offered by the Levitical priests is shown by Gods vow to send another, higher priest.
(v 12) The change of priesthood also brings the authority of the Law of Moses to an end.
(vs 13, 14) This change of Law is demonstrated by the fact that Jesus, Gods chosen high priest, was not a member of the tribe of Levi (the priestly tribe) but of Judah (the kingly tribe) (Ps 110:4).
4. The order of Melchizedek brings a better covenant
(vs 15, 16) The validation of Christs priesthood comes not from His physical descendance from Aaron, but from His resurrection from the dead.
(v 17) He is eternally alive and perpetually atones for us for God swore an oath that He would be a priest forever.
(v 18) The laws of sacrifice and atonement contained in the Torah have been replaced because they proved to be ineffective in bringing people to God (v 19)
(vs 19-21) The Levitical priests were not established by an oath, but Jesus was (Ps 110:4). The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind
(v 22) Our new high priest has brought a new covenant, and by His resurrection proves the reality and trustworthiness of the new covenant.
(v 23) The high priests of Moses covenant were many over the 14 centuries between the Exodus and Christ because each high priest was mortal and died.
(v 24) But Jesus is immortal having been resurrected to eternal life, therefore He is the only priest of the new covenant.
(v 25) His intercession for our sins never stops because He is immortal. Because of this, we who come to God through Him are saved forever.
(v 27) By giving His own life, the Son of God has made an atonement so powerful that His one sacrifice has paid for all sins committed by all humans, once for all.
5. Better Promises
a) A better priest (7:11, 16, 26-28)
Promise: Psalm 110:4
The Messiah would be a priest superior to those established by the Law of Moses
He would be one priest, not many, sinless, offering one sacrifice of His own blood, eternally interceding for us before the Father in heaven.
b) A better covenant (7:22; 8:6-13)
Promise: Jeremiah 31:31-34
The Messiahs priesthood would bring:
1) transformed mind and will (8:10); 2) a personal relationship with God for all (8:11); 3) forgiveness of all sins (8:12); 4) a cleansed conscience (9:14; 10:22)
c) A better hope (7:19)
Promise: Exodus 25:40 (He 8:5)
The Messiah, having been resurrected, now stands before God in heaven. As our forerunner He has opened the veil for us to follow Him in.
The tabernacle was a copy of heavenly things (8:5): only the priest entered once a year; the shekinah was a light above the mercy seat
We are promised intimate fellowship with God forever (Rev 21, 22)
We can draw near now through Him (7:25)
Ideally a born-again person would never commit an intentional sin (1Jn 5:18), but in reality we know that temptations still come and on occasion we might yield, knowing perfectly well what we are doing is wrong. Thankfully, God has provided a new covenant for us in which those sins are paid for (1Jn 1:8-2:2).
Therefore He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (He 7:25)
Who will bring a charge against Gods elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who has died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us (Ro 8:33, 34)
a) Have you ever sinned intentionally only to find out later what you had done was wrong? How did you feel when you discovered the truth?
b) Without necessarily telling us what it is, is there an area where you sinned intentionally after becoming a Christian? Do you struggle with feeling condemned because of this? What promise did you hear in this message that gives you comfort?