Sabbath, August 17, 2019
Lesson 7 – Confession, Sacrifice, and Forgiveness
“The sacrificial offerings were ordained by God to be to man a perpetual reminder and a penitential acknowledgment of his sin and a confession of his faith in the promised Redeemer. They were intended to impress upon the fallen race the solemn truth that it was sin that caused death.” –Lift Him up, p. 324.
1. What is man’s natural condition? Is he able to recognize his own weaknesses and sins by himself?
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Psalm 19:12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.
“The Word of God declares, ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’ Romans 3:23. ‘There is none that doeth good, no, not one.’ Romans 3:12. Many are deceived concerning the condition of their hearts. They do not realize that the natural heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. They wrap themselves about with their own righteousness, and are satisfied in reaching their own human standard of character; but how fatally they fail when they do not reach the divine standard, and of themselves they cannot meet the requirements of God.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 320.
2. What has the Lord given man to make this recognition possible? With this means of identification available, can the Ten Commandments provide justification to the one who has transgressed them?
Romans 7:7; 3:20 What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet…. 3:20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
“Our love to Christ will be in proportion to the depth of our conviction of sin, and by the law is the knowledge of sin.” –Faith and Works, p. 96.
“‘By the law is the knowledge of sin.’ Romans 3:20. In order to see his guilt, the sinner must test his character by God’s great standard of righteousness. It is a mirror which shows the perfection of a righteous character and enables him to discern the defects of his own. The law reveals to man his sin…. It declares that death is the portion of the transgressor. The gospel of Christ alone can free him from the condemnation or the defilement of sin. He must exercise repentance toward God, whose law has been transgressed; and faith in Christ, his atoning sacrifice….” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 20.
3. What will follow with the help of the law when one acknowledges his sin?
Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.
Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
“Sins not repented of are sins not forgiven. Those who think themselves forgiven for sins of which they have never felt the sinfulness and over which they have never felt contrition of soul, only deceive themselves…. Our strength lies in our conscious weakness…. In self-distrust we cry to God for help, and work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Casting away all confidence in the arm of flesh, we cling with firm grasp to Jesus….” –Our High Calling, p. 82.
“‘Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.’ The blessing comes because of pardon; pardon comes through faith that the sin, confessed and repented of, is borne by the great Sin-bearer.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 150.
4. When the old covenant was in effect in the time of the ceremonial sacrificial system, what did the penitent sinner do when, with the help of the law, he had become conscious of having committed sin?
Leviticus 4:27, 28, 32 And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty; 28Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned…. 32And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish.
“The ceremonial law was to answer a particular purpose in Christ’s plan for the salvation of the race. The typical system of sacrifices and offerings was established that through these services the sinner might discern the great offering, Christ…. The ceremonial law was glorious; it was the provision made by Jesus Christ in counsel with His Father, to aid in the salvation of the race. The whole arrangement of the typical system was founded on Christ. Adam saw Christ prefigured in the innocent beast suffering the penalty of his transgression of Jehovah’s law.” –(Review and Herald, May 6, 1875) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pp. 1094, 1095; The Faith I Live by, p. 106.
5. When he placed his hand on the victim’s head, what did the penitent confess? What did he then have to do to the innocent animal?
Leviticus 4:33; 5:5 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering…. 5:5And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing.
“The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals. The repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and, placing his hand upon the victim’s head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place; but the flesh was then to be eaten by the priest, as Moses directed the sons of Aaron, saying, ‘God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation.’ Leviticus 10:17.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 354.
The effective sacrifice
6. What was done with the blood of the victim that symbolically took the place of the penitent? In reality, who would be sacrificed one day as the Lamb of God for the forgiveness of man’s trespasses?
Leviticus 4:30, 31 And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. 31And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour unto the Lord; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.
Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
“The ceremonial law was given by Christ…. The solemn service of the sanctuary typified the grand truths that were to be revealed through successive generations. The cloud of incense ascending with the prayers of Israel represents His righteousness that alone can make the sinner’s prayer acceptable to God; the bleeding victim on the altar of sacrifice testified of a Redeemer to come; and from the holy of holies the visible token of the divine Presence shone forth. Thus through age after age of darkness and apostasy faith was kept alive in the hearts of men until the time came for the advent of the promised Messiah.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 367.
“Faith, in itself, is an act of the mind. Jesus Himself is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. He gave His life for us; and His blood speaks in our behalf better things than spoke the blood of Abel, which cried unto God against Cain the murderer. Christ’s blood was shed to remit our sins.” –Reflecting Christ, p. 77.
7. In the fullness of time, what happened with the animals that were sacrificed under the Levitical system? Whose life was offered in sacrifice for the redemption of the penitents who believe in Him?
Hebrews 9:11, 12, 14 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us…. 14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
“Through Christ, restoration as well as reconciliation is provided for man. The gulf that was made by sin has been spanned by the cross of Calvary. A full, complete ransom has been paid by Jesus, by virtue of which the sinner is pardoned, and the justice of the law is maintained. All who believe that Christ is the atoning sacrifice may come and receive pardon for their sins; for through the merit of Christ, communication has been opened between God and man. God can accept me as His child, and I can claim Him and rejoice in Him as my loving Father. We must center our hopes of heaven upon Christ alone, because He is our substitute and surety.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 363.
For additional study
“Type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb slain for the sins of the world. Our great High Priest has made the only sacrifice that is of any value in our salvation. When He offered Himself on the cross, a perfect atonement was made for the sins of the people. We are now standing in the outer court, waiting and looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. No sacrifices are to be offered without, for the great High Priest is performing His work in the Most Holy Place. In His intercession as our advocate, Christ needs no man’s virtue, no man’s intercession. He is the only sin-bearer, the only sin-offering. Prayer and confession are to be offered only to Him who has entered once for all into the Most Holy Place. He will save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith. He ever liveth to make intercession for us….” –Lift Him up, p. 319.