Chapter 10 The Trespass Offering

If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the LORD; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the LORD a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering. And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him (Leviticus 5:15-16).

Sin has many forms, and everything it touches it wounds and imparts death. These verses state the first case of the trespass offering. It is the case of a soul sinning through ignorance. God’s law has been infringed, and His holy will set at nought. But, though done in ignorance, it is no trifle with God. That, sin can never be. Every form of iniquity is hated by God. God’s white throne would lose its pristine whiteness if any sin were condoned.

The Offense

This rite especially condemns transgression in holy things. What would such transgression be? It could be trying to be righteous by one’s own merits. It is Cain religion—bringing to God the fruit of one’s own toil—choosing the rags of our own righteousness, rather than the gospel robe of God’s free gift of righteousness. This trespass has a fair exterior, but it slays the soul.

There is much of it in our world. All human religions invented by man are typical of sins of trespass in holy things-religions such as Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and all cults which deny the Godhood of the Lord Jesus and His finished atoning work on Calvary’s cross. Devotees of such will not take up God’s plan, and they refuse to be taught the way of God. They invent their own way.

But, again, the trespass can be seen in those who know the truth of God, but bring to Him no more than the ceremonial round, the regular attendance, a fair contribution of money, the faithful adherence to the church creed—all such as if sufficient to secure the crown of life. So many believe— alas, to their ruin.

Both these ways lead to woe. They are simply opposing falsehoods. Both are Satan’s delusion. Such trespasses live only in dens of ignorance. But though spawned in ignorance, they are still trespasses.

The Substitute

Once again we see the dying victim as the picture-type proclaiming Christ the Lord. He is the trespass offering. He is “made … sin for us.” He suffers all our deserved punishment. He drinks up all our woe.

This is the amazing grace which is the eternal song of the saved. This is the “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” This is the hope set before us, which is as an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast. The trespass offering bleeds and dies, and only by such substitution can the offender be forgiven. So Jesus dies, and all His family of believing people are saved. And “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died” (Romans 8:33-34).

The Repayment

The need of sinful man is vast. None can measure the dimensions of guilt’s trespass, but the work of our Lord covers it all. Here we see that the value of the trespass must be reckoned. The cost must be paid according to the sanctuary’s weight—not what man feels is the value. Thus here in this ancient rite we see a fifth part added. It is not enough to give equal. There must be excess (Leviticus 5:16).

Why is this? Because trespass defrauds God. Sin is not only an offense against a law but a defrauding of God. Nothing we have or are is our own. Everything, therefore, which God has given us should be used to do Him honor and augment His praise. But we have robbed God of this! It would be vain conceit, too, to imagine we ourselves could make it up to Him. The debt is huge, and only God’s beloved Son can pay it. No devotedness can repay. Surplus of merit is but a papist’s dream. All our works only increase our debt, only deepen bankruptcy.

Thus the trespass offerer added a surplus. Who can measure the surplus which the Lord Jesus Christ brought to Calvary’s cross? In that cross is all that God can give and all that God can take. This makes the offering of Christ so full and rich, so precious and divine. Let us acknowledge before God that trespass stains our hearts, that we do often trespass even in holy things.

Let us remember that this form of trespass is as offensive to God as vulgar sin. It raises the same barrier between the soul and God. But here in the trespass offering the Lord Jesus is depicted again in the brightest hues. He died to pay the trespass offering. Only as we cling to Him can our trespass be forgiven. His cross is the only expiation for every trespass, as well as for every sin. His cross is a sufficient expiation. His surplus payment is more than enough.

Worthy of homage and of praise;
Worthy by all to be adored:
Exhaustless theme of heavenly lays!
Thou, Thou art worthy, Jesus, Lord.

To Thee, e’en now, our song we raise,
Tho’ sure the tribute mean must prove:
No mortal tongue can tell Thy ways,
So full of light and life and love.

Yet, Saviour, Thou shalt have full praise:
We soon shall meet Thee in the cloud,
We soon shall see Thee face to face,
In glory praising as we would.

Miss F. T. Wigram