Leviticus 16

The air must have been thick that day — heavy with the presence of God.  The hope of forgiveness and cleansing gripped the hearts of the people. The anticipation leading up to this day must have been amazing.  The weight and wonder of what God intended to do for his people must have created pounding hearts.

Two goats.  One is slaughtered as a sin offering; the other is sent away into the desert to carry away the sins of the people.  Propitiation and removal. One goat is slaughtered to ‘pay’ for the sins of the people. The other goat – the scapegoat — symbolizes complete removal of sin.  No wonder David sang,

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
As far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

Psalm 103:11-12 ESV

This is what I love about God.  He knows us so well. He knew we would need the visual reminder of sin being carried away to help us do battle against sin now.   Paul asks in Romans 8:34, “Who is he that condemns?” We know the answer to that. The Bible tells us that Satan accuses us before God day and night (Revelation 12:10).  He is relentless.   He never lets up. And we are often wiling accomplices – carrying the guilt of forgiven sin around like some memorial bag of rocks.

In Leviticus we see the goat carrying the sin of the people away.  It is gone. Atonement has been made and as decisive blow has been dealt on behalf of the people.  And as the goat wanders off into the wilderness the people see their guilt disappear. This is an awesome foreshadowing of what Christ has done.  

Here is what I think many believers need to hear today – you are forgiven and free.  Far too many Christians live in the shadow of their guilt and shame. Look again at Leviticus and see the scapegoat carrying your sin into the wilderness – never to be seen again.  A decisive blow has been dealt to sin on your behalf Christian. Jesus Christ has taken away your sin (John 1:29); God has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53: 6); Jesus has bore the sin of many (Isaiah 53:12).

The grace of God in Christ Jesus removes our condemnation; the grace of God in Christ Jesus liberates us from guilt; the grace of God in Christ Jesus makes us righteous.  

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)

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Pastor Bob McHenry

Pastor Bob McHenry

Lead Pastor

Pastor Bob is a dedicated pastor with a passion to share the love of God with neighbors and around the world. The verse that has guided and shaped his call to ministry is Psalm 16:11, “You will make known to me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

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