Life-Study of Leviticusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall begin to consider chapter two of Leviticus, which is concerned with the meal offering.
It is important for us to understand the relationship of the meal offering to the burnt offering.
The emphasis of the burnt offering is on Christ’s living for God, even unto death, implying His living but emphasizing His death. The emphasis of the meal offering is on Christ’s human living and daily walk, implying His death but emphasizing His living.
The burnt offering emphasizes that Christ is the righteousness—the righteousness of God. The meal offering emphasizes that Christ is righteous—righteous before God. In the burnt offering we can see Christ as righteousness, for the burnt offering indicates that Christ is God’s righteousness. The meal offering indicates that Christ is righteous.
We need to differentiate righteousness (a noun) from righteous (an adjective). We may say that Christ is righteousness itself, and we may also say that He is righteous. The principle is the same with the words sin (a noun) and sinful (an adjective). On the one hand, we may say that we are sin, that we are the totality of sin itself. On the other hand, we may say that we are sinful.
When Christ died on the cross, He was made sin (2 Cor. 5:21). The One who died on the cross was not just a person, Jesus Christ, but a person made sin in its totality. Because Christ was made sin, He took away sin from mankind (John 1:29), and sin as a personification was condemned (Rom. 8:3). This refers to Christ as the sin offering.
Christ is also the trespass offering. The trespass offering is a matter not of Christ being made sin for us but of Christ bearing our sins (1 Pet. 2:24; Heb. 9:28). On the one hand, as the sin offering Christ was made sin; on the other hand, as the trespass offering Christ bore our sins.
We need to realize that as fallen persons we are not merely sinful; we are sin. Often as I have knelt before the Lord and prayed, I have said to Him, “Lord, I am not just sinful—I am sin itself. I am nothing but sin.”
In the burnt offering we can see Christ as the righteousness of God, and in the meal offering we can see the righteous Christ, the One who is right in every way. Because Christ is God’s righteousness, He can be God’s satisfaction and give Him a satisfying fragrance. Only Christ can satisfy God to the uttermost.
We also should be God’s righteousness, satisfying God to such an extent that we become to God a satisfying fragrance. But how can we be this kind of person? In the sight of God we are not righteousness—we are sin. How can we be a burnt offering to God? How can we who are sin be righteousness? In ourselves it is impossible, but it is possible by experiencing Christ in His experiences.
In the early years of my ministry, young married brothers and sisters who had a problem with their temper often asked me how they could be a good husband or wife. They did not want to lose their temper, but no matter how hard they tried, they were defeated. They wanted me to tell them how they could overcome their temper. Being young in the ministry, I had not yet seen the vision of living Christ. Because of my lack of vision and because I was still under the influence of certain books I had read on living the Christian life, I would tell them that they needed to love the Lord, pray a great deal, and memorize Bible verses. They took my advice and tried to follow it, but it did not work, and the result invariably was failure. They made up their mind not to lose their temper, but eventually they failed and lost their temper. Their experience, and mine as well, was like that of Paul in Romans 7: “To will is present with me, but to do the good is not. For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil I do not will, this I practice” (vv. 18b-19). If today I were asked to help the saints in dealing with their temper, I would say, “You need to realize that you are temper itself. How, then, can you avoid losing your temper? The only way to overcome your temper is to live another person, the One who is not temper but the righteousness of God.”
Apart from Christ there is no righteousness. He is the righteousness in this universe. If we do not have Him, we cannot have righteousness. Paul, speaking of the Jews, says, “They, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, did not submit to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). Those who seek righteousness apart from Christ will never find it. As the burnt offering He is the very righteousness of God, and as the meal offering He is the most righteous One. He is fine, perfect, complete, and righteous in every way.
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