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 will cover a number of matters related to the sin offering.
A number of times Leviticus 4 speaks of the sin of ignorance (vv. 1-2, 13, 22, 27). A sin of ignorance refers to a mistake, error, or oversight; that is, it denotes sinning unintentionally. Although we may not have the intention to sin, we nevertheless sin unintentionally.
The sin of ignorance in Leviticus 4 signifies the sin in our fallen nature, the indwelling sin. The sin which we inherited from Adam dwells in our flesh. Many times we sin unintentionally. These sins come from the indwelling sin. Sin came in through Adam’s fall and entered into the human race (Rom. 5:12). Therefore, with all human beings there is something called sin.
In Romans 7 sin is personified, because it can dwell in us (v. 17), kill us (v. 11), and do many things in us. Thus, sin is a living person. We cannot find a verse which says that sin is Satan himself. However, the Bible indicates that sin is the nature of Satan. Since sin is the nature of Satan, sin is actually Satan himself.
Sin entered the human race at the time of Adam’s fall. This means that Adam’s fall opened the gate for sin, which is the nature of Satan and even Satan himself, to come into our being. Romans 7 tells us clearly that sin dwells in our flesh (vv. 17, 20, 23). We have often wanted to do good, for example to honor our parents or regard our brother, yet the outcome was just the opposite. We sinned unintentionally, doing something that we had no intention of doing. Because Paul had this kind of experience, he could say, “It is no longer I that do it but sin that dwells in me” (Rom. 7:20b).
In Romans 7 we can see two persons. One person does not want to sin, and the other person, who is within the first person, sins. This indicates that Paul was living a life of two persons—a life of himself, Saul of Tarsus, and a life of something that is called sin. These two persons lived together, but not willingly. Sometimes they were good friends, and sometimes they fought with each other.
Romans 7 is a picture of our experience not only before we were saved but even today. Have you not discovered that there is a war going on within you? On the one hand, we may say, “I love the church.” On the other hand, something within us says, “I do not like the church.” Sometimes we may say, “I love all the saints. All of them are dear and lovable.” However, there may be a certain elder whom we cannot love. There is a fighting within us. We aspire to be holy, but the outcome is not holiness. All day long we commit sins of ignorance.
We may have been Christians for years, but there is still a war going on within us. We may want to be perfect, but we do many things that are sins of ignorance. Therefore, since sin dwells within us and we commit sins of ignorance, we are not trustworthy.
Anything that is done out of our flesh is sin. In the eyes of God, even our love that is out of the flesh is sin. Not only the bad things are sin, but even the good things that are out of the flesh are sin. It is the source, not the outcome or issue, that counts. This is the reason Galatians 5:24 says, “They who are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts.”
According to the human view, the flesh may seem to be good as well as bad. But whether we are good, bad, or in the middle, as long as we are flesh we are sin. The flesh is altogether one with sin (Rom. 8:3), and sin is altogether one with Satan. Actually, sin is Satan. Furthermore, Satan is one with the world, and the world is one with the prince of the world (John 12:31). These five things are one matter: the flesh, sin, Satan, the world, and the prince (the authority or power) of the world.
Today’s world is related to the flesh, sin, Satan, and the prince of the world. The word prince here implies authority or power. The world is actually the struggle for power. Every person and every nation are struggling for power. Everywhere there is competition, rivalry, for power. In the universities both the professors and the students are struggling for power. For example, a professor may say that he is trying to help society or that he wants to invent something to benefit society. Actually he, along with everyone else, is struggling for power. This struggle for power is the result, the issue, of the flesh, sin, Satan, the world, and the prince of the world.
Galatians 5:16-26 speaks of the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit. Verse 26, the concluding verse of this section, says, “Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another.” In this verse is the struggle for vainglory. This indicates that even in the church life there may be the struggle for vainglory. This is proved by the fact that Paul’s word here was written to churches, to the churches of Galatia (Gal. 1:2), which was a province of the ancient Roman Empire. We all seek vainglory. If this were not our situation, Paul would not have needed to say this word to us. We may think that the things mentioned in 5:16-26 existed among the churches of Galatia but are not among us today. However, we should not read these verses as applying to them alone; we should include ourselves when we read such verses. Just as we apply John 3:16 to ourselves, so we should also apply Galatians 5:16-26.
The sin offering has a broad denotation. It deals not only with sin itself but also with our flesh, with Satan, the evil one in our flesh, with the world, and with the struggle for power. According to the Bible, sin is involved with these four things.
Satan is the prince of the world. Satan may even be proud of being such a prince. Isaiah 14 reveals that although he was close to God, he was not satisfied. He wanted to be above God or at least to be in rivalry with Him. Therefore, when the Bible condemns sin, it condemns Satan and also the flesh, the world, and the struggle for power. Everything that is happening on earth is related to the struggle for power. All the good speeches, lectures, and explanations given by men are just cloaks to cover the struggle for power.
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