Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

 

How can a sinner come to God?

 

“And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar: But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.”   Leviticus 1:1-9

 

How can a sinner come to God? That is the question I want to answer in this study. How can I, a guilty, vile, base sinner, deserving God’s holy wrath, come to the thrice holy Lord God and find acceptance with him? Are you interested?

 

The Way to God

 

Here we see that there is a way whereby sinners may indeed come to God and find acceptance with him. Thank God, there is a way! However, (And this is of vital importance. It must be understood!) the only way sinners can come to God, the only way you and I can draw near to him is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no acceptance with God upon the footing of religious ritualism or our own works of righteousness. If we would be saved, if we would find acceptance with God, we must come to him like the publican of old, confessing our sins and trusting the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is written, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Salvation is looking to Christ, as the children of Israel looked to the brazen serpent. Salvation is coming to Christ (Hebrews 7:25). Salvation is leaning on Christ, trusting Christ, resting in Christ. Christ is Salvation. He is the Way. There is no other.

 

            The only way a sinner can come to God is by Christ the Way. The only Door by which we can come into the presence of the holy Lord God is Christ the Door. This is the doctrine of the entire Bible. I want to show it to you from the Book of Leviticus. If we would worship God, if we would find acceptance with him, we must come to him, call upon him, worship him in the way he has prescribed, trusting Christ, the Sacrifice he has accepted, as our only acceptance with him.

 

Christ the Theme

 

The Book of Leviticus is one of the least read books of the Bible. Yet, it is pre-eminently the book in which God speaks directly to man. No book in the Bible “contains more of the very words of God than Leviticus” (Andrew Bonar).

 

            On the surface, the things spoken of in these twenty-seven chapters may seem to have no apparent message or relevance for us today. After all, the book is called “Leviticus.” It is all about the functions of the priests of the Levitical order. The whole book is about Levitical laws, ceremonies, and priestly functions that have been abolished for more than two thousand years. What do these things have to do with us? It has everything to do with us, because the entire book of Leviticus is about Christ and the salvation God gives to sinners in him.

 

            In Old Testament times, this was the first book Jewish children were taught to study, as we teach the young to read John or Romans. You see, Leviticus deals directly with all of the major issues in a believer’s relationship with God, especially those involving sin and atonement. These are matters of greatest importance to the souls of men in every age.

 

Be Holy

 

The purpose of Leviticus is echoed in verses such as 11:44-45, 19:2, and 20:26: “Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” The word “holy” appears more often in the book of Leviticus than in any other book of the Bible. The book of Leviticus both calls God’s people to be holy, and shows us how sinners are made holy by Christ, and declares that God’s elect shall be made holy in Christ by the mighty operations of his grace.

 

Five Offerings

 

In chapters 1-7, God gave Moses specific instructions about the sacrifices and offerings by which his people would be allowed to approach him.

 

1.    The burnt offering shows us the way to God (1:1-17). — We must come to God by faith in Christ, Who was consumed by the fire of God’s wrath as our Substitute. But our Lord Jesus Christ is that Burnt Offering who consumed the fire of God’s wrath for his people.

 

2.    The meat offering portrays the character of Christ, the God-man (2:1-16). – He who is our Substitute is most holy unto the Lord. It also speaks of our consecration to God by faith in Christ.

 

3.    The peace offering speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Peace (3:1-17). – Christ alone can reconcile God and man. Christ alone can speak peace to the guilty conscience. Christ alone is our Peace.

 

4.    The sin offering, of course, represents Christ our Substitute (4:1-35). – Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. There is no forgiveness with God except by the merits of a suitable, slain sin-offering; and that Sin-offering is Christ.

 

5.    The trespass offering sets before us a picture of Christ’s atonement (5:1-6:7). – Our Lord Jesus Christ made atonement for the sins of his people by paying our debt to the full satisfaction of Divine justice.

 

I hear the Savior say,

“Thy strength indeed is small.

Child of weakness, watch and pray,

Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all! All the debt I owed!

Sin had left a crimson stain,

He washed it white as snow!

 

A Sinner Coming

 

Here is a sinner coming to God (vv. 1-4).

 

“And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.” Leviticus 1:1-2

 

            The Lord spoke to the children of Israel through Moses to teach them of their need of a Mediator. It is as though he had said, “No sinner can see My face or hear My voice, but by a Mediator. I will not speak to, nor will I be spoken to by man, except through a Mediator.”

 

            The fact that the sinner comes to the door of the tabernacle with an offering is, in itself, a declaration of a desperate need. Only sinners need a sacrifice. “Not the righteous, not the righteous, sinners Jesus came to call!”

 

“If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.” Leviticus 1:3

 

Here we are told three things about the one who brings the offering.

 

1.    The offering was brought to “the door of the tabernacle.”

 

            The altar of brass was near the door of the tabernacle, facing it. This was the first thing that met the worshipper’s eye as he approached the tabernacle. Here the priest met him and led him with his sacrifice to the altar. The object in bringing the sacrifice was to get access to God. The door of access had been blocked by sin. It could not be opened without a sacrifice.

 

            Christ is that Sacrifice for sin, by which the way has been opened for sinners to come to God. He points to his blood atonement and says to needy sinners, “Behold, I set before you an open door” (Hebrews 10:19-22).

 

2.    The offering had to be brought by a person “of his own voluntary will.

 

            God demands a willing heart; and God gives the willing heart. This is the warrant of the Gospel: — “Whosoever will, let him come.” There must be a willing heart. Else, God is not worshipped. It is true, none are willing to come to Christ, none are willing to trust his atoning work, except those who are made willing by him in the day of his power.

 

            This is wonderful. Are you willing to go yonder to the Altar? Are you willing to trust Christ? Do you reply, “Yes, I am willing to be saved by Christ alone”? Then you may come. Leviticus 1:3 says nothing about your feelings, your experiences, or your worth. It speaks only of a willing heart, a soul willing to be bathed in the blood of Christ. Are you willing to be saved by him? If you are, that is God’s work. God demands a willing heart. That makes it your responsibility. But only God can give a willing heart. That makes this a work of divine sovereignty and grace (Romans 9:15-16).

 

3.    The offering was brought for acceptance with God.

 

            The phrase, “he shall offer it of his own voluntary will,” might be translated – “He shall offer it in order to be accepted.” Reading it that way, it refers to an act of faith. We come to God, trusting Christ alone for acceptance with him. His blood is our only atonement for sin. His righteousness is our only righteousness before God.

           

My only hope, my only plea, —

Is that Christ died and died for me!

 

            We see this stated emphatically in the fourth verse. The sinner who comes to God trusting Christ finds acceptance with God in and by him (v. 4). — “And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.”

 

            Not only was the worshipper required to acknowledge his need of a sacrifice to gain acceptance with God, he must personally identify himself with the sacrifice. — He shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering.This suggests a transfer of sin from the sinner to the sacrifice. It portrays a confession of sin. It is also a declared approbation or approval of God’s ordinance, an agreement with Divine Justice. And this speaks of faith. The word used for “put” is a very strong word. It means “lean”. We come to God leaning upon Christ alone.

 

4.    And it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.” — Glorious Gospel! Believing sinners, by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, receive atonement and find acceptance with God! Our faith does not make atonement or give us acceptance. But, believing Christ, we receive atonement and acceptance. Christ was accepted for us; and we are accepted for him! By faith in him we receive the atonement and discover acceptance, as the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5-11; Ephesians 1:3-6).

 

The Sacrifice

 

Here is the Sacrifice by which sinners find acceptance with God (vv. 3, 5-9). The one Sacrifice by which you and I can come to God and find acceptance with him is the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s own dear Son. He is the One of whom this burnt offering speaks.

 

“If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.”  Leviticus 1:3

 

            Anyone can execute wrath. In fact, God executes his wrath by all creation. But only God’s Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, can make atonement and bring mercy! Christ is both the sacrificing Priest and the Sacrifice offered for sin.

 

“And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar: But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.” Leviticus 1:5-9

 

            Everything had to be done “before the Lord.” Only the priest could offer the blood. Atonement can be made only by God’s Priest. Mercy can come only through God’s Priest! The sacrifice spoken of here is a burnt sacrifice (v. 3). Here is a sacrifice which had to be consumed by the fire of God, a sacrifice upon which God poured out his wrath, before the sinner could find acceptance with him. That sacrifice is Christ.

 

            The sacrifice had to be a male from the herd, portraying Christ, the last Adam, the God-man, by whom righteousness has been brought in and by whom sin has been put away. Being from the herd, it was a Sacrifice of God’s own providing.

 

            The burnt offering must be a sacrifice without blemish. If he would make atonement for sin, our Sacrifice must be holy. He is the holy Lord God; and he is the holy Man. As such, he is able to offer a sacrifice to God worthy of God’s holiness, justice, and truth. The Lord Jesus Christ, if he would present his church as a spotless bride, holy, unblameable, and unreproveable before God, he must himself be without blemish.

 

            The sacrifice had to be killed before the Lord (v. 5). A holy, blameless life is not enough to make atonement for sin. A holy life could never open the door of access to God for poor sinners. Oh, no! Blood must be shed. Christ must die. He must die before the Lord. Our Savior’s death was God’s work. His was a sacrifice made to God, before God, and made for God. Atonement and the redemption by atonement are God’s works alone.

 

            The blood of the sacrifice must be sprinkled by God’s priest (v. 5). The blood sprinkled in heaven is redemption accomplished (Hebrews 9:12). The blood sprinkled upon the heart is redemption applied (Hebrews 9:14).

 

            Then, we are told that, the sacrifice must be flayed and cut in pieces (v. 6). This speaks of the believing sinner’s confession and contrition before the Lord. Justice requires the complete exposure of our souls, portrayed in the skinning of this sacrifice. And justice demands the deliberate slaughter of the criminal. The hewing of this sacrifice shows us the excruciating torments due to us because of our sin. God’s sword, like Abraham’s knife, spares not the sacrifice (Zechariah 13:7).

 

            Everything relating to the sacrifice was done by divine order (vv. 7-8).

 

“And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:” Leviticus 1:7-8

 

            The inwards (the intestines) and the legs of the sacrifice had to be washed. You cannot separate Christ (God’s Sacrifice) from his people. The washing of the animal’s intestines and legs speaks of us. Though redeemed by the blood of Christ, though our sins are atoned, we must be washed by his Spirit in what is called “the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5), by the “washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:26).

 

            The Sacrifice God requires and accepts is that Sacrifice which is “a sweet savor unto the Lord” (v. 9). — “But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.” The whole sacrifice was placed on the altar and offered to God. The whole sacrifice was consumed with the fire of God’s wrath. The sacrifice was a sweet savor unto the Lord. Christ is that Sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2). — “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift!

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor Fortner’s

 

Audio Sermons

Video Sermons

Books

Itinerary