When Someone Unintentionally Sins, What Happens?

This devotion is one of the harder ones I have had to write. Our verse for today is dealing directly with sin. This is a subject that people don’t want to talk about. It gets even harder though because it is talking about unintentional sin. So the question at hand is what happens when someone unintentionally sins?

Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. This is how you are to deal with those who sin unintentionally by doing anything that violates one of the LORD’s commands.  Leviticus 4:2

Leviticus , A Procedures Manual

The book of Leviticus is pretty much a procedures manual. It starts out talking about how to do the burnt, grain, and peace offerings, then chapter 4 talks about sin offerings. The first type of sin in covers is that which is committed unintentionally.

So the chapter with this sentence.

Then the Lord said to Moses . . . This is how you are to deal with those who sin unintentionally by doing anything that violates one of the Lord’s commands.

The next 4 paragraphs begin with these phrases.

  • If the high priest sins, bringing guilt on all the people,”
  • “If the entire Israelite community sins . . . but don’t realize it,”
  • “If one of Israel’s leaders sins . . . but doesn’t realize it,”
  • “If any of the common people sin . . . but they don’t realize it,” 

— they were all still guilty, even though they didn’t realize it.

Some people might think that this isn’t fair or that God doesn’t understand. I think what God is pointing out to us is, he does understand, that we don’t understand. In God’s eyes, sin is sin and must be paid for.

Obviously, when unintentional sin was committed in the Old Testament somebody brought it to that person’s attention. It was then the person needed to bring the required sin offering.

Unintentional Sin Today

Let’s talk for a moment about today. There are two races of people in the world, Christians and non-Christians.

In light of eternity, it doesn’t matter what non-Christians do. It doesn’t matter if they are good or extremely evil. That changes if they become Christians.

But in their present state, they are destined for eternal judgment. The only reason is they have not accepted what Jesus did for them at Calvary.

I don’t know if there are varying degrees of torment in hell and I don’t care to find out.

Some have asked, what if a person has not heard about Jesus or even God? One or more of that person’s ancestors decided to walk away from God and serve other gods or no god.

Their decision has affected many future generations including whole people groups. That is why it is so important that Christians must realize the urgency of spreading the gospel of Jesus.

Check out a related post called The Fire.

In the Christian world, there are sins done in ignorance. There are also sins committed by those who won’t acknowledge their actions are sinful. This is also a form of ignorance.

Christians guilty of committing known sins like to put God in their little box called “He’ll understand”. But in this devotion, we are talking about when someone unintentionally sins.

There is forgiveness for all our sins, intentional or unintentional. The consequence of continuing to sin is our sins will eventually draw us away from God. The bottom line is – it has to be paid for. And it was through Jesus!

Forgiveness For Intentional and Unintentionally Committed Sins

The good news is, God is no respecter of persons when it comes to sin. He is also no respecter of persons when it comes to forgiveness. That is why we must continually go humbly before the Lord asking forgiveness. Especially for those unintentionally committed sins

Jesus even taught us to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses even as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Lord, you are fair in justice and grace. Thank you for extending forgiveness to all who ask for it. For they will receive it!

Featured Image Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

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