The first section of chapter 6 continues laws concerning the guilt or sin offering. The sin discussed here is stealing from one’s neighbor. Verses 1-3 read,
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “If anyone sins and commits a breach of faith against the Lord by deceiving his neighbor in a matter of deposit or security, or through robbery, or if he has oppressed his neighbor 3 or has found something lost and lied about it, swearing falsely—in any of all the things that people do and sin thereby—“
Notice that stealing in any fashion, making money unfairly, keeping a found object, deceit resulting in profit, and outright stealing is called a breach of faith against the Lord. Hurting one’s neighbor is a sin against the Lord, not just the person hurt. And making profit from that injury is a betrayal of faith in God. Doing something like that says the person cares more for money than God, it says he doesn’t trust the Lord enough to allow Him to be God in his life, and shows that the person has no respect for God’s creation.
Because the sin described in verses 2 and 3 cause damage, reparation has to be made to the injured party before the sinner can make his offering to the Lord. Verses 4-5 read,
“if he has sinned and has realized his guilt and will restore what he took by robbery or what he got by oppression or the deposit that was committed to him or the lost thing that he found 5 or anything about which he has sworn falsely, he shall restore it in full and shall add a fifth to it, and give it to him to whom it belongs on the day he realizes his guilt.”
True repentance requires remorse and returning what was stolen, repairing what was broken, and restoring what was injured. But notice there is still sacrifice involved in the act of contrition. The sinner not only has to give back what was stolen or gained, but has to add a fifth to it. If he stole $100.00 he has to return $120.00. And he has to do it immediately the day he realizes his guilt. It is only after he has reconciled with his neighbor that he can go reconcile with the Lord. Verses 6-7 say,
“And he shall bring to the priest as his compensation to the Lord a ram without blemish out of the flock, or its equivalent for a guilt offering. 7 And the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven for any of the things that one may do and thereby become guilty.”
God is always ready to forgive the repentant soul. Real repentance requires action. If our sin hurt another person we can’t just ignore it, call ourselves forgiven and go on. We can’t have peace with God if we are divided by hostilities created by our sin with people around us.
It is true that in Christ, we are already forgiven for every wrong, but the Lord still requires us to be united in peace and love with one another before we worship Him. In Matthew 5:23-24 Jesus said,
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift”
If we have done something to make our brother angry with us, we have not only hurt them, but we may cause them to sin. That is doubly dreadful of us. Even if we haven’t done anything wrong, but our brother is still holding something against us, we need to make peace with him before we offer a gift to God, worship Him, or take the Lord’s Supper. The anger our brother has against us may cause him to sin, and we do not want to be a stumbling block to anyone. What does it hurt us to submit to one another? Our pride can always handle being cut down. Pride is the foundation for so much sin. We can be humble and submit to our brothers and sisters. We can be the peacemakers.
We can’t worship God with a pure heart if we don’t have unity with the Body of Christ. The two great commandments are linked together. We cannot do one without doing the other. We can’t love the Lord with our entire being, soul, mind, heart, and strength if we do not love our neighbors. God wants us to love what He loves and want what He wants. He loves our neighbor deeply. He expects us to love our neighbor as well.