Unintentional Sin

The Old Testament under Moses (1500 BC) said, Now if a person sins and does any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, though he was unaware still he is guilty and shall bear his punishment.  So the priest had to make atonement for him concerning his error in which he sinned unintentionally and did not know it, and it would be forgiven him.  It was a guilt offering: he was certainly guilty before the Lord” (Lev 5:17-19).

In Leviticus the two sacrificial exercises that atone for sin are only for unintentional and unaware sin.  There was no sacrifice to cover intentional, deliberate sin.  When we first become aware of this, it frightens us for we wonder if that old covenant principle of forgiveness is the same now under Christ’s new covenant? 

We later discover that our understanding is that Jesus’ atonement is different.  Under His New Testament, forgiveness is offered for ALL sin (except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, Mt 12:31).  Salvation is for all who comply with the Lord’s terms of forgiveness. 

The OT unintentional sin concept found in Leviticus agrees with Romans 7 in the New Testament.  Leviticus tells us that unintentional sin was not committed with a motive… nor was the person aware of having sinned.  Even if we were to live our lives completely unaware and free from our realization of sin, forgiveness is still needed.  Jesus still had to die for our sins in order that we might be restored into a relationship with God.  How much more then is sacrifice needed for intentional sin?  How great and awesome is God’s mercy and grace!  

“Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law: but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.  What a wretched man that I am!  Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?  Thanks be to God, who delivers me  through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom 7:14-25 NIV).

The New Testament law of forgiveness under Christ is belief that He is God’s Son, repentance of sin, confession of our faith, and immersion (baptism) in water (Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom 10:9-10).  {Credit. Tom Torowski, professional trucker}