1. Regarding Salvation, God is Not a Respecter of Persons.
This chapter shows us that God’s forgiveness is not intended for a specific social class. Rather, God provides atonement for anyone,1 the whole congregation,2 a leader,3 and anyone of the common people.4 This is just one more place in Scripture where we see that God is not a respecter of persons. Those who hate the Scriptural teaching that God predestined the elect unto salvation argue that this would make God a respecter of persons. However, that isn’t the case. God’s election of his people is not based on his respect for some peculiar property they possess. God’s election of his people is based on his absolute freedom to do as he wills. It is the one who says that God saves those who exhibit some attribute or property that is assuming God is a respecter of persons. For in that person’s view, those who do not meet some condition or other are not elected by him.
2. Regarding Condemnation, God is Not a Respecter of Persons.
This chapter, thus, shows us that all men are condemned by the Law of God. The Law identifies all people who are under its jurisdiction. In the case of the people of Israel, the ceremonial law applied to them as God’s peculiar people. However, in the case of the Law of God revealed in the heart of man universally and, more specifically, in the pages of the Word of God, all people are judged. Just as God is not a respecter of persons when it comes to salvation, he is likewise not a respecter of persons when it comes to damnation. No one will escape the condemnation of the law because he is of high or low social standing. No one will be able to point to his high or low social standing an plead that he, on that basis, has a right to be let into heaven without an atonement for his sins.
3. Some Sins are Unintentional.
There are unintentional sins. This is an important truth to remember. While we know that we are all sinners, and that we – and we, ourselves, alone – are accountable for our sins, we often forget that sometimes we sin unintentionally. We can be too harsh with others for what we realize is sin, but they don’t realize is sin.
4. Sin is Revealed by Time, Circumstance, or Other Brethren.
Sometimes, our sin needs to be revealed by time and circumstance or others in the congregation. It’s the case that we sin unintentionally. It’s also the case that while we may come to realize our sin on our own,5 the Holy Spirit tells us that there will be times when time and circumstances, or others in the congregation will make our sin known to us.6
5. The Revelation of Sin is Not to be Unaccompanied by the Revelation of God’s Provision for Sinners.
The recognition of sin, and the calling out of sin, is not to be unaccompanied by the grace of God available to the guilty sinner. Note that once the sin is made known, the sinner is to offer a sacrifice. Why? So that his sin might be forgiven. The law’s mentioned in this chapter show us the relationship between sin and grace. God’s exposure of our sin is intended to bring us to the priest through whom we will find forgiveness – i.e. the Lord Jesus Christ, our high priest.
Soli Deo Gloria
1 cf. 4:2.
2 cf. 4:13.
3 cf. 4:22.
4 cf. 4:27.
5 cf. 4:13, 22, & 27.
6 cf. 4:14, 23, & 28.