The third category of which the LORD speaks to Moses is a leader of the people who sins. The sin of a leader does not endanger the fellowship of all people with God. Therefore a smaller offering can be brought. Yet his sin is serious. The sin of a leader can be applied to the sin-owning by someone who has a responsible position among God’s people (cf. 1Tim 5:2020Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful [of sinning].). Such a person leads others. His example is of great importance. If he sins, it is a serious matter.
It is about a sin he committed unintentionally. This is evident from the words “if his sin which he has committed is made known to him” (verse 2323if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a male without defect.; verse 2828if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, then he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without defect, for his sin which he has committed.). It may be that someone has made him aware of this. We could say that the service of foot washing was done to him (Jn 13:1-101Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.2During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, [the son] of Simon, to betray Him,3[Jesus], knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God,4*got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.5Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.6So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?”7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”8Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”9Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, [then wash] not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”10Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all [of you].”).
It is not pleasant to point out sin to anyone. Yet it is a service. If we let sin exist in a person’s life without pointing it out, we actually hate him (Lev 19:1717‘You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him.). Sin makes one unhappy, for it makes it impossible for him to have fellowship with God and his fellow believers.
The leader must confess his sin, openly. He does this by going to the priest at the altar with a sin offering. He must see how the animal is slain in his place. The blood is put on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, but not brought into the sanctuary as in the case of a sin of the anointed priest or of the whole congregation.
That the blood must be put on the horns of the altar of burnt offering is because there too the peace offering is brought, which speaks of fellowship with God and with the other members of the people of God. That is what we have in the Table of the Lord. If anyone has sinned, fellowship with God and with each other is only possible again after confession and seeing the offering of Christ.
On the basis of the offering can be said: “And he will be forgiven” (verses 26,31,3526All its fat he shall offer up in smoke on the altar as [in the case of] the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin, and he will be forgiven.31Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat was removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar for a soothing aroma to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven.35Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offerings, and the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven.). Then the joy of forgiveness comes back (Rom 4:6-86just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered.8“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”). With the Israelite, repetition of the offering is always necessary. He only knows the certainty of forgiveness after having brought an offering. When he commits a new sin, he must come with a new offering.
The Christian may know the certainty of the forgiveness of all his sins on the basis of the once for all accomplished work of Christ (Heb 10:1-141For the Law, since it has [only] a shadow of the good things to come [and] not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.2Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?3But in those [sacrifices] there is a reminder of sins year by year.4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.5Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me;6In whole burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin You have taken no pleasure.7“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of Me) To do Your will, O God.’”8After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure [in them]” (which are offered according to the Law),9then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second.10By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,13waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.). If he sins, Christ must not die again for him, but he must confess his sin. Then God is “faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins” (1Jn 1:99If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.), on the basis of the once for all accomplished work of Christ.