Leviticus 20-22: “The Wages of Sin”
To briefly recap, last time, in Leviticus chapters 18-19, we went over sins that God consideredan abomination, or confusion, such as incest, adultery, sodomy, bestiality, wizardry.
Before that, in Leviticus 16-17, we covered the Blood Atonement.
And we talked about how salvation is through faith alone, and that the carnal laws were fulfilled in Christ …
… but the MORAL LAWS, which are a characteristic of God’s own eternal nature, are UNCHANGING.
In simple terms: we don’t have to worry about mixing fibers in our clothing or slaughtering animals, but God’s Moral Laws are still relevant for Christians today.
Romans 3:31: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
& that about sums up everything we’ve covered so far.
And Paul says in Romans 6 regarding salvation:
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
So this emphasizes that, while we are living under grace, we should still live holy lives.
• And the verse that I want to focus on in that verse is: “WHETHER OF SIN UNTO DEATH”.
The most common Bible verse we use when we preach the Gospel to a lost soul is: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
• Romans 6:23 sums up the LAW and GRACE.
• On the LEFT SIDE of that equation is the LAW which results in DEATH.
• On the RIGHT SIDE of that passage is THE GRACE of GOD through Christ which leads to life.
One speaks of GOD’S JUSTICE, the other of HIS MERCY.
So turn to Leviticus 20 and keep in mind THE BIBLICAL IDEA that SIN leads to DEATH.
THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH.
READ LEVITICUS 20:1-2
We see that the same sins listed in Leviticus 18 & 19 which we read last week … are again listed in Leviticus 20.
… butt his time, the PENALTIES are given …
… And the PENALTIES are always DEATH.
• VERSE 6, 9, 10, 11-12, 13, 15-16, 27
So in all these transgressions, the DEATH PENALTY WAS ALWAYS APPLIED.
Whether it was adultery (Leviticus 18:20), which God called a defilement …
Whether it was sodomy, (Leviticus 18:21), which God called an abomination.
Or whether it was bestiality (Leviticus 18:22), which God called confusion …
So all of these included the death penalty … The wages of sin is death …
BUT TURN TO ROMANS 5.
ROMANS 5 explains the fundamental doctrine of GRACE.
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
AND HERE’S THE KEY PART:
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
So all of the ABOMINATIONS listed in LEVITICUS 18-20 led to DEATH by the LAW …
… but by the BLOOD OF JESUS, GRACE ABOUNDED through FAITH to ALL who had committed these abominations …
So the BLOOD covers ALL sins listed in Leviticus 18.
We can’t pick & choose which laws from Leviticus God’s grace is sufficient for.
The grace of God is sufficient for the WHOLE LAW.
But what about reprobates? People will say, well, sodomites are reprobates.
Now, I do believe that there are reprobates.
But not everyone who’s broken Leviticus 18:22 is a reprobate!
Breaking the Laws of Leviticus is not what makes you reprobate.
There’s more to it than that.
The passage in Romans 1 which speaks about reprobates BEGINS and ENDS with the same thing: knowingly rejecting God in their knowledge.
Romans 1:21: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
Romans 1:28 says: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;”
So if somebody gets mixed up and breaks Leviticus 18:22 or 18:23 or 18:21, it doesn’t mean that now you’re beyond God’s grace!
Romans 5:20-21 again:
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
As we sin, the level of grace increases to meet the level of our sin.
Not that we should continue to sin so that grace may abound.
That’s what Paul says next …
Romans 6:15: “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the Law, but under grace? God forbid!”
And that’s why in 1 Corinthians 6 we have the phrase, “abusers of themselves with mankind”.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
• Now, what about the DEATH PENALTY & our Civil Laws?
God demanded the death penalty for certain sins:
This included the list that we covered: incest, adultery, sodomy, bestiality, cursing your parents, witchcraft & more.
The question is: Should the death penalty be a valid form of justice for our civil governments … and if so, for which crimes?
• That becomes an arbitrary question, if you base it on anything but the Bible.
• Because what’s the standard that you’re going to use to determine the laws of government?
*** Well, we have a BOOK right here that tells us!
And I’m not talking in any way about vigilante justice or individual justice.
I’m talking about whether the governments of the world should be based on Biblical Law.
And if not, then what standard can we use to apply A SYSTEM OF JUSTICE & RIGHTEOUSNESS in our land?
Some people want to institute the death penalty for murder & rape & child molesters (and I agree!) ….
… but when it comes to adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, a different standard is applied.
And what are they basing that on?
On what basis do we pick which crimes against God & man are horrendous enough to institute the Death Penalty?
The best rule of thumb would be based on God’s moral Laws.
And that’s hard for people to stomach in modern America.
But consider for a moment that it’s relatively new in American history, for sodomy, for example, to be legal.
The FOUNDING FATHERS of America actually held to the conviction that allowing sodomites out in the open would be detrimental to society.
That it would ERODE the moral foundations of the nation.
Since we’re discussing the civil Law in Leviticus, the penalties, let’s look back for a minute at a few historical facts about our own nation.
The founding father’s were very versed in a law book that laid the cornerstone for much of American Law, called Blackstone’s Commentary on the Law of England.
Blackstone said: “the infamous crime against nature, committed either with man or beast…. is an offence of so dark a nature… as a crime not fit to be named … THIS the voice of nature and of reason, and the express law of God, determine to be capital.
In all 13 American colonies, homosexuality was illegal & this eventually extended to all 50 states.
Here is New York’s original state legistlature:
That the detestable and abominable vice of buggery [sodomy] . . . shall be from henceforth adjudged felony . . . and that every person being thereof convicted by verdict, confession, or outlawry [unlawful flight to avoid prosecution], shall be hanged by the neck until he or she shall be dead.
That if any man shall lie with mankind as he lieth with womankind, both of them have committed abomination; they both shall be put to death.
Sodomy . . . shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labour in the penitentiary during the natural life or lives of the person or persons convicted of th[is] detestable crime.
[T]he detestable and abominable vice of buggery [sodomy] . . . be from henceforth adjudged felony . . . and that the offenders being hereof convicted … shall suffer such pains of death and losses and penalties of their goods.
That if any man lieth with mankind as he lieth with a woman, they both shall suffer death.
Even Thomas Jefferson, defender of human rights, author of the Bill of Rights, In Notes on the State of Virginia in 1794 indicated that in his home state of Virginia, “dismemberment” of the offensive organ was the penalty for sodomy.
So this acceptance of sodomy and homosexuals in America is very new, relative to our nation’s history.
And it’s the same for adultery: the punishment was death in the book of Leviticus.
And these things are very hard for our minds to endure in our modern culture.
But you have to understand that if sodomy was punishable by death: would we have homosexuals prancing in the street during “gay pride” parades?
• Would our Liberal Social government force sodomite-education down the throats of our children?
• Would it be promoted in Hollywood & the media?
The Brain washing would stop, in other words, and sodomites would go back in the closet where they belong!
LOOK AT TRANSGENDERISM!
A man dresses up like a woman and goes into a woman’s locker-room and we’re supposed shut up and say, ‘Yes, Ma’am” to a grown man in women’s clothing!
The Bible says it’s an ABOMINATION!
So having these laws in our society, would curb the societal appetite for sin!
It would be a deterrent. It wouldn’t be taught in our schools to our children anymore! It wouldn’t be on TV!
LOOK AT ABORTION
In the 1960s, when abortion was illegal …
… Illegal abortions were in the THOUSANDS per yer … maybe 1,000 – 2,000 per year.
Even if that statistic is off, and it 5,000 per year …. Compare that to today’s 1.5 million babies killed per year after Roe v. Wade!
So instituting God’s Laws for sodomy, for adultery, for bestiality, would act as a major deterrent in our culture and GOD WOULD THEN BLESS OUR LAND!
America is falling apart today! Do you think it’s an accident that as we’ve become permissive in morality that the seams of our nation are falling apart at an accelerated rate?
And I have no illusion that this is ever going to happen, until Jesus returns.
But when Jesus sets up His millennial reign, the Bible says in Revelation 2:27, He WILL RULE with a ROD OF IRON!
And we will be ruling with Him.
AND REMEMBER, Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:8 that the LAW IS GOD.
8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
11According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
12And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
13Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
*** But people will say … WHAT ABOUT the WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY?
And this is mentioned in John 8.
Some modern versions even take out this passage from the Bible completely, because it’s not widely understood.
But in John 8, the Pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus and ask Him if she should be stoned …
And Jesus shows the woman mercy and says: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
And, look, I think many of us would do the same if it was our wives or husbands caught in adultery.
We would extend individual mercy …
But people wrongly assume that now the death penalty is done away with under the New Covenant.
But what people miss is that this was a trap which was laid for Jesus …
… by the Pharisees who wanted to use every opportunity for His destruction.
Here’s what people miss:
The nation of Israel had been taken over by Rome.
It was a Roman province.
Israel did not have the political authority to use the death penalty.
They needed Rome’s permission …
… that’s why when the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus, they took Him to Pilate … they couldn’t do it themselves.
And so instead they laid a TRAP for JESUS with the woman caught in adultery.
They PUBLICLY asked Jesus if she should be stoned.
If HE answered, NO, do not stone her ….
…. The JEWS could not possibly accept Him as the Messiah …
… Because the Messiah could not go against the LAW of GOD. Against Leviticus.
And if Jesus had said, YES – stone her …
… Jesus would have been in defiance of Roman Law …
… And the Pharisees trap would have worked.
So Jesus answered wisely, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
• And in this way, Jesus also showed INDIVIDUAL MERCY, which is at GOD’S DISCRETION to do …
Isn’t that what Jesus is about? Individual mercy for the sinner who deserves death?
We can’t forget God’s grace and mercy and compassion …
But that doesn’t negate the MORAL LAWS as a valid civil and political model for Godly governments …
That’s what most of our laws are still based on. It’s wrong to steal, it’s wrong to kill, it’s wrong to rape …
…. but we’ve just left off certain of the Moral Laws because we’ve slipped as a culture into moral relativism …
… & rejected the Bible.
Remember also … that Leviticus 20:10 says that when a man and woman are caught in adultery, that both the man and the woman are to be brought out and executed.
But where was the MAN in this scenario?
This was another indication that it was a trap being set for Jesus …
LEVITUCUS 20:10: “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”
But where was the man?
John 8:6 even says that the Pharisees had asked Jesus in order to “tempt him, that they may have cause to accuse him.”
LEVITICUS CHAPTER 20 ENDS with instructions again to be holy, to be separate, to be a peculiar nation unto God.
• Let’s briefly cover a few points in Leviticus 21 & 22, which lays out holiness laws for the priests.
We’re going to cover these 2 chapters quickly, because they’re really more technical details for the priests being dedicated & set apart, even from among the people.
So let’s just cover some of the main points, and we’ll end with that.
The people of God were set apart from the surrounding nations …. That really has been a major theme in Leviticus.
Now the priests are set apart even higher.
We saw this earlier in the prohibition of mixing fibers in their clothing, which was a way to separate the priests from the common people.
And now we see more separation in Lev. 21 & 22.
READ LEVITICUS 21:1-4
This meant that the priest could not be near dead bodies, except for immediate family.
This was again becausethe wages of sin was death, and the priest was not to be around sin.
It was symbolic.
READ LEVITICUS 21:7
This meant the priest had to be marry a virgin and he could not marry a woman that is divorced.
This goes right to the qualifications of a bishop also in 1 Timothy 3. It parallels that exactly.
1 Timothy 3:2: “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife …”
So a bishop, today, cannot be divorced or marry a divorced woman. He’s to be the husband of one wife.
And it’s interesting because one of the specific attacks on me and on this church, when a jealous pastor was trying to take down this ministry, was to say, “oh, he’s probably divorced.”
It was a strategic attempt to disqualify me as a pastor.
Jesus considered that adultery when He said in Luke 16:18: “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from [her] husband committeth adultery.”
Of course, this went back to the SACRIFICIAL LAMB, which had to be without blemish, representative of the fact that Jesus was without sin …
This applied to the priests also. There had to be symbolic purity to represent Jesus.
That covers chapter 21.
And chapter 22 details miscellaneous separation and purity laws for the priests & covers instructions for their own offerings to the Lord …
And chapter 22 concludes with vs. 31-33 with a reminder that God’s people and his priests are to be holy …
So next in the Leviticus series, we’re going to cover the Sabbath, the festivals, holydays, and feasts, starting at chapter 23.