He Remembers Our Sins No More (Leviticus 16:21–22) - Radical

He Remembers Our Sins No More (Leviticus 16:21–22)

“And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel and all their transgressions, all their sins, and he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness.”
-Leviticus 16:21–22

I love this picture. Leviticus 16:21-22 … This may be the central most important chapter in the book of Leviticus, because it describes the Day of Atonement, the one day during the year, where the High Priest would enter into the Holy of Holies and offer a sacrifice of atonement for his sins, and then for the sins of all the people.

The price for our disobedience to God has been paid and our sins are covered. Not only this, but through Christ our sins have been taken away.

Leviticus 16:21–22 Discusses Atonement

Basically, what would happen is that he would first offer an animal sacrifice to cover over his sins. Then he would take two goats. One, he would sacrifice, and that would be the offering to atone for … If you remember, from what we’ve seen in the book of Leviticus, that means to cover over sins. I mean, it’s literally a picture of the blood of a sacrifice being put over the covenant, so that when the Holy God sees that His covenant is broken by His people in their sin, that the penalty for sin has been poured out, that a substitute sacrifice has died for the sins of the people.

Then, there was this second goat. What would happen is, after the sacrifice of the first goat, the High Priest would come out, and he would put his hands — this is what Leviticus 16:21-22 is describing — on that live goat, confess all the sins of God’s people, their transgressions, over that goat, as a picture, with his hands on the goat’s head. It’d be a picture of those sins being passed onto this goat. That was the imagery here. Then that goat would be taken outside the camp and let go, free, in the wilderness. You can just imagine what a powerful picture that was.

The Meaning of the Cross

Yes, your sins have been covered, but not just covered. Get this imagery. This goat, representing all the sins of the people, taken away, let go, never ever to be seen again. This is the even greater reality we come to find in the New Covenant, in Christ. Jesus’s blood has been shed for our sins, so the price for our disobedience to God, death, has been paid by Jesus. His blood atones for our sins, but not just that. Our sins are not just covered. Jesus, by His death on the cross, through faith in Him, His resurrection from the dead … Our sins have been taken away, never to be seen or remembered again.

Leviticus 16:21–22 Reminds Us of Jesus’ Sacrifice

This is Isaiah 43:25. God says, “I remember your sins no more.” Psalm 103:8-12, “As far as the East is from the West, so far have I removed your transgressions from you.” Oh, if I take the time, I could start thinking about sins in my past that, oh, I wish I had not done, that I regret, that I still remember. It’s a pretty humbling, overwhelming, awesome thought to realize that the Holy God of the universe, though He is all-knowing … He does not have amnesia. It’s not like He doesn’t know what’s happened in the past in my life, but He chooses to remember those sins no more. He doesn’t count one of those sins against me.

Oh, hear this, in your own heart. You think about sin in your past. So know this. When you come to God through faith in Christ, not only does Jesus’ blood cover over your sins, but God, the omnipotent, omniscient, all-knowing God of the universe, Who knows all of those things, chooses not to count one of those things against you. He doesn’t remember them anymore. As far as the East is from the West, they are gone. They’re totally gone. They’re out of the picture. Is this not glorious news? So your sin and my sin, through faith in Christ, is totally out of the picture, and He remembers our sin no more.

A Prayer Based on Leviticus 16:21–22

All glory be to Your Name, O God! Thank You that we don’t have to constantly bring up the past before You, because You have said You remember it no more, that You choose not to hold any of those things against us. All glory be to Your Name for Your grace and Your mercy. Jesus, we praise You for paying the price to atone for our sins and paying the price to remove their memory forever. We will not be held accountable for eternity. For that, we praise you. They won’t be brought up against us.

All glory be to Your Name, O God, for this grace in our lives. So help us to live in this grace. Help us not to beat ourselves up over things in the past. Yes, God, help us to learn from our disobedience and even the consequences of that disobedience, but God, help us to live and rest and rejoice in Your grace, and then, God, help us to proclaim this grace.

Proclaiming the Good News

God, this is such glorious news. So everybody needs to hear this. God, use us to make this good news known. Use us to make this good news known among friends and coworkers and family members around us today and this week. God, help us to proclaim this good news. Help us to tell people that all their sins can be forgotten, removed, covered over, through faith in Jesus. God, help that word to be prominent on our lips this week and prominent in our lives. Around the world, God, use us to make this good news known among people who have never even heard it.

There’s people, all these people, who have never even heard the name of Jesus and about the sacrifice of Jesus for sin, who are trusting in themselves and trusting in false gods, looking for fulfillment in empty cisterns. God, we pray, use Your Church to make this good news known to every person and people group in the world, we pray. So, help us not to rest content until all have heard this great news, that sins can be covered and removed forever, by faith in Christ. All glory be to Your Name, O God. In Jesus’ Name, we pray, amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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