There is a very important passage in Leviticus 16 which gives us insight into how God deals with sin in his family. This chapter describes the great Jewish holiday called Yom Kippur. Christians call it "The Day of Atonement." You will need to read Leviticus 16, in entirety, to get a full picture of it. I will summarize below.
- High Priest has to sacrifice a bull. The bull sacrifice is for his own sins
- Two goats are chosen
- One goat will be sacrificed and the other is taken outside and set loose.
- The sacrificial goat takes the punishment for sin.
- The other goat is called a "scapegoat," and it carries the guilt of sin outside the community where is wanders around the rest of its life, symbolizing the banishment of sin.
- All the leftovers from the sacrifice are burned.
- Everyone who handles the goats and bull have to take a bath afterward and change clothes.
What this means for us is that we must fully repent of our sin. The wages of sin is death, so the goat is sacrificed. But that is not all. A second goat, called the "scapegoat" carries the sin away. The name "scapegoat" comes from the word "escape," meaning we escape the guilt of sin by sending it away. What that means is we don't go back and sin again. Repentance is not repentance if we persist in the sin. Sin has to be killed and also banished, never to return. In addition, we must take a bath (This is baptism) and change our clothes (Clothes symbolize your lifestyle). In other words, God wants no sin in his family.
What a blessing that Jesus is both our sacrifice, who died for our sin, but also our escape. His execution took place outside of the city, where he carried the weight of our sins like the scapegoat of Leviticus 16. Outside the city, away from everyone, where he died in ignominy, abandoned by virtually everyone except those who came to spit on him and a very small crew of faithful ones.
Lets make sure we are living lives of purity before the Lord who sees everything, and lets make sure to repent fully of our sin when we discover it!