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NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week's Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies for Life curriculum.

Bible Passages: Leviticus 5:1, 4-5, 14-16; 6:1-7

Discussion Questions:

-- Why is it important to read the Book of Leviticus as a book about fellowship with God rather than a rule book for religion?

-- Why do you think God requires both confession and repentance for the worshipper to give an acceptable offering to the Lord?

-- Why does asking forgiveness from someone we have wronged sometimes seem shallow if it is not backed up by actions?

Food for Thought:

Because the blood of Jesus can "cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9), believers often take a casual view of sin, thinking all we need to do is say a quick prayer and ask for forgiveness. While God's capacity to forgive is unlimited, we must remember that all sin offends holy God. Holiness is a concept that is lost in today's society. Yet God expects His people to be holy. In fact, the theme of the Book of Leviticus is "be holy because I am holy" (Lev. 11:44). Honoring God's holiness involves right relationships with God and with each other.

God requires us to acknowledge our guilt. Leviticus 5 begins with a section that describes cases when sin offerings are required for both sins of omission and commission. When we dishonor God's holiness, we need to recognize that a right relationship with God requires a sacrifice. Thankfully, Jesus made that sacrifice for all sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). However, sin destroys our fellowship with God and requires admitting our sin through true confession and genuine repentance.

Since sin offends holy God and breaks fellowship with Him, the sinner needs to get right with God. This requires true confession of sin; restitution is one way to express true confession. Leviticus required an additional 20 percent restitution for those who had damaged others with their sin. A person meets the demand for confession and restitution when he puts his faith in Jesus Christ. Though all those demands are met in Christ, the grace of God also encourages us to make things right with others we have wronged (see Zacchaeus's example in Luke 19:8).

We honor God's holiness by living in harmony with His family. To live in harmony, we often must make amends with those who have wronged us or with those whom we have wronged. Leviticus 6:1-7 describes this process. To the best of our ability, we should seek forgiveness from God and attempt to make amends with those we have harmed.

Bible Studies for Life

Bible Studies for Life is a life-stage focused family of resources that addresses key issues in the lives of adults and students. LifeWay is making improvements to Bible Studies for Life that take effect in the fall of this year. To see those improvements, go to www.biblestudiesforlife.com/fallpreview .

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.

Ken Braddy, manager of LifeWay's adult ongoing curriculum, regularly blogs about Sunday School and small groups at sundayschoolguy.wordpress.com.

Copyright (c) 2013 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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