“Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat…
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 16:15, 21, 22 ESV)
On the Day of Atonement, we get a picture of just how completely our sins are atoned for. Two goats are selected. One is sacrificed as a son offering. The blood is sprinkled on the mercy seat. This shows that the death owed for sin is paid. But that is not all. The second goat is used to show us how completely these sins that are forgiven are removed from us. This goat that has our confessed sin on its head is led out into the wilderness, away from God’s presence. Isaiah explains that our sins are removed as far as he east is from the west. Often I think we need to be reminded of this, for we tend to hang on to our sin or at least hang on to the guilt of our sin. We do this as a form of self punishment. The problem is that when we do this, we ignore God’s own provision. It is as though we are rejecting the sacrifice of Christ and the fact that he carried our sins away from God’s presence for us. This means that after confession, we must let go of our guilt and live in the truth of God’s forgiveness. Only then will we be free from the bonds of sin and it’s baggage. Our refusal to let go of our own guilt also translates to a failure to forgive others. If we won’t let go of our guilt, why should we release others from theirs? This is revealing. It explains much as to why we have a hard time forgiving.
Lord, forgive me for holding onto my guilt, as though forcing myself to feel the weight of OT will some how pay it off. That is a form of pride. Ugh! Help me instead to walk in the joy and strength of your forgiveness. Amen.