Sin: What’s The Big Deal?

“Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting. When they came out and blessed the people, the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Then fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces. Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD” (Lev 9:23—10:2).

The completion of the tabernacle in Exodus 39-40 with the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests (Lev 8-9) is depicted as a new, or perhaps, a renewed creation. With the entrance of Moses and Aaron into the Tabernacle (Lev 9:23), Israel is blessed, God's glory appears, and the world is just as it should be, even if only for one brief moment. But oh, how quickly things go awry, and the tragic fall of Genesis 3 is repeated. In Genesis 3:6, Eve, then Adam, are guilty for taking fruit God had commanded them not to eat within the Garden of Eden. In Leviticus 10:1, Nadab and Abihu are guilty for taking “strange fire” which the Lord had not commanded into the tent of meeting (Lev 10:1). The Lord's justice is swift. In Leviticus 9:24, fire comes out from before the Lord to consume the offerings. In Leviticus 10:2, fire comes out from before the Lord and consumes the offerers. In that day, they died (see Gen 2:17).

actually a big deal

Humanity has a wicked way of taming sin by putting it into conscience-soothing categories. “What's the big deal? I didn't kill anyone. I just ate something I wasn't supposed to! What's the big deal? I didn't commit adultery. I just worshipped the Lord in a way he hasn't commanded!” No friends. “Rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as the iniquity and idolatry” (1 Sam 15:23).

Rejecting God's word is never a little sin. It is rebellion against the King of kings and the LORD of lords.

By rejecting God's word, we choose in that very moment to put ourselves before and also above God.

Indeed: the blood of Jesus has cleansed us from all iniquity so that we can enter into the holy place with confidence. But in this confidence, I pray we will never cheapen God's grace by becoming flippant about his commandments!

“Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘It is what the LORD spoke, saying, “By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.”‘ So Aaron, therefore, kept silent” (Lev 10:3).

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