How to return to God after sinning?
We have no intention to encourage anyone to live a loose life. Our lesson here is to show how one who has sinned can be restored to God.
We will now look at the Old Testament type that illustrates restoration to God after one has sinned.
Numbers 19 is a most unusual chapter in the Old Testament. All the offerings in the bible are Bulls and Rams, but there is one exception—a heifer, a female cow. All the offerings in the OT are slaughtered and offered to God, but this offering of the red heifer, though killed and burned, is very different than the rest. While the others were offered to God for current claims—that is, the sin offering, the burnt offering, or the peace offering according to the need of the day—the Red Heifer alone was not for the present need. It was offered to meet the future needs. This is something to remember.
Through Moses and Aaron the Lord commanded the people to bring a Red Heifer to Him. Notice it was not a Bull but a Heifer. Sex has its significance in the bible. All that pertains to truth and testimony is represented by the male sex, while all that speaks of experience and life is symbolized by the female sex. This is a principle in the study of the bible. Abraham represents justification by faith, and Sarah stands for obedience. Faith is objective, truthful, a testimony; obedience is subjective and experiential. The church as seen in the bible is always referred to by the female pronoun she represents the subjective work of the Lord upon men. The work of the Red Heifer is therefore subjective, not objective, in nature.
What had to be done to the Red Heifer? After it was slain it’s blood was sprinkled to the front of the tent of meeting seven times. This was to indicate that the blood was offered to God. The blood always works Godward. If it is not for God it is useless. Today we are redeemed because God has forgiven our sins. To sprinkle the blood of the Red Heifer toward the tent of meeting seven times was to offer it to God. In this respect it was joined to other offerings. As the other offerings we to atone for sins before God, so this offering were for the atonement for sins.
(Numbers 19:6-13 reference)
Here we find the special feature of the Red Heifer. “And one shall burn the Heifer in his sight; her skin her flesh and her blood with her dung, shall they burn”. The whole Heifer was to be burned, not a single bit remained unconsumed. “And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the mist of the burning Heifer”. The cedar and the hyssop represent the world and the entire universe. In describing the Wisdom of Solomon, it is said that, he spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even the hyssop that grows out of the wall. So, figuratively, the whole world was burned with the Red Heifer. The scarlet, I think represents our sins, as we find in Isaiah, “though your sin be as scarlet”. In other words, the sin of the whole world were consumed with the Red Heifer which was offered to God.
In this type we find the cross portrayed. When the Lord Jesus offered Himself to God, He took with Him to the cross all our sins, the sins of the whole world. Great sins and small sins, sins of yesterday, sins of today, and the sins of tomorrow are all included. Even sin which humanity may be reckoned as unforgiveable are part of the offering. All sins were heaped on the Red Heifer and were consumed with it.
So after the burning now what? They were instructed to gather all the ashes and store them in a clean place; and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for water for impurity: it is a sin offering. Here lies the uniqueness of the Red Heifer. Unlike other offerings, which only had their blood sprinkled before God, the ashes of the Red Heifer were kept for future use. Its usefulness was in the blood. What was the purpose? It was that one day when an Israelite sinned by touching something unclean, He might go to the priest who would mix the ashes with running water and sprinkle them upon the unclean person to make him clean. The ashes were to take away the defilement and sin. If a man has been defiled he cannot fellowship with God. Looking to another aspect of the redemption of Christ, He died for all our future sins as well. Jesus fulfilled the work God began thru the Red Heifer.