James, chapters 1 & 2

“But the one who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and continues in it has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; and he will be happy in what he does.”
~James 1:25

What is the “perfect law that belongs to freedom?”
It is the “Law of Christ,” which “encompasses everything that Jehovah requires of us.” (Gal. 6:2; Watchtower 7-15-2012, p. 8, parr. 4)
It frees us from being slaves to our fleshly desires and habits. (Rom. 8:5,6; 2 Pet. 2:19)
When we learn to act in unison with God’s holy spirit, displaying qualities such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and self-control, there is no divine law that limits those qualities. We are free to display them without limits. (2 Cor. 3:17; Gal. 5:18,22,23)
If we observe Christ’s law, under God’s kingdom, we will also be free of sin and death. (Rom. 8:20,21)
We peer into the law when we study God’s way of thinking to try to make it our own. (John 8:31,32; 1 Tim. 4:15; Jas. 2:12)

Hosea, chapters 1-7

“Their dealings do not permit them to return to their God […].
The pride of Israel has testified against him […].”

~Hosea 5:4,5
It would be a misstep to think we can temporarily stray from God to practice sin and then just repent and return to him whenever we feel like it.
The Bible account teaches us that a person may become so proud, he or she never repents.
That way of thinking is a dangerous course to embark on and not worth the risk of losing God’s grace.

Job, chapters 11-15

“[…] You keep counting my every step; You watch only for my sin.”
~Job 14:16

When Job suffered depression, he thought God would focus on his past mistakes, like humans erroneously do.
While it is true that God does not deceive Himself and ignore our sins entirely, he does not dwell on the past when we are willing to repent (Ps. 130:3; 139:3).
Therefore, we should not assume Jehovah is drawing away from us because of mistakes we have asked him to forgive (Jas. 4:8).
Sometimes people close to us make us feel unwanted, useless and that we are in their way.
They might take advantage of our affection and take out their frustration on us.
People who are depressed are more likely to be victims of this, as they are more vulnerable and less likely to defend themselves.
Job apparently thought Jehovah would victimize him in this way.
He accused Jehovah of holding on to his transgressions, as if He had ‘sealed them up in a bag’ or ‘with glue,’ (Job 14:17).
How wonderful it is to understand that God is not really like that, but his kindness surpasses that we could expect of any human (Ps. 103:8,14; Isa. 55:6-9).
In effect, Jehovah focuses on us to find what is good, appreciating what we have to offer (2 Cor. 8:12).

Numbers, chapters 14-16

And the priest will make atonement for the person who made a mistake by an unintentional sin before Jehovah, so as to make atonement for it, and it will be forgiven him.
~Numbers 15:28

Here we see Jehovah God’s merciful side, for he differentiates between one who sins out of ignorance or incompetence from one who sins as a consequence of pre-meditated evil.

Upon the realization of having committed a sin, Christians do not need to present an animal sacrifice as Israelites did, but Christ did give us instructions as to how to make amends with God.

“When you pray, go into your private room and, after shutting your door, pray to your Father who is in secret . . . ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified . . . and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,’” (Matt. 6:6-12).

When sinning against someone, Christ instructed his followers to ‘first make your peace with your brother, and then, when you have come back, offer up your gift [to God]’ (Matt. 5:23,24).

If the sin is a serious wrongdoing, the congregation received these instructions:

“Is there anyone [spiritually] sick among you? Let him call the older men of the congregation to him, and let them pray over him, greasing him with oil in the name of Jehovah. And the prayer of faith will make the indisposed one well, and Jehovah will raise him up. Also, if he has committed sins, it will be forgiven him [by God]. Therefore openly confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may get healed,” (Jas. 5:14-16).

The ‘greasing with oil’ figuratively refers to the refreshing Bible-based counsel mature elders give to the spiritually ‘indisposed.’

We should not, then,  fear admitting our sins, for Jehovah promises that he who is “leaving them will be shown mercy,” (Prov. 28:13).

Leviticus, chapters 10-13

If a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a male, she will be unclean for seven days […] If she should give birth to a female, she will then be unclean for 14 days […]
~Leviticus 12:2,5

Why this discrepancy in the length of time an Israelite woman would be considered unclean?

At first read it seems rather sexist.

What did being unclean imply?

During the time she was physically unclean, the woman was not to have sexual relations with her husband. This promoted self-discipline and hygiene in the Israelite culture. During the next 33 days, in the case of a baby boy, or 66 days, in the case of a baby girl, the mother was ceremonially unclean, which meant she was not to come into contact with holy objects (Lev. 12:4,5; Insight on the Scriptures, vol. ii, “Mother,” par. 3).

Why was the new mother “unclean” to begin with?

The research explains that because of the imperfect state of humanity, the reproductive organs which were once meant to pass perfect life, now actually pass the “inherited effects of sin,” that is, illness and death (Watchtower, 5/15/2004, p. 23; Ps. 51:5; Rom. 5:12).

This ‘passing on of sin’ required some atonement, which is why God asked for a burnt offering and a sin offering, (Lev. 12:6).

These sacrifices foreshadowed Christ’s sacrifice which would atone for all of repentant humanity’s sins (Gal. 3:24; Heb. 9:13,14; 10:3,4).

To put this into a more familiar context, let us remember that even Mary recognized her own sinful state when she and Joseph presented baby Jesus at the temple and offered a humble sacrifice (Luke 2:22-24).

Israelite birth customs drew attention to our lamentable condition of being born in sin as opposed to perfection, and therefor highlighted the need for a savior from this state, the need for the expected Messiah.

So why the discrepancy in the length of “unclean” time between the sexes?

In the Bible, ‘the woman was created for the sake of the man,’ and not the other way around, (1 Cor. 11:9).

In family life, a woman is to subject to her husband’s role as head of the household (Eph. 5:22,23).

“Thus, from birth, the Law distinguished between male and female, assigning to the latter a subordinate position,” (Insight on the Scriptures, vol. i, “Clean,” par. 11).

From this we can conclude that the time needed for a mother to become physically and ceremonially clean after giving birth to a girl served to remind society that not only were they all sinners, but females should subject to their husbands/fathers within family life.