Making Restitution

“he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong” (Numbers 5:7).

In numbers 5, the Lord gave Moses instructions to share with the people, concerning confession and restitution. He was to speak to the people about what would happen, when a person committed a sin of unfaithfulness to God. The person was to confess his sin and then make full restitution for the wrong he had done. In this case the person should pay for the wrong that they had committed and add one fifth to their payment. In the event that the person wasn’t alive to receive the restitution, the person who committed the offence would go to the Priest and make atonement.

The word restitution means the restoration of something lost or stolen to its rightful owner. Atonement is the action of making amends for wrong or injury. While the two words are similar, the difference is that restitution is giving back what was taken. Atonement on the other hand may not include restoration, but an action can be done to compensate for the wrong done. We see this principle being applied in law and cases brought to court includes settlements to either award restitution of things lost or stolen. In some instances, a guilty person who is convicted, may serve a prison sentence to make atonement for the wrongs committed.

We can see where the legal justice systems, developed out of the Old Testament law handed down from God to Moses. In order to not stray from the point, we need to see how the principles of restitution, restoration and atonement are relevant or significant for us today. For the body of Christ, Jesus made the final atonement for our sins on the cross. “by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross”(Colossians 2:14). While Jesus died to atone for our sins, there are wrongs that we may commit against others that will require reconciliation.

Reconciliation is the restoration of a broken relationship. Jesus said that before we offer our sacrifice at the altar, if we remember that we have a disagreement with someone; “leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:24). In addition to reconciliation, there are some wrongs that have been committed that requires restitution. If it is within your power to do so and you know for example that something was wrongly taken from someone, give it back. Saying sorry is good and being genuinely sorry about a wrong committed is also good. There are times when God will require us to go a step further in making restitution or atonement.

“But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house” (Proverbs 6:31).


16 thoughts on “Making Restitution

    1. Hmmm. I was wondering if I should do a part 2. I do keep my post within a certain word limit. Not something I’ve consciously decided, but I try not to make them long. Less is more I think and getting the point home with fewer words works for me. As long as people get the point is the focus. 🙏🏾

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Great message Anneta.
    This is meat not milk 😂.
    These days people they want something that don’t command us to repent but taking action especially about restitution and saying words like I am really sorry for what I did.
    I like the teaching!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

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