One of the greatest unapplied truths of the Christian life is restitution. This lack of application may be due to ignorance, fear, or pride, but whatever the case, it is a major hindrance to growth in grace and is a retardant to revival in the church. Here is the teaching from Leviticus 6:1-7:
The LORD said to Moses: “If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving his neighbor about something entrusted to him or left in his care or stolen, or if he cheats him, or if he finds lost property and lies about it, or if he swears falsely, or if he commits any such sin that people may do¾when he thus sins and becomes guilty, he must return what he has stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to him, or the lost property he found, or whatever it was he swore falsely about. He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day he presents his guilt offering. And as a penalty he must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, his guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any of these things he did that made him guilty.” (NIV)
There are several things to notice about this passage. First, the LORD said it. Secondly, the sin committed against a neighbor is unfaithfulness to the LORD. Thirdly, He specifically mentions deception, stealing, cheating, lying about finding lost property and swearing falsely, but he adds the all-inclusive “any such sin that people may do.”
All of this is based on an “if.” “If anyone sins,” he becomes guilty. The guilt is real. The guilt is good. It is not false guilt; it comes from God. Guilt is to our conscience as pain is to the body. Both are unpleasant, but they tell us something is wrong.
In the passage we are then told how to rectify the situation to God, our neighbor and ourselves. It is very simple solution. It is simply returning what we have stolen, taking it back, plus 20% interest, and offering a guilt offering to the Lord. These two things are to be done on the same day. The result is that “he will be forgiven for any of these things he did that made him guilty.” Forgiveness is the opposite or the absence of guilt. It is very real. The pain of guilt is gone.
(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)