The “guilt offering” called for restitution for what has been lost or harmed in sin, plus twenty percent value in addition to the animal sacrifice (Leviticus 5:16, 6:5). More than with the other sacrifices, it seems that the guilt offering concerned human justice, providing other considerations to injured parties. The extra fifth payment demonstrates God’s recognition that damaged property has value above simple replacement costs. If someone steals your vase gifted by your deceased grandmother, the loss of your gift is greater than simply the cost of a similar vase.
Because putting a price tag on damaged property isn’t easy, God calls His people to go above and beyond to make things right with our neighbors when we wrong them. Justice stands at the heart of all the offerings owed to God, and this sacrifice shows that the God of justice cares about treating our neighbors justly and giving them proper consideration. God gave His laws to Israel not to simply keep people in line, but to demonstrate His ways. These laws taught Israel about their God and His throne, sitting on foundation of justice (Psalm 89:14). Let us remember this when we struggle while surrounded by injustice. God will not let evil go unpunished; He will make full recompense. At the same time, Jesus takes the just punishment for those that believe. Much more so should this cause us to consider people’s rights, yet also show extra kindness to our neighbor since we ultimately do not pay the fair penalty for our sins. God keeps justice and offers grace. May we do the same.