Leviticus 20

Talks for Growing Christians

Penalties for Serious Offenses

Leviticus 20

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Lesson Number 20

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Law’s stiff penalties for sin revealed God’s holiness.
  2. The Law’s stiff penalties for sin provided God’s protection.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t lower God’s moral standards.


  1. Where have we seen a similar list of heinous offenses before?
  2. Why such stiff penalties under the Law? (especially stiff when you compare what the penalty would be today in the courts for these sins)
  3. Verses 22-25 explain another reason for these standards of holiness. What was it?
  4. How did the Law’s stiff penalties protect God’s people?
  5. Give two ways you could lower God’s moral standards.
  6. Why aren’t we advocating the death penalty for Christians who commit the sins listed here today?


  1. In Leviticus 18 we saw a number of gross and heinous sins listed that were expressly forbidden under the Law. Now here in chapter 20 we have the penalties and punishments for these offenses.
  2. “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the Lord who sanctifies you.” Leviticus 20:7-8. Stiff penalties maintained God’s standards and revealed God’s holiness.
  3. That when God’s people came into the good land that He was giving them they would be different and separate from the people and pagan practices of the nations of Canaan.
  4. The stiff penalties for off limits sexual activity not only protected God’s people from sexually transmitted diseases, but also protected families from abnormal relationships. This permitted the family, God’s basic social unit, to exercise normal love and affection.
  5. 1. To treat God’s laws lightly and be involved in sinful practices 2. Not to punish people who break God’s moral laws.
  6. Because the Church is not a theocracy under the Law. The highest form of discipline in the Church is excommunication.


  1. “Stiff penalties maintained God’s standards and revealed God’s holiness.” Discuss this principle. This is not a common mindset in our homes or society today. How might things look different if it were?
  2. Normal love and affection could thrive within families when off limits sexual activity was defined. Discuss how boundaries lead to freedom, if we set them wisely.


  1. Parents, when you don’t properly punish children for deliberate acts of rebellion you are in essence lowering God’s moral standards. Don’t make light of God’s moral standards.

Key Verses

  • “I will set My face against that man, and will cut him off from his people.” Leviticus 20:3
  • “You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out. And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them.” Leviticus 20:22-23

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