Some Parallels Between Leprosy & Sin (Part 3)
In our prior two lessons, we noted seven parallels between leprosy and sin:
  1. Leprosy appears to be harmless at first, and so does sin.
  2. Leprosy is primarily an individual problem, and so is sin.
  3. Leprosy causes a person to be unclean, and so does sin.
  4. Leprosy can spread on the individual, and so can sin.
  5. Leprosy can be spread to others by close association, and so can sin.
  6. Leprosy causes separation, and so does sin.
  7. Leprosy can be manifested by means of different body parts, and so can sin.

8. Leprosy can cause physical death, and so can sin.
It is possible for some skin diseases to cause significant disfigurement and eventually lead to death. In the past, being healed from leprosy was rare (cf. Luke 4:27). Sin can also lead to death (cf. Rom. 5:12). In fact, it always leads to death--except in the cases where it is forgiven by God. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). Leprosy was not something to be considered lightly, and neither is sin. Both can be fatal.

9. Leprosy must be cleansed by following divine instructions, and so must sin.
Leviticus 14:2ff records - "This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest. And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper, then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop..." The detailed, divine instructions continue for about half of the chapter. If one is truly to be cleansed, he must be cleansed in accordance with God's instructions. The same is true today regarding cleansing from sin. Peter commanded in Acts 2:38 - "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [i.e., cleansing] of sins..." And, for those who have already been baptized into Christ, John instructs us - "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). Cleansing is impossible for those unwilling to submit to the Lord's instructions.

10. Leprosy is sometimes cleansed without genuine gratitude, and so is sin.
Luke 17:12-19 reads:

"Then as He [Jesus] entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!' So when He saw them, He said to them, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, 'Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?' And He said to him, 'Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.'"

One can only hope that the other nine were grateful to God, even if they did not go back to Jesus and verbally thank Him properly. What would you do, friend, if a burden like this were lifted from your life? Would you be grateful and express it? Sadly, too many of those who have been cleansed from sin fail to realize the true value of the blessing Almighty God has granted them. They are excited to be saved, but they are too self-absorbed to really comprehend the riches they have received. Matthew 13:20-22 speaks of shallow and distracted types of people - "But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful." May those who are blessed to be cleansed of sin take their Christian life seriously and show appropriate gratitude to their Savior.