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Monday, May 21, 2012

The Cure for spiritual leprosy

Luke 17:11-13 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. 12As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; 13and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Yesterday we considered how sin can be likened to spiritual leprosy by comparing it to the leprosy spoken of in Leviticus 13.  Today we want to know: What is the cure for spiritual leprosy?  By way of review, here is what we discovered about sin or spiritual leprosy and its characteristics:

1. It Deteriorates the soul
2. It Debilitates the soul
3. It Deforms the soul
4. It Destroys the soul
5. It Defiles the soul

Jesus confronts two types of leprosy
Jesus was on his way to Jersualem, passing between Samaria and Galilee.  Like the priests in Leviticus 13-14, whenever it came time to go and inspect a leprous person, they would journey outside the camp of Israel.  Jesus, the Great High Priest, was about 45 miles North of Jerusalem.

On his way he was met by 10 lepers.  Now these men did not cry out what was prescribed by the law: "Unclean, Unclean".  Rather they were so desperate that they cried out: "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"  They did not want to be made ritually clean only, they wanted healing.  The Bible states after Jesus told them to go on their way, they were cleansed.  God in human flesh had done a great work - Christ had healed these men. 

However He told them to go to the priests at the temple.  Now this was impossible for two reasons - first these men were Samitans - and Samaritans were forbidden on The Temple Grounds.  Second, the priests would have to go to the lepers, rather than the lepers going to the priests. 

For whatever reason only one came back to Jesus.  That one leper saw the impossibility of being able to follow through with what Jesus said.  We must remember that the law of God is prescribed to man to point the way to Jesus Christ.  Only when I by grace am brought to terms with my own inability to contribute saving benefits for my own salvation from the law will I then come to Jesus to be saved. The law cannot impart healing of spiritual leprosy, rather it points to the One who alone can cure - Christ.    Thus he came back and thanked Him.  Jesus, upon seeing this man, said literally in the Greek text of Luke 17:19 "Rise up and go, your faith has saved you".  This man not only had his physical leprosy cured, but moreso his spiritual leprosy. 

What was needed, and is still needed to cure spiritual leprosy
What happened that led to the curing of this man's spiritual leprosy?  Let me suggest four elements that were present that led to the cure of this man's spiritual leprosy:

1. Priestly Representative. Luke 17:11-13  This man, being a Samaritan, could not go to the priests in Jerusalem.  He sought the only one who could represent Him - Christ.  According to Hebrews 5 and 7, Christ is the believer's High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek.  This man saw no remedy in the Law, He fled into the arms of grace - Christ the Priestly representative.

2. Provision of the blood. Luke 17:14-18 Now in Leviticus 13,14 and 15, whenever the people sought cleansing, the priest would offer a sacrifice and sprinkling of blood.  Blood of an innocent was shed on their behalf.  As believers we have the provision of blood that was shed on our behalf by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Now you may say: Wait a minute - in Luke 17 Jesus had not yet went to the cross.  As true as that is, we do know that the affects of the cross not only reach forward to us today who by grace through faith believe on Christ and His work, but that work also reached backward into time. 

All the Old Testament saints were saved by believing on the Promise of God pointing to the cross, whereas we are saved by the Person of God in Jesus Christ who accomplished salvation on the cross.  This man was healed due to what Christ would accomplish.  Another passage, Matthew 8:17, quoted prior to Jesus' going to the cross, credits that future work for the healing of Peter's Mother-in-law.  No doubt, there was provision of blood that enabled this man to be forgiven of his spiritual leprosy. 

3. Pronouncement of cleansing. Luke 17:19Jesus tells this man that as a result of his faith, he has been made well.  The Greek word there for "well" is "saved".  Thus this man is pronounced clean, pure, innocent in the sight of God.  This is what Bible teachers call "justification by faith".  Christ judicially declared this man clean.  For every child of God at saving faith, God's divine declaration of the sinner's innocence occurs the moment the sinner repents and believes on Christ. 

On the cross Christ took on my spiritual leprosy.  Though never having sinned, he was "credited" or "declared sin".  When I by grace through faith believed on Jesus Christ, though it was clear I sinned, yet Christ's work and character was "credited" to me.  I was declared "righteous" due to Christ's righteousness.  Thus a spiritual leper is declared "clean" as a result of the application of blood by the Eternal High Priest.

4. Persist to live for God. Luke 17:19  Jesus told this man to "stand up and go".  All of those who were former spiritual lepers should not desire to remain in the leprous state of this world.  So often Christians are tempted to go back to the way they were, not realizing that having been healed. They have freedom to not only walk in the courts of fellowship with God, they have full access.  In Jesus Christ the saint of God is given power and priviledge to live the Christian walk.  It is our duty and delight to go tell a world full of spiritual lepers how they too can be cured of their spiritual leprousy. 

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