Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sin is Spiritual Leprosy

Leviticus 13:1-2 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2“When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling or a scab or a bright spot, and it becomes an infection of leprosy on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests.

Whenever you hear words like "cancer" or "AIDS", instant images and dread grips the mind.  In human history we have read about diseases that turned into outright plagues - killing millions of people.  However there is one disease that has killed billions - the S-I-N virus. 

In Leviticus 13, 14 and 15 we see the profane nature of sin illustrated by God in three sets of instructions given to His people.  I would classify Leviticus 13,14,and 15 as among the more grossest chapters to read - however that estimation is how we should regard sin.  Sin should repulse us - just like the three word pictures employed by Moses: Leprosy (Leviticus 13); Mold (Leviticus 14) and Uncleanliness (Leviticus 15). 

What kind of disease was leprosy, and how does it picture sin?
Various commentators have attempted to identify what exactly Moses was referring to when God gave sanitary laws dealing with leprous infections.  Some have suggested the dreaded "Hansen's" disease or what is known as modern day leprousy, where quite literally the human body destroys itself.  Others have suggested various skin ailments.  Whatever the disease may be, we do know that the disease followed a predicted pattern and produced definite outcomes.  By viewing these outcomes, we can see why God used this disease in Leviticus 13 to illustrate sin as "spiritual leprosy".  Note the five characteristics of sin as spiritual leprosy:

1. Like leprosy, sin deteriorates.  Leviticus 13:1-13

2. Like leprosy, sin debilitates.  Leviticus 13:14-28

3. Like leprosy, sin deforms. Leviticus 13:29-37

4. Like leprosy, sin destroys. Leviticus 13:38-46

5. Like leprosy, sin defiles. Leviticus 13:47-52

As you read through Leviticus 13, though you are reading about a serious disease dealt with back in the days of ancient Israel, you are ultimately getting a word picture of why it is sin must be hated and why only God in Christ can provide the cure. Throughout the scriptures, leprosy, though not in every case, was nonetheless used on occassion to illustrate sinful rebellion.  Gehazi in 2 Kings 5:27 and Uzziah in 2 Kings 15:5 both broke out in leprosy for their rebellion against God and His authority. 

Leprosy was virtually incurable, and in human terms was incurable by human medicine.  Only God could cure the leper. God healed the Syrian general Naaman in 2 Kings 5 and Jesus healed lepers in Matthew 8:1-13 and Luke 17:11-19. Like the leprosy in those cases, our sin and shame before a Holy God can only be dealt with effectively through faith and trust in Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:24 states - "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."