Sin is disfiguring and highly contagious. Paul warned that we can catch it from others and that it’s better to be thrown into the sea with a weight around our necks than to be a carrier spreading it to others.
Have you exposed yourself to some contagious sins? Are you guilty of spreading some sin to others?
Could You Be a Carrier?
Leprosy! What could God possibly have for us in all this discussion of bright skin, white skin, scales, and scabs?
Notice that God called this leprosy an uncleanness, not a disease. It was not the same disease we refer to today as leprosy (Hansen’s Disease). It is said that Pharaoh (of Moses fame) was infected with it and may have died from it. So it may have been associated with the plagues that God brought on the Egyptians. Even in the New Testament, when Jesus came in contact with lepers, it says He cleansed them, not that He healed them.
Leprosy in the Bible is a type, or a picture of, sin. When God delivered the nation of Israel from Egypt, he told them:
“If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you” (Ex. 15.26).
God used leprosy as an immediate judgment on sin numerous times in the Bible. When we get to the book of Numbers we will see Moses’ sister Miriam was struck with leprosy when she murmured against her brother. She was cleansed when Moses prayed for her.
We know that the Israelites frequently disobeyed God’s commands by involving themselves with the pagan culture around them, so at times, it may have been a judgment on sin, either in the individual’s life or on the nation, as a whole.
Contagious & Disfiguring
What does this picture for us? As with sin, leprosy didn’t kill outright in most cases, but it greatly disfigured its victims. And like leprosy, sin is extremely contagious! Paul said
“Do not be deceived. ‘Bad company corrupts good morals'” (1 Cor. 15.33).
Not only can we catch sin from those we associate with, but we’re warned not be carriers!
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea” (Mk. 9.42).
Sins like anger, bitterness, and gossip, as well as others, are highly contagious.
Just as leprosy resulted in separation from the rest of the people, sin separates us from others! First and foremost, It separates us from God. In the case of unbelievers, sin separates them from the life of God here and from spending eternity with Him. If we are truly believers we don’t lose our salvation, but it hinders our fellowship with Him when our hearts are clouded by sin.
There are, also, times when we are commanded to put sinners, even our brothers and sisters in Christ, outside the fellowship, or “camp,” where God alone deals with them (1 Cor. 5).
When lepers came in contact with other people they were to cry out, “Unclean! Unclean!” so others would not come too close. We, too, must cry out “Unclean!” by coming to God and admitting we are sinners before we are in a position to receive Christ as our Savior. And, as we walk with Him, we are commanded to continually examine ourselves in the light of God’s word, just as the priest was to examine the person coming to him.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1.8-9).
Even when we are helping others, we are warned that we need to be careful not to fall into sin ourselves:
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Gal. 6.1).
Sin is truly a plague that all of us must constantly guard against by allowing our Great High Priest to examine our hearts for signs of it. When it is revealed, we must come to Him and confess it so that we can be cleansed.
Today’s Other Readings:
Psalms & Prayers
I hope as we’re reading through the Psalms you’re coming to realize how real the psalmists were with God in their cries for help and deliverance. We can learn much from the prayers of these saints who have gone before us.
I’ve talked before about the value of praying the Psalms back to God. This is a powerful one to pray when you’re in distress and at other times.
Laziness or Diligence
Here we have more comparisons between the fool and the wise. This time in the area of work where laziness is contrasted with diligence.
Blinded to their Savior
What a picture here of the religious hypocrites whose hearts had become so hardened by the deceitfulness of sin that they could not even recognize their Savior! Pray for those in your life who may have reached that point!
But remember, even when we know they’re wrong, we’re to …
“… avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2.23-26).
What has God shown you today? Is there some leprosy in your life that needs to be cleansed? Is there a leper for whom you need to pray, but perhaps from a distance? Remember, Paul’s words to the Corinthians, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” We cannot bring cleanness to others if we continually allow them to reinfect us. It doesn’t mean we are to become self-righteous or proud. In fact, we need to allow our vulnerability to sin to remind us that it is only by God’s grace that we are cleansed.
In the coming days, we’ll talk about responding to those who would call us fanatics, about friendship, and about the condition of our hearts.
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Today’s Featured Resources:
The word “mortified” often implies shame or embarrassment. When it relates to the mortification of sin, it means much more than that. Certainly we should be ashamed or embarrassed by our sin, but Scripture teaches that we are to actively subdue our sin; and more radically, kill our sin habits.
In this small volume, the authors compare our chronic fall into sin with the descending hours on a clock, demonstrating a repetitive and perfect pattern for sin. Both practical and challenging, this book demonstrates how God through the work of the Holy Spirit and radical faith can help you conquer sin in your life.
Too few Christians are aware that they are in a fight to the death! Mack explores the seriousness of sin and where it will lead us. He also shows the necessity for fighting against it and presents a biblical method of killing the sin within us.