Be honest, when a sin catches your attention, deal with it intentionally (Matthew 18:9). Don’t turn a blind eye. Don’t make excuses. Don’t be lazy. Recognize it and quash it.
Be ruthless. Sin cannot be removed painlessly – rip it out (Deuteronomy 12:2). People are redeemable. But you know what isn’t? Things. If an object is infected by leprosy – it only has one chance to prove it is no longer contaminated. If that leprosy pops up again – burn it. Demolish it. Finish it – it’s done.
Now that part of the law just doesn’t apply at all! That’s just crazy! I mean, who ever heard of people using phones to call people they shouldn’t, computers to look at things they shouldn’t, or guns to do what they shouldn’t?
That object gets one chance – install a filter, arrange for accountability, use it only at work. Eradicate the sin. And if it comes back – burn it. God is serious in the law. He is serious today. And we need to be the same.
Be on guard. Be separate. Be honest. Be ruthless. And then…
The battle to prevent leprosy was perpetual. The war with sin is the same. And Leviticus is telling us how to win.
Be on guard. Sin crouches at the door waiting to destroy (Genesis 4:7). Sin comes back like a boomerang: when we are tired, bored, and least expecting it. We know its strategies. We know its strength and our weaknesses. Now, we must be on guard against temptation.
Be separate. What is holy has no fellowship* with the unholy and profane (2 Corinthians 6:14). There can be no fellowship between the holy and the unholy – it always dissolves into either a relationship between the unholy and the unholy or breeds discord. Until the leprous are clean, the clean and the unclean cannot have fellowship. The same with sin, two cannot be close until the disease is gone. The same with sin. Instead, we must select companions who spur us onto to love and good works.
*Fellowship does not mean association or even cursory friendship. It means a close, open, and/or deep friendship.
The law’s penalties for sins are not surprising. What is surprising is the inherent grace woven into the law. Leprosy was a death sentence. It was irreversible and incurable. That was reality. But God’s law gave specific provisions for those cured from leprosy. God was saying that healing was possible and He was making restoration possible.
We are witnesses to the devastation of sin in the lives of others. We have, regrettably, experienced its consequences in our own lives. But the law never gave up hope that lepers may be made whole again. Therefore, we have hope that every sinner may become righteous again in Christ.
The culture said and acted on their belief: “Salvation is impossible!” But the law was an unyielding reminder: “Redemption is always possible.” And in the Person of Jesus Christ, this redemption is fully realized. By God’s grace and with His healing, people are always eligible to be made clean again.
Leviticus 13 does not make for titillating read – it is about sores, infections, and scars. Leprosy could crop up anywhere – from healthy skin, from healing skin, from scarred skin, from bald skin. Sin can sprout up from anywhere in our lives – from “good” things, from painful things, from past hurts, from empty time and brain space.
Each time there was a question of possible leprosy – it was serious and took a minimum of two weeks to deal with the crisis. People had to be isolated. Leather goods and fabrics had to be torn. Houses had to be remodeled. There was no quick fix, but the law stood between leprosy and the people as their protector -- if it was obeyed.
Avoid this, do this, check this, and don’t do that. The law was not merely a protector but a foreshadowing of Christ. Sin has no quick fix, but Jesus Christ is our protection against the dread disease. In Him alone is the strength to reject the power of sin and capacity to refuse to serve sin. The law provided the alternative to serving “me” and “my” → serving God. The law was God’s prescription for success in every arena: family, church, and culture. The problem was: we couldn’t keep it. We tried. We failed.
But Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law in every particular – He never failed. He is the ultimate prescription to our sin. In His life, He showed us the perfect example. In His death on the cross, He took our place before God for our punishment. In His resurrection, He has provided to us His perfect righteousness to cover our sin. And in the lives of those who believe and follow Him, Jesus Christ has poured out His Holy Spirit to enable us to triumph over sin and be healed.
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.