The Leper #9

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

Since their disorder was contagious, lepers were societal outcasts, quarantined from Israel’s encampment and their clothes burned (Leviticus 13:46-52). The leper announced his condition with the cry (verse 45), “Unclean! Unclean!” Therefore, it is truly amazing the crowds of today’s Scripture even permitted the leper to enter their midst: in fact, Luke (5:12) reports this was “in a certain city,” so the leper’s entry is even more extraordinary. By whatever means, he was resolute in meeting the Lord Jesus Christ—and he did!

Christ, however, was not the least bit worried about being defiled because, being the God-Man, undiminished Deity and full humanity, sinless God and perfect Man, sin could not pass to Him. Today’s Scripture explains how He actually touched the leper: the Lord can minister to sinners without them contaminating Him! “And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Instead of the leper’s germs being transmitted to Christ, Christ’s holiness was transferred to the leper. Christ was not rendered sick (unrighteous), but the sick man was made well (righteous).

“But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole [healthy] need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:12,13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31,32). He has come to call Israel to a change in mind, to new life in Him, and the leper of today’s Scripture represents Israel’s believing remnant reaching out in faith for spiritual healing and re-admittance into God’s camp/presence….

The Leper #8

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

In Leviticus 14:1-3, the Levitical priest sought out the leper in the day of his cleansing; the leper did nothing because he could do nothing. If the plague was truly cured, it was God’s work, and the man was to be subsequently ceremonially purified: “[4] Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet [string, lace, yarn, thread], and hyssop [sprig or twig of a scraggly desert plant, used to sprinkle]: [5] And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: [6] As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: [7] And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.”

With a completed Bible, we understand this more fully than even Moses did. These two birds symbolize Jesus Christ’s heavenly connection; the slain bird is His blood shed on Calvary’s cross; the living bird is His life; the earthen vessel is His humanity; the running water is His resurrection. The bird freed represents post-resurrection life, a being living in light of the other being who died. “Without shedding of blood [there] is no remission [forgiveness]” (Hebrews 9:22). “Purge me [a sinner] with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7).

Indeed, this is all a beautiful picture of eternal salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ….

The Leper #7

Monday, October 3, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

Contrary to popular belief, Christ’s earthly ministry was not “New Testament Christianity” but rather “Old Testament Judaism.” Today’s Scripture indicates how the Lord ordered the leper, “…go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” Obviously, this is a Levitical priest and “the gift that Moses commanded” is an animal sacrifice as prescribed in the Law of Moses. This is Judaism, definitely not our “Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Romans 6:14,15; Ephesians 3:1,2)!

Moses, God’s spokesman to Israel, devoted over 100 verses to leprosy—Leviticus chapters 13–14. Chapter 14: “[1] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, [2] This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: [3] And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper; [4] Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: [5] And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: [6] As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: [7] And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.”

Here is Calvary’s cross pictured….

The Leper #6

Sunday, October 2, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

Leprosy is an excellent type (picture, portrait, illustration, representation, symbol) of sin for at least five reasons. Both leprosy and sin are: (1) inherent, in the blood, passed down to descendants; (2) destructive and decomposing; (3) unsightly or ugly, invisible yet manifested outwardly via horrific symptoms; (4) man cannot cure; and (5) contagious and worsening. Also, note how both are associated with “the flesh.” When Miriam, Moses’ sister, was stricken with leprosy, the LORD showed how He alone, not man, could heal it (Numbers 12:10-16). Recall Moses’ God-given ability to cure leprosy in Exodus 4:6,7 was the LORD’S word to Israel as to how He would treat her leprosy.

Yet, the most famous leper in Scripture is Naaman, a Gentile or Syrian military leader, as described in 2 Kings 5:1-15. His heathen idols cannot help him. Nevertheless, his wife has a little Jewish servant girl, and this Jewess (a woman of faith) recommends he go down to see the LORD’S prophet Elisha (verses 1-4). Naaman’s king sends him to unbelieving King Jehoram of Israel who reacts most foolishly to the request (verses 5-7). The Prophet Elisha, hearing of Jehoram’s tantrum and Naaman’s infirmity, is willing to meet the leper as God’s representative (verse 8). Naaman is given some strange instructions—wash in the Jordan River seven times—which he reluctantly but eventually obeys and is recovered from leprosy (verses 9-14). He professes his faith in verse 15: “Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel.” Israel’s God (notice verse 7) will cleanse even the Gentiles of their spiritual leprosy!

Let us now consider “the gift that Moses commanded….”

Order My Steps #10

Sunday, July 24, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

Describing victorious Christian living, Paul taught in Romans 8:5-9: “[5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

If we think like lost people, our conduct will resemble that of lost people. Our Christian life will die with “carnal” or fleshy thinking (chapter 7). “Minding” nothing but natural-man thoughts, our lifestyle reflects that faulty reasoning (chapter 7). Fighting against God, we live contrary to whom He made us in Christ. If, however, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:9-16), studying and trusting sound (grace!) Bible doctrine, we will “mind [pay attention to, think about] the things of the Spirit.” This spiritually-minded believer enjoys the life and peace impossible in Romans chapter 7 but achievable in chapter 6.

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,…” (Ephesians 4:17). “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17). “Brethren, be followers together of me [Paul], and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17). “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” (Colossians 1:10). “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:…” (Colossians 2:6).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is the United States of America in Bible prophecy?

Order My Steps #9

Saturday, July 23, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

The first five chapters of Romans lay out the doctrine of justification—to wit, how a sinner worthy of God’s righteous wrath in Hell and the Lake of Fire can trust Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for his sins and thereby be declared a Christian or saint (eternally righteous in God’s sight, bound for Heaven).

Chapters 6–8 outline the doctrine of sanctification—namely, how the Christian, in light of his position, is set apart unto God’s purpose and plan on a daily basis in practice. The believer’s walk each and every day will be victorious over sin only if two facts are never forgotten. Firstly, we are under grace not law (Romans chapter 6). Secondly, we are under the Holy Spirit’s authority not the flesh’s power (Romans chapter 8). To ignore (or fail to learn) either of these principles is to suffer that horrendous spiritual shipwreck of chapter 7!

Let us state it another way. When sin masters or controls us, we have not been mindful of Romans chapter 6 (dead to sin, alive unto God). Abandoning chapter 6, we have fallen into the snare of Romans chapter 7 (defeat, misery, hopelessness). To be recovered from the dreadful trap of fleshly living, we learn the lesson Paul himself realized in chapter 8: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There, right there, is the Christian overcoming sin on a daily basis….

Order My Steps #8

Friday, July 22, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

Brethren, our Heavenly Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). “Ye are complete [lacking nothing] in [Christ]” (Colossians 2:10a). All we truly need, we permanently have in the Lord Jesus Christ. Four necessities given us in Christ are defined in 1 Corinthians 1:30,31: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

Firstly, we need spiritual wisdom, the ability to correctly apply spiritual truths to life. Jesus is our spiritual wisdom. Secondly, we need righteousness, a right standing before God. Christ is our righteousness. Thirdly, we need sanctification, separation unto Father God’s will. Jesus is our sanctification. Finally, we need redemption, a buying back from sin’s dominion. Christ is our redemption. God’s instructions to us are simple: Walk according to the people we already are in Christ!

After three chapters presenting our wealth in Christ, the Holy Spirit through Paul opens the final three chapters of Ephesians concerning our walk: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,…” (Ephesians 4:1). “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:…” (Ephesians 5:8). After concentrating on our wealth in Christ for two chapters, the second half of Colossians begins with our walk: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above [in heaven], where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:…” (Colossians 3:10).

Paying attention to the Holy Spirit’s words through Paul, we enjoy victorious Christian living. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh [sin]…. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law…. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16,18,25). Here is Romans chapter 8….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How are the LORD God and His works ‘terrible?’

Order My Steps #7

Thursday, July 21, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

The Lord ordered the Apostle Paul’s steps in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God. “Paul, here in Romans chapters 1–6 are the principles of grace for victorious Christian living as a member of the Church the Body of Christ.” However, by the time of chapter 7, Paul personally struggled to overcome his sinful flesh like us all. Why?

Remember, before he was the Apostle Paul, he was Saul of Tarsus. Having been born and raised in the Dispensation of Law as a strict works-religion Pharisee (Acts 23:6; Acts 26:4,5; Philippians 3:3-7), a great deal of Paul’s life as a saint was spent trying to stop thinking like a legalistic lost person. Being Scriptural was not enough, for the Law of Moses (Scripture!) was no longer in effect. God was doing something different—the Dispensation of Grace. To fall back on prior Divine revelation was to fight against the Lord’s current work. We must be Scriptural and dispensational. Since Paul reverted to the Law system, he wound up in the pitiful, miserable condition of Romans 7:24: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Like many poor souls under the heavy hand of works-religion today, Paul was utterly defeated, troubled, and unhappy. His Christian life was nonfunctional.

Consider the Galatian saints, and the Bible Book that bears their name. They too grew up in works-religion—albeit heathenism or pagan idolatry. Paul visited them and shared the Gospel of Grace with them. They passed from death to life by trusting Jesus’ finished crosswork. Alas, legalistic teachers subsequently misled them, necessitating Paul’s epistle to them. “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:9). They too had strayed from the path of grace, returned to works-religion, and become entrapped and depressed! “Where is then the blessedness [happiness, joy] ye spake of?” (Galatians 4:15a).

Whether Paul, or the Galatians, or even us, remembering our identity in Christ is the key to successful Christian living….

Order My Steps #6

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). As a slave is purchased out of a marketplace, so Jesus Christ’s shed blood paid for our release from being “in Adam” (sin’s authority). As believers—people in Christ—we do not have to sin!

When we sin, it is because we have reverted to our old (lost/natural man) thinking patterns (Romans chapter 7!). We believe we are still in Adam, dead in trespasses and sins (which we are not). “I beseech [ask, beg] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice [who we are in Christ!], holy [who we are in Christ!], acceptable unto God [who we are in Christ!], which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2).

The basic principles of grace living, Romans chapters 1–8, correct our erroneous mindset. We begin thinking like the people we are (saints), and we cease thinking like the people we are not (sinners). If we Christians do not have a clear understanding of these Bible truths, it is the equivalent of lost people with no Bible whatsoever. Since spiritual ignorance often prevails, even among professing believers, Christians typically resemble non-Christians.

Instead of “I must do good works to receive God’s blessings” (Law, works-religion), the Christian life is “I have already received God’s blessings in Christ, and good works flow from that position” (grace living!). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). “Hath blessed” is the present perfect tense. God blessed us in Christ (past tense) the moment we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, and the results impact us right now (presently)….

Order My Steps #5

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

Saints, not only have we died with Christ, we have resurrected with Him (Romans 6:1-10). “Likewise reckon [think, believe it to be true!] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verse 11). In Christ, we are dead to sin: the Adamic nature, as far as God is concerned, is powerless over us. So then, why do we sin as believers in Christ? The Bible has already answered that question.

The Apostle Paul’s Christian life died—this is functional death, separation from being active—in Romans chapter 7. “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me (verses 9-11). Paul tried so hard to live the Christian life—but failed miserably! Where there should have been victory over sin, there was just the opposite. His sin nature, his Adamic nature, constantly overcame him. Two billion church members in Christendom needlessly struggle with that dilemma even now. Like Paul, they have ignored the truths laid out in chapter 6!

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for [because] you are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). Our flesh, Adamic nature, or sin nature, likes to boast, so it gravitates toward religious works. We deceive ourselves—yea, sin deceives us—into thinking we can manage sin. Even today, it is claimed: “I can keep the commandments of God. Give me rules and regulations to obey and I will copy the life of Jesus Christ.” This is precisely Israel’s faulty reasoning at Mount Sinai. They supposed they could perform in religion to make themselves God’s kingdom of priests (see Exodus 19:3-8, especially verse 8). God ultimately gave them the Law to point out their need for the Saviour, though (like today!) most never actually learned that lesson. Currently, however, God has us under the Dispensation of Grace, that the Law not be an occasion for our flesh to master us….