Let’s face it. Sometimes Scripture is hard to swallow. Sometimes what we read doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves, and often what Scripture tells us to do seems impossible. Political correctness? Forget about it.
When I read this portion of Scripture telling the Jews to toss all the diseased people out of the camp, I get it. In order to keep the rest of them healthy, the infected ones had to be removed. It was black and white. Are you diseased? Get out.
I imagine there were tears as loved ones were separated. I imagine someone felt it wasn’t fair. But it had to be done to keep the rest of them undefiled.
That makes sense, until I remember that Scripture often likens disease to sin. Putting the spiritual spin on these verses isn’t as black and white, although I guess it should be.
I believe the modern day Church has gotten so far from what God intended. I see us becoming more concerned about people’s feelings instead of their souls. I wonder if we think that if we provide an inviting setting, an exciting experience, a laid back atmosphere, sinners will come into our midst. Do we think that’s a good thing?
Isn’t that the opposite of what we see here in Scripture? “Oh, you have leprosy? Come right in and make yourself comfortable. My healthy skin will just rub off on you.”
It burdens my heart to know the church has in some cases, not only turned a blind eye to sin, it’s welcomed sin into our midst. And don’t use the argument that we live under grace after the cross. Grace is not acceptance of sin. Grace is not even love. Grace is God dealing harshly with sin, forgiving sin through the blood of Jesus which He shed in a very, very painful way.
The New Testament writers continue to tell believers to come out from among the world, to flee sin, to brush the dust off our feet. Yes, God loves sinners. Yes, Jesus ate with sinners. But Jesus went to them. He didn’t bring them into the synagog first to tell them the Gospel.
Matthew Henry reminded me that when Jesus returns He will “gather out of his kingdom all things that offend.” In the new Jerusalem, nothing unclean will enter. (from Rev 11) (Commentary In One Volume; Zondervan Publishing; 1960; page 146) Will there be people who sit in our pews today who will be “gathered out,” fully expecting to be accepted just like they are in those pews?
The assembling of ourselves as a church body is intended to edify believers, strengthen believers, encourage and challenge believers to go into the world to share the Gospel. And, dear one, we must keep it pure, undefiled. It’s not a social club. The Church is an exclusive organization. Only believers in Jesus Christ can be included. You might not think that’s fair. And that might be the problem.
Sin should not be tolerated in the church. Period. But I thank God that, even those diseased Jews who were thrown out of the camp, were welcomed back once they were disease-free. But the healing came before the welcome.
I just think maybe we shouldn’t be so concerned about growing our churches. The number of people attending your church is meaningless. However, the number of new believers who come as a result of someone from your fellowship leading them to the Savior is everything.
Keep the sin outside the camp.