“We are all an unclean thing.”

Leviticus 13:12-17, 45, 46

The fearful disease of leprosy was so common among the Israelites that laws were made for its regulation, and ordinances by which cleansed persons were restored to the society of Israel, from which their leprosy had excluded them. Among the laws was one singular one which we will read because it is full of teaching.

Leviticus 13:12, 13

This seems very strange, and we cannot stay to account for it; but assuredly when a soul appears to itself to be nothing else but sin it is very near to salvation. Corruption hidden within is far more dangerous than that which the eye sees and laments. When the sinner’s iniquity comes out to view, he will fly for cleansing to the Lord Jesus. As long as we think there is some soundness in us, we boast ourselves proudly and are in a sorry case; but when we see that, from the sole of the foot even to the head, we are only wounds and bruises and putrifying sores, then are we humbled and our cure begins.

Leviticus 13:14, 15

Just what our ignorance values most in our nature the Lord considers to be our deadliest mark.

Leviticus 13:16, 17

When to the eye he seemed worst he was really better. The Lord seeth not as man seeth. When the disease is all upon the surface, all beneath the man’s own view, he is clean. When self-righteousness is gone, when we have no soundness in us, then is the hour of grace. If the priest found the man to be unclean, the law shut him out from the camp.

Leviticus 13:45

He was made to wear the rent garments of woe, his head was laid bare as though he mourned for himself as dead, and his lip was covered as though for ever closed from all intercourse with men. To prevent others from coming near him, and catching the dreadful infection, he had to utter the warning cry, “Unclean, unclean.”

Leviticus 13:46

He sat without, and none dare approach him, neither was he permitted to come near to any man. His disease was foul, painful, wasting, and deadly. Such too is sin, and such is the sinner’s condition before the Lord. He is excluded from the divine presence, and dead in trespasses and sins. The principle of health or holiness is gone from him; his spiritual powers are withered, and every smew shrunk. Streams of impurity burst forth in his soul, and render him utterly loathsome to God. Upon him has fallen the shadow of death. No human hand can heal him, there is no balm in Gilead, there is no physician there. The sinner is sick unto death, and is far past all earthly help. Yet one there is who can heal with a word, and he is present here, saying to each one of us, “Look unto me and be saved, for I am God, and beside me there is none else.” He who refuses this Physician deserves to die; and die he must. Will it be so with any one of us? Rather let each one of us put our trust in Jesus from this hour.


Physician of my sin-sick soul,

To thee I bring my case;

My raging malady control,

And heal me by thy grace.


It lies not in a single part,

But through my frame is spread;

A burning fever in my heart,

A palsy in my head.


Lord, I am sick, regard my cry,

And set my spirit free:

Say, canst thou let a sinner die,

Who longs to live to thee?


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