How precious it is to be ‘cleansed’! The defilement that sin brings to the human condition is not to be underestimated, and as these ten lepers ‘stood afar off’ they knew something of the isolation that defilement brought – an isolation that was not merely social. As they ‘go’ in obedience to the Lord and demonstrate their faith, the power of a sovereign God and the personal responsibility of mankind interweave to the blessing of individuals and the glory of God.
How much more serious and real was the isolation which resulted from our sins. ‘Dead in sins’, Eph. 2. 5, couldn’t be more definite! In such a state, we were totally incapable of helping ourselves – after all, how can someone who is dead help themselves? How wonderful to note that God, who extended mercy to the lepers, is described as being ‘rich in mercy’ and One who has loved us greatly. If our isolation was great when we were ‘without Christ’, then how wonderfully beautiful is the nearness that the believer discovers in being ‘raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’, v. 6.
It is a nearness that will declare the glory of God eternally
It is rather sad and challenging that only one leper turned back to demonstrate his appreciation. We might consider the loudness of his voice and see his unashamed testimony and be challenged as to how ‘loud’ our voice of testimony is. We might note his posture, as he prostrates himself face-down at the feet of the Lord, and be caused to examine if our expressions of thankfulness are truly marked by self-abasement, as all worship must be. We might see that he was the ‘stranger’, and challenge whether or not our familiarity with truth has dulled our appreciation and application of that truth.
Perhaps the most significant and relevant challenge is the simplest – ‘giving him thanks’. How simple! How eloquent! We are not told how many words he used, or which, if any, scriptures he quoted. He did what any believer can do. He did what we should all do. I detect a sadness in the question of the Lord, ‘where are the nine?’
The simple, orderly, expression of a thankful heart is to be encouraged. It would delight the Saviour and breathe new life into many assembly gatherings. Let us not be numbered among the ‘nine’!
It is the simple and sincere prayer of the committee that this issue’s content will help encourage the Lord’s people and we are grateful to those who have expended a great deal of effort in writing the articles.