Sexual Sin and Modern-Day Leprosy

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Did you know that Jesus gave His disciples authority to heal every disease except one? They were told to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons, but there was one disease they could not heal; instead it had to be cleansed. That disease was leprosy.

Jesus made it clear that they were to cleanse the lepers. (Matthew 10:8) The word cleanse is the same word John used in his epistle when he wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9 NKJV) While the majority of believers know that leprosy is a type of sin, few seem to realize that it usually typifies one specific sin—rebellion!

For instance, when Miriam went against Moses’ authority she was struck with leprosy and was excommunicated from the congregation for seven days. When Gehazi disobeyed his master, Elisha, he became a leper. King Uzziah usurped the rightful position of the priests by trying to offer incense to the Lord and was also smitten with leprosy.

Rebellion, like leprosy, spreads quickly—therefore the leper has to be isolated for the protection of the rest of God’s people. This had its counterpart in New Testament church discipline—a much needed but rarely practiced doctrine. For the leper to be “cleansed” he had to show himself to the priest—a sign of submission to authority. Submission and rebellion cannot coexist.

Pornography and sexual sin have become huge problems in the modern Church, but I’m convinced that the deeper issue is the heart-rebellion that is making a way for believers to give over to sin in the first place. Until people truly learn to submit themselves to the lordship of Christ, this kind of problem will continue to surface. As long as Christians take a pick-and-choose approach to obedience, sexual sin will persist as a spiritual blight in the midst of God’s people.

So what is the answer for those in sexual sin? Those in its clutches must submit themselves to the High Priest Jesus, repent of their rebellion to His authority, and then they will be cleansed of the leprosy that has contaminated their souls.

David Ravenhill has worked as a missionary, pastor and teacher for over 40 years. He shares the passion of his father, Leonard Ravenhill, for the Body of Christ to return to holy living. For more on David Ravenhill, visit

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