Outside the Camp


In Leviticus 13, we read that those who were declared unclean were to live outside the camp. That’s why in Leviticus 14, the priest goes outside the camp to check on a case that has maybe healed so that the person can be pronounced clean. It shows us the seriousness of sin, a total removal from your midst.

In the New Testament, the churches are told to remove from the church anyone in sin who refuses to repent. It’s not a permanent condition. Just like the person with leprosy can later be proclaimed clean and welcomed back into the camp, the person in sin can be restored to the church.

The point of removing someone from fellowship, and not even eating with them if they are in sin, is to cause sadness, a sadness that leads to repentance. God’s not out to get anyone. He’s about reconciliation. But the reconciliation can’t happen until the sin is dealt with in some manner.

The leprous diseases were diseases that spread. I remember when an assistant pastor in the church I grew up in got divorced. There was then a whole slew of divorces in the church, as if they had just been given permission. The disease spread.

Divorce became accepted in society and then in the church. The disease spreads. Then it became accepted to live together before you were married. It became accepted in society and then in the church. Then it became accepted to act on attractions to someone not of the opposite sex. It became accepted in society and then in the church. Of course, not every Christian or church accepts these things, but they did take over parts of the church as the church desired to be accepted by the world instead of desiring to look like Christ. And bit by bit, the disease spreads.

We need to be aware of all the little justifications we make. It’s a spreading disease. A fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Anywhere in your life that you are acting without self-control is an area of your life not given over to the Holy Spirit. Drive out the sin, or it spreads; little by little it spreads.

Sin has been poisoning us as individuals, and as the Body. There is only one antidote: the blood of Jesus. He died outside of Jerusalem so that we could have an eternal home inside the new Jerusalem.

Jesus healed the leper outside of the town because the man couldn’t enter until he was healed. Jesus warns him not to tell anyone, but he tells everyone. Jesus is so popular and the crowds so big that Jesus can no longer enter the towns. He took the man’s place outside, so he could enter. Jesus took on our sin which kept us on the outside, apart from God. He became the curse for us, so we could be in the holy of holies with our God. Don’t let it be in vain. May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!