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. Think of Israel as one body. You remove the sin from your sight. You get it away by any means necessary.

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.

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 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. And we end up not seeing as bad things that should hurt our hearts.

Sin has been poisoning us, as individuals, and as the Body. And, of course, 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 and told him not to tell anyone. Jesus healed him outside of the town because the man couldn’t enter until he was healed. But the man runs and tells everyone he is clean and makes it so Jesus can’t enter. Jesus took his place outside, so the man could enter in. Jesus took on our sin. Don’t let it be in vain. May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!