If You Are Willing

“let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health. “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

ACTS 4:10-12

And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said,
“Lord if you are willing, You can make me clean.”
Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed.”
And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Matthew 8:2,3

Dr. Thompson in his famous work, “The Land and the Book,” speaks of lepers in the East and says, “The hair falls from the head and eyebrows; the nails loosen, decay and drop off; joint after joint of the fingers and toes shrink up and slowly fall away. The gums are absorbed, and the teeth disappear. The nose, the eyes, the tongue and the palate are slowly consumed.” The disease turns a man into a mass of loathsomeness. Leprosy is nothing better than a horrible and lingering death.”

The man had as much poison in him as one poor body could contain; and yet he believed that Jesus of Nazareth could make him clean. If you are full of sin, if your propensities and habits have become untamable, I pray the Holy Spirit to give you the faith enough to believe that the Son of God can forgive you and renew you. Jesus can turn your death into life, your corruption into beauty.

Faith must be fixed on Jesus alone, for there is “no other name given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus is God’s ultimatum of salvation: the unique hope of guilty men and women both as to pardon and as to renewal.

Yet, there are some that even love their leprosy – men and women who do not wish to be saved from doing evil. They would like to go to heaven, but they must have their drunken frolics, their fornications and adulteries, their greed and worldly lusts. They would like to be saved but not from the sin that is the cause of it.

None of us can imagine that this leper meant that the Lord Jesus could make him comfortable in remaining a leper. Some came to fancy that Jesus came to let us go on in our sins with a quiet conscience. His salvation is cleansing from sin, and if we love sin, we are not saved from it.

We cannot have justification without sanctification. There must be a radical change, a change of heart, or else we are not saved. Just as this leper needed a thorough physical change, so do you need an entire renewal of your spiritual nature so as to become a new creature in Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the Living God who can be moved to compassion for those who are forlorn and lost, full of evil and self-condemned, those who are leprous with sin. Not you who are self-righteous! You yield Him no space to display His miraculous force. You who are whole have no need of a physician (Matthew 9:12).

Be hopeful then, those laden with guilt and conscious of their depravity, you furnish the empty vessels into which His grace maybe poured, the sick souls upon whom He may display His matchless power to bless and to save. This leper shall be a picture – I hope a mirror – in whom you will see yourself. May God grant you the faith to fall on your knees, and cry to Him, “Lord if you are willing, You can make me clean.”

(Excerpted from “The Lord and the Leper” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

email: lyndeutsch@gmail.com

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