Apples of Gold

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Make me Clean

‘Behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.’ Matthew 8:2 – 3

If ever there was a time when I needed to be cleansed it is today. Why do I say that? Well, even the very thoughts that have raced through my mind since getting up this morning bear testimony to the sin that lies within me. It is true that I cannot be condemned for my thoughts alone, yet if I were to allow but one of them to become an action then sin would be the product.

I am no different to the lepers I met in Romania. There is no soundness in me. I am corrupt from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. I am laden with wounds and bruises and putrifing sores. The stink of my sin is as bad as that of decaying flesh.

The lepers I met with were beyond restoration. They were termed, ‘burnt out cases.’ They had been left to rot by Ceaucescu for nearly 40 years without any medication or treatment. As a result if, say a finger was cut, it would become infected, puss would flow until the circulation of blood stopped, gangrene would set in, and eventually the digit would fall off!

We witnessed people with no fingers, stumps instead of legs, ears, noses and even lips missing, yet I never heard one complaint from any of them. Many were Christians. They even had their own church within the village that had become their prison.

They had been beautiful people in their younger days. That was evident from the photographs that hung on the walls inside their homes. Some had been married before contracting the disease, then they were cast out and ‘hidden’ away from society in a village in the middle of nowhere. The suffering they endured is beyond what I am able to relate. Pain was their constant companion and the only love they knew was that of their Saviour.

I can relate to the ugliness of their condition as I am infested myself with a similar disease. Sin plagues me and there can be no escape, except through the God appointed means and way. There is no use in trying to cover things up as that only helps the disease to spread. There is no point in looking at my neighbour and thinking that he is worse than me as that proves what? What good will it do me to view my neighbours sins? Does he see mine as I see his?

Sin must be dealt with, otherwise we will become like the burnt out lepers, beyond hope and beyond salvation. ‘My Spirit shall not always strive with man.’ ‘Now is the appointed time. Today is the day of salvation. Today if ye will hear my voice, harden not your heart.’

‘Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.’ A request and prayer that is as relevant and as effective today as it was when first it was uttered. I am a sinner and I am in desperate need of a Saviour. I have sinned against God and soon I must come face to face with Him to give an account of the deeds that I have done in this body, whether they be good or bad.’

I have sinned against God. There is no point in trying to please God by my good works as I do not have any! What else can I do? If I shut myself away in a monastery for the rest of my life, would that do? No and a thousand times no! If I am to be reconciled to God then I have to do things His way.

God who is rich in mercy has made a way of escape for sinners like you and I. God demanded that blood be shed for the remission of sin. Whose blood? Was my blood any good? No! My blood is corrupt. The blood required needed to be shed by a perfect man, a man who had never sinned. The world was void of such a person, yet such was the love of God for wretches like me that He spared not His own Son but delivered Him up to death for sinners like me.

I deserved eternal punishment for my sins. I deserved to pay the price, yet someone else paid the price for me. Jesus Christ, the Son of God took the punishment that was due to me and died in my place on the cross at Calvary. Blood was shed. A fountain was opened for sin and uncleanness.

Jesus Christ died for me. His blood cleanses me from all my sin. Each day I need to wash myself from the pollution within. The power of this sacrifice is greater than my sin. The blood leaves no hint of a stain or stench behind. Repentance and faith in what God has revealed in His Word is the new pulse in my life. If God declares that I am clean or forgiven then who am I to argue against Him? It is folly to do so. It is also sin, not to believe!

‘I will; be thou clean.’

I should have died and I should have been punished, but God had mercy upon my soul. Spiritually speaking I did die with Christ on that cross. All my good works and every effort that I could muster to save myself and to please God, died with Christ. It is therefore no longer I that live, but Christ in me, the hope of glory. I am a new creation in Christ Jesus, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.

This way of salvation – God’s way – is open for you and I today. It is free and available for all sinners. Eternal life awaits all who believe and trust in Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour. Will you have this Man to reign over you? Will you go with this Man? Will you trust your soul to the Man from Nazareth?

Can I ask you one simple question? What have you got to lose?

Confess your sin before God today, hold nothing back. Ask Him to cleanse you and forgive you and to give you the faith to believe in Jesus. ‘Ask, and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.’ If you were to come to Jesus as this leper did then the reply would be the same, ‘I will; be thou clean.’