Sin as Leprosy (Part 1) – Gospel in Life

Sin as Leprosy (Part 1)

Tim Keller |  March 3, 1996

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  • Sin
2 Kings 5:5-17
RS 66-07


What is the problem with the human race? Why do we have the problems we have? The Bible says the answer is a disorder of the human heart, a dislocation of the soul called sin.

The account we’re looking at is one of the most wonderful illustrations in all of the Bible about what the Bible has to say about the nature of the problem and the cure for it. Let’s look at it under three headings. First, the text tells us what Naaman really needed the cure for, secondly, what the nature of his cure was, and thirdly, how we know he was indeed cured.

2 Kings 5:1–19

2 Kings 5 tells the story of a Syrian man named Naaman. This story can be seen as an example of how sin affects us and how to overcome it. Sin is like a spiritual sickness, similar to Naaman’s leprosy, and the only cure is to humbly obey, just like Naaman did when he washed in the Jordan River seven times. This shows us that we need a solution for sin, that the solution is straightforward, and that real healing is noticeable.

1. What did he really need to be cured of?

Jesus often talks about physical pain, but He puts more emphasis on the inner issue of sin. He teaches us that the world’s problems mainly come from sin. In Naaman’s case, his leprosy allowed him to face his inner pride, which can be seen as a disease that destroys love and wisdom. This story shows how damaging self-reliance can be and why we need outside help to become humble.

2. What is the nature of the cure?

The story of Naaman shows us how hard it can be to let go of pride and self-reliance when God gives us simple instructions. It reminds us that God’s cure works for everyone, whether they’re good or bad, and that both religious and non-religious people can fall into the trap of wanting to be their own bosses. People today may not like that Christianity says it’s the only way, but it’s important to be humble and accept that salvation comes from what Jesus Christ did.

3. How do we know Naaman was cured?

The story of Naaman shows the power of believing in God. It shows that even if we’re not perfect, faith can cleanse and refresh us. It tells us that signs of spiritual healing might include a change in how we see things, and that it’s vital to obey God without conditions and surrender to Him. It also shows the importance of actively showing our faith and telling others about God’s grace while encouraging self-reflection, responsibility, service to others, and a desire to share the good news with the world.



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