A favorite Bible story for many is the healing of ten lepers. It is found in Luke 17. These ten lepers, evidently somewhere in Galilee (Luke 17:11), but including Jews and at least one Samaritan, saw the Lord and cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Luke 17:13).
The miracle is told in surprisingly condensed form: “So when He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14).
Luke does not focus on the details of the healing. His gaze is on what happened after the ten were healed.
As soon as the ten realized they were healed, one of them returned to Jesus, glorified God, and fell before Jesus, giving Him thanks. Luke adds, “And he was a Samaritan” (v 16).
Jesus, speaking to the disciples and the onlookers, said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” (v 18).
Many things can be learned here.
First, carrying out precisely what Jesus said (“Go, show yourselves to the priests”) would be technically correct, but in actuality incorrect. Once they saw they were healed, they all should have realized that before they go to the priests in fulfillment of the Law and the Lord’s direct command to them, they should have return to Him to give Him thanks. Legalists often miss the spirit of the commandments.
Second, one need not be one of God’s chosen people, the Jews, in order to do what is right. Indeed, it is the non-Jew who did what was right. The other nine were presumably all Jews. Yet none of them did the right thing.
Third, God cares about all people, Jews and Gentiles, infirmed or well.
Fourth, God gave all ten a chance to the right thing. The reason the nine failed is not because they were not chosen people. They were chosen people. They failed because their hearts were not right. The Samaritan succeeded not because he was chosen (he was not one of the chosen people), but because his heart was right.
Fifth, God healed even the nine who did not return. All ten were cleansed. The Lord did not revoke the healing of the nine due to their failure to give thanks.
Sixth, the nine missed the blessing that the Lord implicitly gave to the man who returned to give thanks.
Seventh, the reason the ten were healed is because all ten of them believed that Jesus could heal them if He wished. The Lord told the man who returned, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well” (v 19).
It should be noted that the words “has made you well” could also be translated “has saved you”.
The word you there is singular. So is the Lord saying that the tenth man was healed because of his faith? Or was he saying that he was born again because of his faith?
While both are possible, the context shows that the Lord is speaking of healing. That is why most modern translations render the phrase as “has made you well.”
However, a friend send me a blog dated April 21, 2017. The title is “Where Are the Nine?” The author understands this passage quite differently than I do:
Ten lepers were healed, but only one was saved, and the proof of his salvation, received through genuine faith in Christ, was his gratitude, giving glory to God. The primary evidence of being “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) is that the one so controlled by God’s regenerating Spirit will be “giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). Those who are not thankful to their saving Lord are the 90 percent who have not been made whole.
Even if verse 19 meant that the tenth healed man was born again, it would not suggest that the other nine were not. All ten had faith that Jesus could heal them. Hence all ten were healed (or saved).
There is no teaching in Scripture that we prove our regeneration by our works.
There is no such thing as genuine faith in Christ as contrasted with faith in Christ. John 3:16 promises everlasting life to whoever believes in Him, not to whoever genuinely believes in Him. By adding the word genuine, as well as adding the need to prove one’s regeneration, the author has made assurance of everlasting life impossible prior to death. How do you know your faith was genuine? Answer: Your works suggest it was. But what if your works are not perfect? Answer: Then you aren’t sure where you will go when you die, but at least you know it is possible you might go to be with the Lord. But according to Lordship Salvation don’t we have to persevere in good works in order to gain everlasting life? Answer: Yes. And since I can’t be sure I’ll persevere (1 Cor 9:27), I can’t be sure of my eternal destiny.
Notice that the author speaks of “the 90 percent who have not been made whole.” He seems to be suggesting that 90% of church people today are not born again. Even 90% of the people in Lordship Salvation churches? Lordship Salvation preachers often question the eternal destiny of their own members. I remember hearing a sermon from a mega Bible Church in the DFW area. He said that he had only known most of the people in his church for twenty years or so and that twenty years was not enough time for him to determine if they were actually born again or not. He wanted them to examine their lives to see if they were genuine believers.
Where are the nine? That’s a great question. We all should be thankful for everything the Lord does for us. That is the lesson of Luke 17:11-17. This is not an evangelistic passage.
Are you thankful for physical life? Everlasting life? Your family? Food each day? A place to live? Health? Clothing? Transportation? Your country? Your state? Your city? Your gifts and abilities?
Do you tell the Lord regularly that you are thankful? Do you stop what you are doing when you realize that God has blessed you in some way and give thanks? I must admit that I do not always stop and give thanks. This passage reminds me to do so. I need a thankful heart that expresses its thanks to God regularly. We all do.
The issue is not proof of whether you are born again. The issue is whether you are thankful or not for what God does for you each day.
Give thanks to God. GTG. I remember hearing a preacher expound this passage and say that we should not be driving GTOs (a muscle car), but GTGs. Give thanks to God. For all His blessings. Remember the Samaritan! Amen.
 I did not realize it until after I’d written this blog that the author is none other than Dr. Henry M. Morris of Institute for Creation Research (ICR), an organization that defends a young earth and six literal days of creation. I am in strong agreement with ICR on those issues. I have high regard for Dr. Morris (who died in 2006) and his organization. Dr. Morris was a strong defender of the inerrancy of Scripture. I am so thankful for that.