#662: Nothing But Faith
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Reflections by the Pond
June 30, 2014
Then his servants came near and spoke to [Naaman] and said, "My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?"
2 Kings 5:13
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Here is the primary stumbling block, the first thing that makes it so difficult for the world to embrace Christianity: Our salvation is not about us; our salvation is about God.
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Naaman was a remarkable man: captain of the Aramean army, a valiant warrior, loved and respected by the king of Aram. Naaman was also a leper.
One of his servant girls, a captive Israelite, volunteered that there was a prophet dwelling in Samaria who could heal her master of this hideous disease. Obtaining permission from his king, Naaman traveled to Samaria and, with the fullness of his entourage arrayed behind him, rapped on Elisha's front door.
The prophet did not even greet Naaman personally, but spoke to him through a servant.
Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean."
2 Kings 5:10
Naaman was incensed. You mean he had traveled all this way, brought all this gold and silver with him, just to take a bath in the Jordan? He could have stayed at home and done that in a more familiar river! He had expected the prophet to wave his arms, call upon the God of Israel, and do something really impressive. He had expected drama, perhaps a light show, the heavens parting, or he had anticipated that some great exertion would be required of him—and he had come prepared to pay for it all, whatever it cost.
But his servants encouraged Naaman to do the simple thing the prophet said, so he swallowed his pride, took seven baths in the Jordan—and, funny thing, his leprosy was gone.
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The grateful Naaman tried to pay Elisha for the healing, but the man of God would accept nothing. It was free. The healing—the salvation—of he who was once a leper was not of Elisha, was not of human effort, but of God. It was all of grace.
And here is the stumbling block for the unregenerate. The rules of this fallen world dictate that something must be paid for, either by sweat or by wallet, to be of any value. If salvation is to be of any worth, it must be earned. But this means that it would then be all about us:
Look what I did for my salvation! Aren't I something! And since I did so much more than you—since it cost me so much more than what you paid—then my salvation must be better than yours.
But God's salvation—His healing from sin—is free. It costs us nothing but faith.
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
1 John 5:13
Salvation is not about us. It says nothing about our abilities, our wealth, our standing. In the salvation transaction, we are recipients—more than that, we are mere beneficiaries.
Salvation is all about God. He is the one doing everything; it is He doing all the giving.
It is all, every bit of it, of grace.
And [Jesus] said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."