Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 28, 2015

“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”

Today’s devotion comes from 2 Kings 5:1-14.

“1 Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram.  The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper.  2 Now the Arameans had gone out in bands and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel;  and she waited on Naaman’s wife.  3 She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria!  Then he would cure him of his leprosy.”  4 Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel.”  5 Then the king of Aram said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”  He departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothes.

6 He brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, “And now as this letter comes to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.”  7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy?  But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me.”

8 It happened when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent word to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes?  Now let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”  9 So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots and stood at the doorway of the house of Elisha.  10 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.”  11 But Naaman was furious and went away and said, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’  12 Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?  Could I not wash in them and be clean?”  So he turned and went away in a rage.  13 Then his servants came near and spoke to him 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’?”  14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God;  and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.”  2 Kings 5:1-14.

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We want salvation on our own terms.

Naaman said:  “Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?  Could I not wash in them and be clean?”  So he turned and went away in a rage.”

Likewise, we say:  “Are not works and free-will, the rivers of salvation of our doctrine, better than all the Reformed Doctrine?  Could I not wash in them and be clean?”

But, the word of God determines how we are saved like the word of the man of God determined how Naaman would be made clean.

“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:16.

“So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  Romans 9:18.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. ”  Ephesians 2:4-7.

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:26-31.

And all of this word of God basis of salvation is summarized by “Unconditional Election”, the “U” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  There is no condition that man produces whether it be works or alleged free-will choice or any other condition which motivates God to pick that person for salvation.

Here is what the Canons of Dordt state about “Unconditional Election” in part.

Article 7.  Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby, before the foundation of the world, he hath out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of his own will, chosen, from the whole human race, which had fallen through their own fault, from their primitive state of rectitude, into sin and destruction, a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ, whom he from eternity appointed the Mediator and Head of the elect, and the foundation of Salvation. 

This elect number, though by nature neither better nor more deserving than the others, but with them involved in one common misery, God hath decreed to give to Christ, to be saved by him, and effectually to call and draw them to his communion by his Word and Spirit, to bestow upon them true faith, justification and sanctification;  and having powerfully preserved them in the fellowship of his Son, finally, to glorify them for the demonstration of his mercy, and for the praise of his glorious grace;  as it is written:  “According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love;  having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved,”  Ephesians 1:4,5,6.  And elsewhere:  “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called;  and whom he called, them he also justified;  and whom he justified, them he also glorified,”  Romans 8:30.  FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.

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