In my personal devotions this morning, I read 2 Kings 5:19b-27. I began to see a larger picture that is more than just a Syrian commander being healed of leprosy. Naaman was so moved by his healing he said to Elisha, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept a present from your servant.” Elisha is very emphatic. “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none” (5:15-16). Gehazi went to Naaman secretly and asked for money and goods (see the next blog tomorrow).
Leading a person to healing as an act of God’s mercy, i.e., Naaman, without a hint of money being involved, is how the gospel must be presented. When we mix the gospel message with money or some benefit, we compromise the character of God in the gospel. So important is this issue that Paul had to address the compromise of some who wanted to combine the free gift of grace with works of Law. Grace is no longer grace if we combine it with anything we do to merit receiving grace or a benefit other than eternal life and a personal relationship with the Savior. Of course, there are other benefits, but there is never a promise of material gain. In fact, Jesus explained the cost of becoming a disciple in Luke 14:25-33.
Over and over, we have seen how money, social status through education or wealth, and western forms, including buildings, have hindered the spread of the gospel. Disappointment and delusion set into the soul when the gospel is received because of a promise of these. It is time we return to a biblical model! If you think these are harsh words, consider what Paul said; “But there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ…If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:7, 9). If we think that money and buildings are necessary for the propagation of the gospel, then we have departed from its truth and power.
Be very careful not to mix anything with the pure gospel of grace; not with human requirements that distract those who receive it from becoming attached to Jesus Christ, the Author.
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