How Free is Grace?
Nov 12, 2013 1818
How free is grace? “Free” is core to the very definition of the word “grace.” There’s no such thing as grace for which you have to pay.
Elisha has been called the Prophet of Grace. Take a look at the lessons you can learn about grace from the story of the healing of Naaman.
Naaman was the general of the king of Aram, a mighty man. He was the leader of the army of the oppressors of God’s people. Yet, grace was for him.
It doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself to be a Christian or non-Christian, sinner or saint, well-known sinner or secret sinner, grace is offered to you. Grace is for everyone.
2. Grace can be shared by all
The young girl who was the slave of Naaman’s wife shared grace. She was a slave, her family had probably been murdered by Naaman’s soldiers, yet she still shared grace. Through her, Naaman learned that there was a God in Israel who could heal him. It is obvious that the young girl shared grace not only through her word, but through her life. If even she could share the grace of God, then so can we, despite all the hurts and wounds of our lives.
3. Grace comes in unexpected ways
Naaman despised Elisha’s instruction to wash in the River Jordan seven times. He became angry. There were much better rivers in his homeland if that’s all he had to do. Our culture, our education, our upbringing, our worldview don’t necessarily prepare us to receive grace. Because grace always comes in the most unexpected ways, you must be humble to receive it.
4. Grace is received by faith
Naaman was only healed when he finally did what Elisha had told him to do. Does this mean that you can earn grace? No! Look at the next point below. It means that we are only able to properly receive grace when we believe enough to receive the gift.
It wasn’t natural for Naaman to have faith. He fought against it at first. It isn’t natural for us either. Whether it is simply in the quiet submission within our hearts, through the expression of our lips, or through a decision that is manifest through actions, God always gives us the opportunity to seize the faith that is His gift to us.
5. Grace is completely free
Elisha refused to receive payment for healing Naaman. Gehazi was Elisha’s servant. Even though he had served Elisha for many years, he had never understood that grace was free – especially for this foreigner who had done so much to harm the people of God. Surely he needed to pay something for the gift of healing he had received! Otherwise it wasn’t right, according to Gehazi.
So Gehazi ran after Naaman and asked him for some silver and some clothes, which Naaman gladly gave him. As a result, God struck Gehazi down with the leprosy that Naaman of which Naaman had been cured.
The lesson here is that grace is free – completely free. It is free for humanity because of Calvary, where it cost God everything.
There are some who teach a gospel of a grace that we must purchase through a variety of means. The lesson here is also that God considers those who teach these things to be on a par with the pagans that oppress and persecute his people. Naaman the pagan was healed. Gehazi the servant of the man of God was struck down.
You can read the story in 2 Kings 5. It is a great story. We must learn its lessons well.