The Salvation of Naaman the leper - by Keith Petersen
November 12, 2006
The object of this letter is to press upon you the need for eternal salvation. This matter of your eternal well-being is of utmost concern to Heaven – “the Lord … is longsuffering towards you, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Peter3:9).
There is a common notion that man has an inherent goodness that can contribute to his eternal standing with God. However, this is entirely untrue – in Genesis 6 it is said that the [Lord] “saw that the wickedness of Man was great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually.” David could say in Psalm 51, “Behold, in iniquity was I brought forth, and in sin did my mother conceive me” and the apostle Paul wrote “and all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, good does not dwell;”.
This does not preclude that sinful man is capable of some good deed or actions in life – it only, rather, shows that man, in his inherent nature, is a sinful creature before a holy God. The law was given to Moses and the word was “Do this and live.” The law was not brought in by God to give life – it was, simply, to show sin. Sin was in the world before the law was given. The Scripture defines sin as lawlessness (1John3:4) – i.e., the activity of man’s will independent of God.
In 2nd Kings chapter 5 is told the salvation of Naaman. It says that Naaman was a great man “[but] a leper.” That is much like the history of you and me – morally – before a holy and righteous God. We do indeed have a natural greatness as made in the image of God; but, “self” assigns its own standing independent of God.
Our natural self strives to clothe itself with a purported goodness. None are free from this. Each adopts what suits themselves; but, Isaiah says, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;” The Bible speaks of the heart-knowing God and that “the word of God [is] living and operative, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and penetrating to [the] division of soul and spirit, both of joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of [the] heart. And there is not a creature unapparent before him; but all things [are] naked and laid bare to his eyes, with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews4:12).
David writes “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psalm51), and Naaman needed both to be cleansed from his leprosy and to be cleansed in his heart. As Naaman’s leprosywas apparent; so is our moral leprosy before God. It is impossible that God can have a proper relationship with us until He has dealt with the leprosy. We cannot change it – as Naaman couldn’t cleanse himself of his leprosy, we cannot cleanse ourselves of our inherently sinful nature. But, God can.
There is “a little maid” – she tells Naaman’s wife that he can be cured from his leprosy by the prophet. Her message was taken up and Naaman’s need moved him to go to the prophet – in faith that her testimony was true. There are evidently some six billion people in the world tonight – as you read this please consider that, as is were, this Gospel message is the little maid telling you that there is a Prophet – the Lord Jesus Christ – who can provide for your cleansing and for your eternal welfare. The Word of God is that “Ye are saved by faith.”
Naaman goes to the prophet Elisha and “Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.” This was simple instruction; but, Naaman was enraged. His blessing and ultimately his eternal salvation was squarely before him; but, the activity of his natural will was keeping him from following the path of God’s instruction. The Bible says that “he that does the will of God abides for eternity”; but, Satan swayed Naaman to think otherwise.
Notice what Naaman says – “Behold, I thought, He will certainly come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of Jehovah his God, and wave his hand over the place, and cure the leper.” Naaman had in mind that the prophet should “stand”. But, Naaman had no standing, ultimately – he was a leper. It says, “And Naaman was wroth, and went away.”
This is of intense interest. Naaman’s salvation hinged on his obedience to the word of God (through the prophet); yet, his natural proclivities were driving him away from this very salvation. However, God does not relinquish his claims over us so readily. “And his servants drew near, and spoke to him and said, My father, [if] the prophet had bidden thee [do some] great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he says to thee, Wash and be clean?” The Bible says “Believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved.” Heaven is drawing near to you in this letter.
So, in a wonderful testimony to the work of God in this man’s heart, “he went down, and plunged himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God. And his flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” Is not this beautiful indeed? Some will say it is just a story; nonetheless, it is true – and quite real for faith!
” And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came and stood before him; and he said, Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but … Jehovah.” Naaman now stands before God as a believing man.
My friend, Heaven is looking on as you read this. If you are yet unsaved, will you accede to the interest of God in your welfare? It is written, “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from among [the] dead, thou shalt be saved. For with [the] heart is believed to righteousness; and with [the] mouth confession made to salvation. For the scripture says, No one believing on him shall be ashamed. For there is no difference of Jew and Greek; for the same Lord of all [is] rich towards all that call upon him. For every one whosoever, who shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” (Romans 10).
May it be so.
P.S. Our time here is relatively brief. Proverbs says “thou knowest not what a day will bring forth.” The Bible speaks of “urgency” – please do not trifle with your eternal welfare. “behold, now [is the] well-accepted time; behold, now [the] day of salvation” (2Corinthians6).