A friend of mine recently posted something about Luke 4:26-30 being an early presentation of Calvinistic election, and I struggled to see how he deduced this. The only way anyone could see this as a calvinistic message would be to completely ignore the context as well as the Old Testament stories the Lord was referencing.

When Jesus spoke these words, he was responding to the disbelief of his hearers. He is not explaining to them why they weren’t “chosen” but that their refusal to chose Him was not unique.

In the Elijah story, from I Kings 17, the widow of Zeraphath was not elected to salvation, but to service. We can’t believe that no widows in Israel were under the grace of God, as in chapter 19 God informs Elijah there are 7000 Israelites who have remained faithful to him, and it seems impossible none of them were widows. God chose the widow of Zeraphath to perform a special work, “which God had prepared beforehand that [she] should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

In the story of Naaman (II Kings 5), the issue still is not election to salvation, but to be used to show the power of God. In this story the question is not really WHAT he was elected to, but WHY he was chosen. Why did God choose to heal a foreign leper rather than a Jewish one? Naaman was chosen because Naaman asked to be healed. God didn’t simply “elect” to remove Naaman’s leprosy, he responded to Naaman’s request. “You do not have, because you do not ask.” (James 4:2)

The Bible clearly states that “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (I John 2:2) We understand plainly that the Lord is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9)