And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.(Genesis 6:7-13)
The world of Noah’s day was on the verge of total destruction, though few knew it. The godlessness, and the resulting violence, perversion, rampant distortion of sexuality, and constant indulgence in the imagination of evil was almost entirely universal. Man, who had been made in the Image of God, had willfully become a sick, and twisted parody of that image.
How corrupt and evil had man become? Scripture literally quotes God saying, , “It hurts me to the heart, that I have made man…”.
Yet, we are told by the apostle Peter, that “The longsuffering of God is salvation”. God waited for centuries, to save any who would turn to Him. The Sethite line, and particularly Enoch,Methuselah and Lamech all bore witness to sinners of the coming judgment.
The Lord’s apostle Peter tells us, that “The Lord is not slack, concerning his promises as some men count slackness, but is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.
But even in Judgment, God remembers mercy, for we are told that ,Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
In this first mention of grace in scripture, we see the portrait of the salvation of everyman, for in a sense all of us are like Noah.
* Noah didn’t deserve to be saved - Grace is defined as the undeserved favor of God. When God says Noah found Grace, he is saying by inference, that Noah received something from God that he didn’t deserve, and that he couldn’t earn or merit.that something is called “Righteousness” or “Right Standing with God”.
True, Noah is also said to be a “a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God”, but the rest of scripture teaches us that the “justness” Noah possessed was a gift of God, given to those who believe God, and who walk with God as a consequence of God’s continual justification.
In a doomed world of sinners given completely over to their depraved lusts, God chose one man and his family , giving them the gift of Righteousness. Noah believed God, and right standing with God was imputed to Him. Noah walked with God in faith and humble worship,in a world that had spurned and rejected God.
*All of us live in a doomed world. Ours is a world under judgment as Noah’s was. The sentence has been passed and it is only a matter of time before the Infinitely Righteous and Holy Judge of all of the earth executes the sentence upon the world of the ungodly. The prophet Isaiah bears witness to this,
Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof… The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.(Isaiah 24:1-4)
The Apostle Paul also warns us of the coming day of Divine examination,
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:(Romans 2:5-6)
God’s attitude towards this world is uncompromising, it is slated for destruction, there is no way that the church s going to be able to “make the world a better place”, the world has already been judged. God is now calling people to come out of this world.
* God has shown us something also- God showed Noah what was coming, something that the rest of the world had willfully ignored until they rendered themselves oblivious to it. God has shown his people in our day also that the dreaded day of judgment is coming. God’s people know something that the rest of the world either is ignorant of, or in denial about.
In fact the least member of any true church, knows more about the problems of the world, and the outcome of them, than all of the Kings of the earth, the pundits, scholars and think tanks combined!
* Grace moves us to action- Noah was shown something from God about the judgment that was coming on the ungodly world, and about what to do about it. Noah didn’t hesitate, he responded to the grace of God, in the fear of God. We too have been shown something, about the coming of the Lord, and the just judgment coming on the world. This revelation is supposed to drive us in humble faith and repentance to Jesus Christ, the new and living Ark God has prepared.
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.(Hebrews 11:7)
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.(Acts 2:37-40)
* Noah’s Action Condemned the World – It took Noah 120 years to build the Ark. What a spectacle it must have been! But the erection of this massive structure was a daily warning and condemnation of the world, a testament that it was doomed and under wrath.
This is why there has always been persecution against the church by the world. Somehow or another, the world perceives that it is being condemned by christians, especially by the sacrament of adult baptism. They may not now the doctrine, but they correctly sense that a valid baptism is crossing a watery line from one world to another, and announcing the end of the old world.
Peter tells us that every Christian baptism does just that. Every time a person goes under the water, in the name of Jesus Christ, they are proclaiming that this world is under judgment, and that it won’t last long, which is why they are leaving it, to enter into Christ.
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:(I Peter 3:18-21)