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What the Bible says about Grace Given to Noah and his Family
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 7:17-23

Amid the prevailing violence of the pre-Flood world, God singled out Noah, called him, and began giving him the grace he needed to complete what likely seemed like an impossible assignment. He spent one hundred and twenty years preaching, undertaking the hard labor to build the ark, and enduring the mockery of his neighbors. When the Flood came, he faced torrential rains combined with earthquakes that produced frighteningly huge waves on an endless sea, making him fear for his family's survival. While never knowing a period of absolute calm, he cared for the animals, including the birds sent out to reconnoiter conditions outside. When one did not return, and the ark settled into the soft but stable soil, the lifesaving voyage ended, and the reestablishment of life on earth began in a world of absolute calm dominated by silence.

From beginning to end, Noah's story has the sense and appeal of a fantastic fictional tale. Within it are events that may remind us of a superhero conquering every challenge devised by a mysterious villain to keep him from accomplishing his mission, and saving his family despite the sacrifices. Since God Himself reports Noah's work through Moses, his story is not fiction; one man lived the entire experience. Moreover, every person born on earth since descends from this one man and his wife.

We do not have to search long to find the cause for God's judgment: man's unending determination to fill his life with every vile form of sin he could imagine. Humanity needed to be saved from itself before millions of minds became so set on sinful ways of living that they could not repent. The step God took—sentencing almost all of mankind to death—was, in reality, an act of divine mercy before humanity reached that point of no return.

This current generation of humanity is living in an atmosphere of widespread violence, which Jesus warned in His Olivet Prophecy would be similar to the state the world was in as Noah was finalizing the housing of the animals God brought to him. The beginning of the Flood was only days away.

How much time do we have before God gives the signal for Jesus to return to earth to establish the Kingdom of God? Before His crucifixion, even Jesus did not know the time of His departure from heaven, so we do not know either. He admonishes us to be ready at all times.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Eleven): Signs

Hebrews 11:7

The Bible does not explain how Noah became aware of the grace he had been given. Even so, it enabled him, first, by sanctifying him and giving him the spiritual faith to respond properly to the warning God gave. Hebrews 11:7 reveals that Noah reacted by moving with godly fear, that is, with a deep reverential respect, indicating that, though he was awed by the complexity and size of what God had charged him to do, he nonetheless immediately accepted the task and began doing what he could.

Genesis 6:9 adds detail to Noah's character, describing him as “just,” “righteous,” or “godly,” and saying that he “walked with God.” The latter phrase suggests that, despite all the conflicting corruption surrounding him, he moved through life in step with God, doing his work alongside Him.

It also says he was “perfect in his generations” or “blameless among his contemporaries.” “Blameless” is a kind of code word that indicates he was justified by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. He was a converted man.

Notice that the verse does not say Noah received grace as a result of already conducting his life with all those good attributes. Instead, he was leading his life righteously because he had first found God's grace, the gifting by which God enabled him. The way he lived his life is the proof that he had found God's favor and then began conducting his life as Scripture describes. The favor, the grace, empowered him to accomplish what is recorded. God follows this pattern with everyone He sanctifies.

James 2:17-18 tells us that true faith will reveal itself by what it produces. The product will be in agreement with God's righteousness, and it will separate, set apart, that person from those around him who do not have the same faith. The grace, the favor, the gifts of God, always precede anything produced within the purpose and calling of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Ten)


 




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