I want to invite you to Genesis 6 this morning, as we continue in our series together. We’re doing a 30,000 foot view of scripture to see the beauty of why God wrote what he wrote, for us to have a grasp and an understanding of God’s Word when we pick it up together or in your individual time studying God’s Word. I want you to be able to see with confidence how God has communicated his truth for you so that beyond Sunday you can study and see the goodness of God in your own personal life.
I know sometimes the Word of God can seem a bit overwhelming to us. 66 books written over 1,500 years, 40 different authors, three continents, three languages. There’s a lot that spans in the history of scripture. And having a grasp of that is important for all of us in our walk with the Lord.
And so who are going through the series together. One of the things that we’ve recognized going through the series together, we’ve titled this Kingdom Come. And the reason we’ve titled it Kingdom Come, is because when God created from the very beginning, he designed the world in such a way to enjoy rest and peace before him for all of eternity. And what you find in this first few chapters of Genesis, is that while God creates the this world for that purpose, he rests on the seventh day.
But shortly after that mankind rebels against God. We’re created in his image. We’re created to connect to rest, rule and reign with him, and we rebelled against him. Sin comes in the world and devastates that relationship that we have with God and it affects our daily life. But since that time, God has continued to pursue us, to be a part of that relationship, which he created us to belong in. God pursues us to know him, to enjoy him for all of eternity.
And so while he created this kingdom for all of us to connect with him, to know him, to delight in him for eternity, man rebels, God doesn’t give up. God pursues us and God frees us from our sin by becoming that sacrifice for us. And we looked at that last week, Genesis 3:15, the promise of the coming of Jesus. You would think right after the sin of Adam and Eve and they see how catastrophic the curse of sin is on this world, that everything would be okay after that. That man would decide, “You know what, we disobeyed and chose not to listen to God once. Let’s not do that anymore.”
But by the time you get to Genesis 4, you see the next generation of people, Cain and Abel get in a fight. Cain kills Abel. You see the just the demise of humanity continuing on. All the way to when you get to chapter six, which we’re going to get into today, we get to the Noaaic flood. And what we see in the Noahic flood is not only how sin affected Adam and Eve, not only did it affect Cain and Abel, but really it’s permeated all of society.
And so Genesis helps us recognize. You can think when Genesis was written, it was written to a group of Hebrew slaves that were just freed after years of slavery in Egypt under the, the headship of Moses. Going out of the land of Egypt, heading to the promised land God calls them into. And they’re finding their identity in the Lord. You can think years and years of being a slave, this sort of trauma and experience that you would go through in life, people tell you you’re not good enough, you’re beneath them and now all of a sudden God shows up and frees you. And you start to wonder those big questions of life. Well, who am I? Where am I going? Where did I come from?
And Genesis becomes that book that lays that foundation for these Hebrew slaves to find their identity. And as they find the beauty of who we are, which we talked about the first few weeks, being made in the image of God, we also find out the brokenness that’s in all of them. And Genesis 6 is really God’s way of beginning to explain to us that the sin that came into Adam and Eve’s life, it really permeates into all of culture, all of us, because all of us rebel against God.
In Genesis 6 it starts with the whole idea of the global flood. Or or a flood. We’ll get into whether or not it’s global in a minute, but a flood that hits the earth. And it just reminds me, we dive into the story of Noah. The story of Noah is a horrible children’s story.
Anytime you ever go to kid’s classes, that seems like, or in a church you get in kids’ rooms, that seems like Noah’s Ark and pretty animals hanging off this boat is this wonderful picture. But when you think about what the story really is, it’s worldwide devastation on the earth and everyone dies. Except for eight people and some animals.
And so this is not necessarily your most kid-friendly story, but for some reason we like to paint it that way. Could you imagine, you think about that with any other Bible story. Like the book of Revelation in your kid’s room with the Apocalypse and this dragon and the great whore of Babylon, painting that in your kid’s room. For some reason, Noah has gotten on list of nice little kids’ stories that you can articulate on your walls for your children. But it’s not a kid friendly story.
And so in Genesis 6, what I want to do is I want to unfold the significant parts of this story. The Noahic flood transpires from Genesis 5 is where it picks up and it runs all the way to Genesis 9. I’m going to highlight some important parts of the story. I want us to think a little bit as it relates to this. I want to make some application for us at the end.
But in Genesis 6:1, it says this, “Now it came about when men began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful. And they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. And then the Lord said, my spirit shall not strive with man forever because he also is flesh. Nevertheless, this day shall be 120 years and the Nephilim were on the earth in those days. And also afterward when the sons of God came into the daughters of men and they bore children to them, those were the mighty men who were of old men of renown.”
Now, what in the world did you just read? I will tell you that people that like to geek out on the Bible, passages of scripture, they tend to attract too. And this section of scripture is one of those where Bible nerds will often come to you and do speculative thought as it relates to the Nephilim and the sons of God and the daughters of men. And I will tell you, if you were to leave today and you were to study what in the world the Nephilim are, and how this leads to a flood, I will tell you, you’re going to find a gamut of interpretation as to how this fits.
But here’s what I do want you to know, is whatever this passage means, it led to a flood that wiped out humanity. So whatever’s happening here is not necessarily a godly or a good thing. So some people speculate as to who these Nephilim are, sons of God, daughters and men. This Nephilim literally it transliterates as “fallen ones.” So these Nephilim represent fallen ones. And some people will say they’re godly individuals and now they meet these ungodly ladies and the next thing you know, humanity becomes ungodly.
That’s kinda like everyone would agree that’s pretty much what this passage is talking about. But then there are others that read more into this passage of scripture. And they’ll say, well, the sons of God, daughters of men, the sons of God are actually from the Godly in the line of Seth. If you know, first four chapters of Genesis. Cain killed Abel, and then Adam and Eve have another child named Seth. And it’s kinda like Seth replaces the godly line of Abel. And Cain is the ungodly line. And so Cain killed Abel. Seth comes along. So you have this Godly line of Seth.
If you go back and read the gospel of Luke, you’ll see in the gospel of Luke, they trace the genealogy of Jesus all the way back to the line of Seth and into Adam and Eve. And so Seth is a Godly line, these sons of God are in the Godly line, and these daughters of men are from Cain and the ungodly line. And so what happens in societies, it’s devastated from this ungodliness.
And then some other people take a little step further and say, well, what’s really happening here is more than just physical, it’s actually spiritual. That’s the sons of God are actually a term in the Old Testament to refer to angels. In Job 38:7, it refers to the sons of God and it’s a title for angels in the Old Testament. And so what they’re actually saying is, these sons of God in this passage of scripture are actually angels that have the ability to breed with humanity. Which takes it to a whole other level of all kinds of crazy?
But what you’ll find is if you read in the New Testament, the book of Jude 6, it talks about God punishing angels for crossing over into an area that was not of their domain. And people speculate that that’s what’s happening here. And this is the reason God would wipe out humanity.
And you ask the question, now why in the world would angels do that? And the speculative thought is this, that in Genesis 3 you have the promise of Jesus coming. And if Satan can interfere with the bloodline of humanity, then he can interfere with the coming of Jesus. And so his desire is to stop the arrival of Jesus from becoming a sacrifice of the world. He wants to create this hybrid breed between angels and humanity in order to do that.
Now, I don’t think you need to go out and freak out today that you’re going to encounter anything like this. If you take the stance that this is angels breeding with human beings, because if hold to that, Jude 6 also tells us that Jesus has bound them and that’s no longer possible. I won’t tell you where I stand on that, but I will tell you, go study it. All right? Go figure it out for yourself. This is one of those passages of scripture that you can take the freedom to do that in.
But whatever is happening here, it’s to the extreme that God decides to bring a flood. In Genesis 6:5-7, it says, then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Then the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth and he was grieved in his heart. And the Lord said, I will blot out man, whom I have created from the face of the land from man to animals to creeping things and the birds of the sky, for I am sorry that I have made them.
When God says he is sorry in this passage of scripture, I think it’s important to know that Genesis is narrative form, meaning it’s telling a story from man’s perspective. It’s not saying God’s up in heaven thinking, “Oh man, what was I thinking? I can’t believe I made people. I’m so stupid!. I’m never going do this again. Never, never will I make this mistake.” That’s not what it’s communicating to us. Rather, what it’s saying from a man’s perspective is that it’s grieved the heart of God that man has rebelled against God.
God would have known that man would’ve done this from the beginning because God knows all things. And the Lord’s not gonna repent or be sorry in the sense that he feels like he messed up. God already knows what we’re going to do before we do it. Malakai 3:6 says, God does not change. He has an unchanging nature. But what this passage is wanting us to recognize is this idea of verse six it tells us that God is grieved. And this word grieved is the same Hebrew word that means when a husband abandons his wife.
What is saying about the Lord here in relationship is that God has created us for relationship with him. And what humanity has continued to perpetuate throughout the first six chapters of Genesis is that man has constantly turned away from God. And God cares. That’s why he’s grieved, right? Things you don’t care about really don’t matter to you, but in this case, God is grieved. And so he says within the context of the story, he’s going to send this flood. He know’s everyone’s heart is evil continually, he tells us in verse five. Everyone, nothing but focusing on on evil.
But then he gives us this thought in verse eight. That in the midst of all of the evil that’s happening, it says, but Noah. Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord, and these are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in time, Noah walked with God. And Noah became the father of three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
When it says, Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord, that word favor is the Hebrew word for grace. Noah finds grace. And so in the context of the first 10 verses of Genesis chapter six you see this story of the flood. God’s purpose behind the flood. And the idea of the Nephilim or whatever it is that they represent, and this one individual that finds God’s grace in the midst of the sin in the world, that everyone’s heart is bent towards evil.
I’m going to consider just a couple of thoughts as we look at this passage of scripture. Do you really believe in a flood? Do you really believe in a global flood? Genesis tells us, God’s sending this flood. He calls out this one named Noah. He wants Noah how to build this ark. And Genesis 6:13 goes on from there, then God said to Noah, the end of all flesh has come before me. For the earth is filled with violence because of them, and behold, I’m about to destroy them with the earth. Make for yourselves an ark of gopher wood. Verse 17, behold, I even I, am bringing the flood of water upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall perish, but I will establish my covenant with you. He says to Noah, and you shall enter the ark, you and your sons and your wife and your sons wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female.
Sounds crazy. A worldwide flood, right? You guys really believe that? Now if you’re going to follow after Jesus, sometimes there’s things that we might stand for that might sound ludicrous to the rest of the world, but how do you even know that there really was a flood and then it was maybe even worldwide? It’s interesting when you study the account of Noah and you look at it historically beyond this Old Testament text. There’s actually multiple accounts through ancient civilizations that record a global flood or at least regional floods in the time of Noah. One of the most famous ones on the top left there is the account of Gilgamesh. It’s a Chaldean account of the flood. They found it, I think in Ur of the Chaldeans, which is in modern day Iraq.
That tablet on the top left is over 4,000 years old and it gives an account of the flood where it accredits a god. The god’s name in Babylon is Ea. And it records that the creator of all things is this one god who created all things, brought a flood upon the world. And the only people that survived this flood were the ones that lived in the ark. The ark builders. Interesting account, but there are multiple accounts outside of scripture of the idea of a global flood or regional floods that have took place during the time of Noah.
Not only that, but I think when you even consider our world today in our neck of the woods, if you were to even look at the landscape of our area of the world, it seems to be that there is an evidence of something cataclysmic that cut through the earth. If you ever go down to the Grand Canyon. You see the landscape of the Grand Canyon. You stay on the edge of that and there had to have been some mighty water that had created that Canyon.
If you ever go up to a Yellowstone, Yellowstone has these areas of these open fields. In these open fields, you’ll see these rocks just randomly deposited throughout these fields. I remember recently up in Yellowstone, I talked to one of the people that worked there, and I just asked him, why in the world are these random rocks all over the field? Interesting, their response to me was that the glaciers came through Yellowstone and deposited these rocks throughout these fields. And you just think, well, how interesting. How in the world could glaciers get up here, this elevation and deposit rocks and do that.
I have a friend that has planted a church down in the Bryce Canyon area and he even records of himself, he was about 7,000 feet up, right outside of Bryce Canyon. And he’s picking out of the side of Bryce Canyon, shark’s teeth. Off the side of the rock. Those weren’t the only thing that he found that day. He found some sharks teeth, he found some other teeth to animals as well. But here he is showing you the height that he’s at, elevation that he’s at. That many feet up in the air and evidence of some sort of aquatic creature. Up high in altitude.
And so when you think about whether or not you believe in a global flood as the Bible records, I think there’s evidence for it outside of just this text in the Old Testament that suggests that to us. But beyond that in the New Testament, Jesus records or teaches about the idea of a universal flood. Matthew 24:37-39, Luke 17:26-27. He’s not the only New Testament speaker to teach about the worldwide flood.
If you think about this, Noah’s flood is the second flood that has encapsulated the world. In Genesis 1, when God created, it tells us the entire world is underwater and God starts to bring the land out of the water. And so this Noahic flood is the second time that the earth would have been underwater. I’m going to give you one more reason why I think the flood would have been universal, in a moment. I’m going to save it for the end of this next question, but when you think about do you really believe in a global flood? I believe scripture is giving us in the Old Testament gives us evidence for it in the New Testament and even beyond that, I think there’s other things that we can look to in history that identify it for us. But the other thing I think is worth asking as we look at the idea of a flood is, how can you believe in a good God if he judges the entire world by a flood?
You think about what this story is saying to us. However large the population of the earth is at this point, everyone, except for a few, God is wiping off the face of this earth. How in the world can you believe in a good God if he judges the entire world? Genesis 7 says, and the Lord said to Noah, entered the ark, you and all your household. Verse 13, on the very same day, Noah and Sham and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah and Noah’s wife and their three wives of his sons with him enter the Ark. They and every beast after its kind and all the cattle after their kind and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after it’s kind. And every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds, those that entered male and female of all flesh entered as God had commanded him. And the Lord closed it behind him, talking about the door to the ark. Then the flood came upon the earth for 40 days. And the water prevailed more and more upon the earth so that all of the high mountains, everywhere under the heavens were covered.
All of the mountains covered. How can you believe God is good? When God judges the earth in this kind of way?
You know, when you talk about the idea of God’s judgment, I find people are often fickle over that topic. I’ve been in conversations, no joke, where someone will say to me, there’s so much evil in this world, I can’t believe that you would believe in a good God when there’s so much evil in this world. And then they’ll turn around and talk about how they don’t want to believe in a God that would judge the world. It’s like, wait a minute. On one hand you’re upset that there’s evil in this world and the God hasn’t done anything about it. And then when God does something about it, you’re mad that God does something about it. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You gotta you gotta pick one or the other. Which are you more upset about?
When you see evil and you’re mad that God doesn’t do anything, at least you don’t think he does anything. Or the fact that God judges. It’s not an either or. It doesn’t work like that. And so I think people get fickle over the idea of God’s judgment or lack thereof. But two thoughts I want you to consider and then we’ll develop some of these.
Sometimes we get angry at God for judging because I think that we believe deep down we’re owed something beyond what we should receive. What I mean is sometimes we get mad about God’s judgment because we feel or want to treat God as if he is obligated to give us something. Now when you think about it, what does God owe us? When you look in the first few chapters of Genesis, it’s God who creates everything perfectly. And it’s man that rebels and sins. What does God owe us?
God doesn’t even owe us today. There’s nothing that God is obligated to give us. Now, thank God by his grace he does and he tells us all things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Those are beautiful things, but it’s not because he owes us anything. It just so happens it’s because he’s so gracious and good. And so God doesn’t owe us anything. On the same token, I would say this, if God doesn’t judge, can he even be good?
Any judge that is good must bring justice in order to be good. That’s what makes things good is justice, right? We use this illustration often here at church, but if you’ve ever been wronged and you go to court and a judge were to say, look, I think the person that wrongs you is guilty, but I’m not going to do anything about it, you would look at that judge and wonder how in the world could that judge ever be good, because they didn’t bring justice.
And so in order for God to be good, he must deliver justice. But we can’t ask the question, how could God be good if he judges? And we look at stories like Noahic flood and we think, well, if God does this, this makes such an evil God. But you know what’s interesting when you think about the Lord in these terms, there are other Old Testament prophets that as they considered God their charge against the Lord was not that he was evil because of his judgment, but rather is that he was too gracious in his goodness.
If you remember the story of the prophet Jonah, Jonah was told to go to Babylon and tell the people to repent because God was going to bring judgment. And Jonah, he ran away. And to the point where God caught him in a whale. And God brings them to the shore of the land and spits them out and he goes into Babylon and he preaches what God tells him to preach.
And Jonah 4, Jonah says to God, he’s angry after he preaches this message and he sees Babylon repent. And he finally shares with God why he was so angry that God asked him to do that. And Jonah 4:2 it says this, he Jonah prayed to the Lord and said, please, Lord was not this what I said while I was still in my own country. Therefore, in order to forestall that I fled to Tarshish for I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abundant and loving kindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. What Jonah starts to reveal to us about the character of God is that God, while God judges God is also a very patient and gracious God. And Jonah, knowing that, doesn’t want to preach God’s message because he knows it will lead people to the Lord. And Jonah’s hard heart towards Babylon is for judgment and wrath and God’s fury to be poured out on them.
Now you look at Genesis 6 and 7, you see the flood taking place and you look at the thought of Jonah. You think, when you consider God judging, he asked the question, how can God be good when he judges? Well, the idea of Jonah is that God’s still judges, but God is incredibly gracious. How can we look at the story of Noah’s flood and think to ourselves that God is good and gracious at all? Here he is devastating the entire world. How is God, good and gracious? In Genesis 5, God really starts to lay out the thought to his graciousness as we get to the flood.
So Genesis 6 already starts to share with us Noah’s flood, but Genesis 5 gives us the backstory to the flood. And what it says, it introduces us to a few characters here. In verse 21 Enoch lived 65 years and became the father of Methuselah. So all the days of Enoch or 365 years. Enoch walked with God and was not for God took him. So some people believe what happened here is there is this individual named Enoch. He has a son named Methuselah. And Enoch, rather than dying, God just removes him from the world. Enoch this godly individual. And rather than continuing this ungodly world, God just removes him from the world.
And then verse 25 you get to Methuselah. Methuselah lived 187 years and became the father of Lamach. So all the days of Methuselah were 969 years and he died. Now, if you know the trick to Bible trivia here. If any of you ever leave and take Bible trivia from this point on, you can get this question right, but who is the oldest person in the Bible? Methuselah. 969 years. You think the Bible gives you that kind of trivia just so you can be super smart over how long someone lived? I mean, the Bible is not telling you that you can get a trivia question right. The Bible is telling you that because it wants you to identify something significant about Methuselah.
Who cares how long the Methuselah lived. It’s irrelevant to your life, unless there’s a point behind the age of Methuselah, 969 years. Who wants to live that long? 969 years Methuselah lives. But here’s the interesting thing. Methuselah’s name can translate, “after him, judgement.” After him, judgement. So here’s what the people during Noah’s day see: here’s the godly individual and God removes Enoch, the godly individual. And the one who is still godly that stays, his name means, “After me, comes judgment.” And God lets him live 969 years. It’s like he’s a walking testimony to the people that once Methuselah is gone, God’s going to bring judgment. For 969 years, God shared this with the people on the earth.
And then it gets to Genesis 5:28, and Lamach lived 182 years and became the father of a son. Now he called his name Noah, saying the one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground, which the Lord has cursed. Not only is Methuselah’s name, “after him judgement,” but when Lamach has Noah, he gives a demonstration of what he represents. The ground will be cursed. And when God calls Noah, he tells Noah to build an ark. And how long does Noah build the ark? Over a hundred years. Think how crazy that would be to be walking by this open field and see this guy in the middle of this open field building a boat for a hundred years.
If you add all that together, what it’s saying to us as more than a thousand years. For more than a thousand years, God warned people. For more than a thousand years, God sent his grace towards people to call them into relationship with him and man continued to rebel. I think the very thoughts of Jonah and the reason why he didn’t want to go to Babylon are expressed leading up to the Noahic flood. Babylon was still judged later on, but at that time God calls them into him. And in Genesis when God brings this judgment in Genesis 6 it’s not like God just came in this fury and just said, you know, I had enough. I’m angry. You guys have just sent me boiling over. Rather, what it’s saying is that God patiently, for a thousand years sent his grace. And I think this is really the fifth reason why this Noahic flood to me makes sense to believe in.
Sometimes when we study the Noahic flood, we sort of study it like the Sunday school answer where we look in Genesis 6 and we talk about a flood and it happens. But what we see in the story of the Noahic flood is the story of the flood starts to get told a thousand years before the flood actually ever happens. All the way back in Genesis 5. In the days of Methuselah God pronounces his judgment that is coming. At the time of the birth of Noah. And then you get to the idea of the Noahic flood in Genesis 6.
When you consider the thought of God’s patience towards people. A thousand years, he graciously waits on them. The amazing thought of this story isn’t that God judged. I think that was expected. The amazing part of this story is that God would provide any means of escape, and do so very patiently from Enoch, to Methuselah, to Noah.
Every judgment you see in scripture, you find that an incredibly patient God. This is why in Genesis 6:8, it reminds us, Noah finds favor before the Lord. When you get to Genesis 8:14, this is after the flood, then it says this, and the second month of the 27th day of the month, the earth was dry. Then God spoke to Noah saying, go out of the Ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons wives with you. And the Lord said to himself, I will never again curse the ground on account of man. For the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth and I will never again destroy every living thing as I have done. Chapter nine verse 11, I will establish my covenant with you and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood. Neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth. God said, this is the sign of the covenant which I’m making between me and you and every living creature that is with you for all successive generations. I set my bow in the cloud and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between me and the earth.
God is saying here, it’s interesting, in Genesis 8 we just read. God’s saying in this section of scripture, he’s saying he’s not going to destroy the earth in a flood anymore and he’s also saying, but the heart of man will continue to be evil. He’s not going to bring the catastrophe on life anymore, but mankind will continue to turn from God.
But then he gives us the promise in 9, he makes this covenant with us and he gives us a symbol of the covenant with this which is his bow. There’s a play on words that happen in chapter nine between the idea of bow and a rainbow. The idea of bow in this verse 13 he says, I set my bow in the cloud as is like a bow and arrow bow. His warrior’s bow. God no longer shoots his warriors bow at the earth, but rather he sets a bow in the clouds as a reminder to us that he will no longer judge the earth in that way.
Now, what does this mean for us? You know, when you read Bible stories, I think it’s always important to recognize the Bible just doesn’t tell you things just to tell you things. The Bible doesn’t tell you Methuselah was the oldest person in scripture just you know who the oldest person in scripture. That was not the point. The point of Methuselah was for us to see the gracious hand of God continuing to extend to us in life.
And when you consider the story of Noah, the question for us is, what in the world does the story of Noah have anything to do with our lives today? I mean, I think hat’s nice that God sent grace this earth and then God judges the earth. But what does that have to do with anything related to us today? In 1 Peter 3, Peter picks up on the idea of this flood. And he identifies the significance of this flood as it relates to us today. And the reason he wants to identify it is because he wants us to recognize the thoughts of Genesis 8, which points to the fact that man continues to live in sin. Man continues to walk in sin. And if man continues to walk in sin, whether happen today or tomorrow, one day you’re going to meet God face to face. What are you going to do?
What are you going to do? In 1 Peter 3, Peter says it like this. When the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah during the construction of the ark, in which a few that is, eight persons were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that baptism now saves you. Not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What Peter is saying is, remember the patience in the days of Noah, where God kept calling his people. Come to me. Find grace in me. Be renewed in me. So God continues to do that today. In your heart and mine, he pursues. Come to me. But he says rather than in a physical ark that happened in the days of Noah, the ark of today is different. It’s the baptism that now saves you, not the removal of the dirt, but an appeal to God for a good conscience through Jesus Christ.
What he’s saying is, look, it’s not baptism that saves you. It’s not the physical water baptism where you go down and your washed, but rather you need something to carry you through the water. You need something to transform you from the inside out. You need another ark. And what he’s saying to us today that God calls us to, rather than the physical ark, he’s saying it’s Jesus. Jesus is the one that will carry you through the judgment of God that is to come. Jesus is the one that’ll extend to you his grace. And we all try to run away. Just like in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve ran away from God. Just like in the days of Noah, the people in Noah’s day ran away from God. But God is that ark patiently calling you to him.
One of the things I love about the story of Noah in Genesis 7:16, it tells us that when Noah and his family got on the Ark, God shut the door. It was God that helped Noah and his family in. It was God that carried them through.
I think about that as it relates to our lives. Let me use an illustration. In our lives, we all mess up relationally from time to time. We’ll do something stupid to a relationship that’ll hurt it and it will make it awkward. And when you step back into a room where that relationship is for the first time, you offend someone, they offend you, you say that there’s forgiveness there. And you go back into a room together for the first time. Sometimes that awkwardness is so thick, you could just cut through. Now you find out real quick where that forgiveness really rest and how that trust was destroyed and what it’s going to take to rebuild it. Sometimes those moments are so strange, so odd feeling that you just can’t wait to turn around and get back out of the room. Something made that relationship goes so toxic, so bad and you’re trying to work through it. And that first time you’re together, it’s just awkward and it’s weird and you really don’t want to even confront for the first time or be near each other for the first time. Even if you forgive one another, just the idea of building trust again, all that just takes time.
But here’s the beauty with God. When you walk into his room and you belong to him, he shuts the door. Because there is no getting out. With God, you never have to worry about where you stand. When Jesus says he forgives you, he completely forgives you. When the Bible calls us into that relationship with him where we appealed to him for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus, what he’s saying is he completely makes us new. That cleansing takes place from the inside out. God calls us his own. He elevates us in relationship with him and we belong to him forever and he carries us safely through.
That idea of God shutting the door in Genesis 7:16, is a picture for all believers in recognizing where we put our trust. That the same God that was so patient in the days of Noah patiently leads to our hearts calling us into relationship with him, that we could walk into his presence and he could shut the door and we belong. Never having to worry about the awkwardness of where we are positionally before Him. But rather you can rest in Him. And he safely carries you through.
Hebrews 11:6-7 gives a beautiful illustration of this. Hebrews 11:6, some of you will recognize this verse. It says, and without faith it is impossible to please him. For he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is the rewarder of those who seek him. That’s the famous faith chapter in the Bible. Hebrews 11 and the famous faith verse is Hebrews 11:6.
And do you know the very next example that it uses in that faith chapter to illustrate faith? Do you know who it is about? Noah. Verse 7 it says, and by faith Noah being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence, prepared an ark for salvation. The story of Noah’s flood for us is an illustration, a type of a greater ark. That greater ark for us is Jesus. And the Bible wants us to recognize in the midst of the struggle of relationship that we have, there is one place that when you step into, you belong. And you’re always with him and he cleanses you and makes you new and you can connect with him and he carries you safely through. The question is, does your faith rest there?
Do you belong there and do you find your identity with him as you trust?