The Only Thing That Distinguishes You from Them

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:8

The Noah of popular imagination is a spiritual giant, a hero of the faith. In truth, though, he was just an ordinary man. He was like everybody else as he went about his daily tasks, earned a living, and raised his kids.

Before Noah’s story unfolds, we’re told that “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart” (Genesis 6:5-6). No distinctions are made here. Without exception, the whole human race was involved in wickedness—including Noah.

The point is clear: All had sinned. All were alienated from God. All must face judgment.

“But Noah…” By God’s grace, the reality of sin and judgment is always tempered by a divine “but.” God’s grace, unexplained and unmerited, was extended to Noah. This was the only thing that eventually distinguished him from the rest of humanity. God chose Noah and his family to be the recipients of His grace, establishing a relationship with him that had not existed before. Because of this grace, Noah became “a righteous man” who “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9).

Noah could make no claim on God. Without any virtue on his part, and against all the odds, God simply intervened in Noah’s life.

Many people are under the impression that grace isn’t found in the Old Testament—that in the early days, it was all fire and brimstone, law and judgment, and it’s not until Jesus arrives that grace comes. The reality, though, is that grace not only precedes creation but also unfolds in the midst of judgments throughout history and on every page of the Bible.

And throughout the Bible, grace works itself out. Noah built a boat in obedience to the word of God when the word of God was all he had to go on. When we experience grace in all its fullness, it diminishes us and exalts God. It makes us realize that life is all about Him and His kindness to us. It moves us to trust His word and obey His commands.

The only thing that distinguishes you from the culture around you is the same thing that marked Noah out from the people of his day: the unmerited, outreaching favor of God. So be on guard against spiritual pride as much as worldly compromise. None of us are smart enough to grasp the idea of salvation or good enough to merit the joy of salvation. You and I are not deserving—but nevertheless, God has intervened. Only when the grace of God grips our hearts will we, like Noah, walk in the way of our Creator rather than the way of our world and live in obedient humility and confident hope. Only grace has that effect.

A. Begg

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

%d bloggers like this: