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Gen 6:9-9:29: God's Response to Evil: Judgment and Salvation Print E-mail
Monday, 05 December 2005

How does God respond to the wickedness of men?  As believers, this is an important question to answer.  Rebellion and evil run rampant in our world today.  Man continues to behave wickedly before God.  So, then, we must answer the question, How will God respond to such evil?

Yet, before answering, we must recognize that how we answer this question involves what we believe about God.  Is God just?  Is God holy?  Is God concerned with how we behave?  Is God loving?  Is God merciful?  Is there any hope for those who rebel against Him?  The way in which we answer the question about Godís response to evil is intimately related to these other questions about God as well.

Not only this, but what we truly believe about God will impact how we live.  If we believe that God is holy and just and concerned with how we behave, then that will impact how we live.  If we truly believe that God is merciful and loving and that there is hope for those who have rebelled against Him, then that will impact how we live as well.  How we live is a reflection of what we truly believe about God.  Thus, we could ask the original question in this way: What do our lives teach about Godís response to the wickedness of men?  If people answered the question of Godís response to evil based on our actions, then what would they conclude?  What would this say about God?  What would this say about our belief, or lack of belief, in Him?

Following the Fall in the book of Genesis, we see that men continue to rebel against God and that wickedness continues to spread on the earth.  Murder, polygamy, violence were all present in the passage we looked at last week.  Our passage concluded with Godís sorrow over manís rebellion and His promise to judge the earth, with the exclusion of Noah (see 6:8).  In our passage today we see the fulfillment of that promise through the flood and Godís continued favor towards Noah and his family.  I want us to consider this morning Godís response to evil and His dealings with wicked men in the Flood account.  Through this we can better answer the question of how does God respond to evil?  At the same time, we must push further and ask if our lives evidence such truth about God.  Letís begin with two lessons concerning God from the flood.

First, God will judge the sins of man (6:9-13, 7:17-24).

If you walk in your local Christian bookstore, you will find all kinds of references to Noah and the flood.  It may be pictures of the Ark and all the animals or figurines or something else.  I remember at one point in my life I bought a clock for my mom that was an Ark.  None of these items are necessarily wrong, but I would venture to say that very few of them focus on the fact that the flood is a story of the judgment of God against manís horrible sin.  That is usually not portrayed.  Yet, the Bible makes it clear that the story of the flood is a story of judgment.

Look at 6:11-13.  Man was corrupting the earth with his wickedness and God pronounces His plan for judgment in verse 13.  Look also at 6:17.  The Lordís plan is to destroy the earth with the flood.  We see in chapter 7 that this is exactly what takes place.  Look at 7:21-24.  This is not typically displayed in the scenes dealing with the Flood, and understandably so, for they are horrible scenes.  Yet, they are just.  Godís response to the wickedness of man is judgment.

Of course, we could be asking the question: why would God start over in this way?  Why not just take out human beings and do something else?  After all, sin is not done away with by killing all mankind and preserving only Noah and his family (more about this later).  So, why the Flood?  Obviously I do not know the mind of God and cannot answer the why question in full.  But, I do think that one purpose of the Flood is to teach us and warn us of the weight of Godís judgment against sin.  God does not deal lightly with sin.  Countless stories in the Old Testament make this abundantly clear.  Yet, the clearest place we see Godís judgment against sin in the Bible is at the cross. 

Godís wrath against sin is evident in the Flood account.  His wrath against sin is magnified at the cross.  God takes sin so seriously and hates it so much that instead of just looking over the sins of His people and loving them anyway, He justly poured out His judgment for their sins on His Son at Calvary.  The cross was judgment for sin.  Yet, Christ, and Christ alone, was the only man who had never sinned.  He was not being judged for His own sins but for the sins of all those who would place their faith in Him.

Yet, the judgment of God at Calvary is not the final judgment mentioned in the Bible.  No, the Bible speaks of a judgment that is yet to come.  The Old Testament writers call this the Great Day of The Lord, and John, in the book of Revelation, speaks of the White Throne Judgment which is still to come (see Revelation 20:11-15).  On that day, only those whose names have been written in the book of life will escape being throne into the Lake of Fire.  It will be Godís final judgment of sin and evil.

So, how are all of these days of judgment connected?  Look at 2 Peter 3:1-7 again.  Peter speaks of the coming judgment of the Lord and talks of those who will mock and claim that Christ will not come back.  Yet, according to Peter, they ignore our passage this morning.  They ignore the fact that just as the Lord judged the sins of man in Noahís day with the Flood, so one day He will judge the sins of man with fire and destruction.  To Peter, the Flood account should serve as a warning to us that judgment is coming.

What then is our hope?  If judgment is coming for the sins of man, just like it came at the Flood, then what is our hope?  This leads us to our second lesson about God from the FloodÖ

God will save men from judgment by His mercy (6:14-7:16, 8:1-9:17).

Not only do we see Godís judgment against manís sin in the Flood account, but we also see His mercy and grace in the salvation of Noah and His family.  The Lord rescues Noah by telling him of the coming judgment and commanding him to build an Ark.  Look again at 6:13-14a.  God even gives Noah the details of how to make the Ark and commands him to fill the Ark with the animals, so as to preserve His creation during the coming judgment.  After Noah completes the Ark and loads all the animals, Moses gives us a detail that shows us Godís care in 7:16.  Look at that verse with me.  Thus, the Lord saves Noah and his family from the Flood of judgment.

Something we should point out in Godís relation with Noah is that He establishes a covenant with him.  Look at 6:18.  The Lord covenants with Noah to protect him and his family from the Flood.  This is the first time that a covenant is mentioned in the Bible, but it will not be the last.  We see from the story that God is faithful to keep His covenant as well.  Look at 8:1 with me.  After the Flood waters subside and Noah and his family leave the Ark, God makes a covenant with Noah and his descendants.  We see this in 8:20-9:17.  Some particulars about this covenant include: Godís pledge to never again send a flood and to preserve life (8:21-22), the covenant is not just with Noah but with Noah and all his descendants and all life (9:9-10, 12), the sign of the covenant is the rainbow (9:13-17). 

Likewise, we see in chapters 8-9 and the events following the flood a recreation of life.  God preserves the animals and the plants, even as He created them in the beginning.  He gives the cultural mandate to be fruitful and multiply to Noah and his sons (9:1).  Thus, even in the Flood account there is hope in the recreation.

The introduction of the covenant and the recreation in the Flood account point us to Christ.  If you read through the Old Testament and the history of Israel you will see that God will continue to establish covenants with His people.  Although they will vary in form and content, they are still important in understanding Godís relations with man.  Yet, in Jeremiah we read of the prophecy of a New Covenant for the people of God.  Look at Jeremiah 31:31-34.  Jesus speaks of this covenant being bought with His blood at the last supper.  Thus, the New Covenant was purchased by Christ on the cross.  Let me see if I can bring all this together.

Because God is holy and just He will bring judgment on the sins of man, as we see at the Flood and in Revelation.  Yet, God will save men from judgment by His mercy, as we see with Noah and his family, and will covenant with men through His grace.  But what is the basis for this?  How can God save men from judgment and still be just.  How can God walk with men, as the text says of Noah, when man is sinful?  The answer is the cross.  God has judged the sins of believers by pouring out his wrath on His Son at the cross.  Through Christís spilled blood, God has restored manís broken relationship with Himself and has established a new covenant with man.  It is this new covenant that we remember and celebrate when we observe communion.  It is this new covenant which is our only hope for the coming day of judgment.

Before we consider some implications of all this, let me make one point concerning what we learn of man from the FloodÖ

We learn that man continues to rebel and sin (8:21, 9:18-29).

Lest we think that the sin problem is solved, we must consider Noah.  First, we read in 8:20-21 that Noah makes an altar to the Lord and offers a sacrifice for his sin, which explains the discrepancy between the 2 animals of chapter 6 and the 7 clean animals of chapter 7.  In 21 we read that the intention of manís heart is evil from his youth.  Thus, as we saw last week, manís heart is corrupt and in need of atonement.  The text affirms that man is still made in the image of God, which is the reason God forbids murder (see 9:5-6), but it also affirms that man is still depraved.

If this is not enough, we also see Noahís sin and Hamís sin in 9:18-29.  Lest we think that Noah is perfect or does not struggle with sin, we see that he plants a vineyard and gets drunk off of the wine.  Then, his son Ham sins by looking on his fatherís nakedness and telling his other brothers.  All of this makes the point that the sin problem is still there.  The need for an atonement for our sin is still there.  Noah is not the one who will save us from our sin.  No, this One is still to come.

Let me draw out a couple of implications from what we have seen.  First, we must be prepared for the coming judgment.  The Scriptures we have looked at today tell us that God responds to evil with judgment.  From the New Testament we read of the final judgment that is still to come when all evil will be judged.  What is our hope to escape such judgment, knowing that we are sinners?  Our only hope is repentance and faith.  The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ took the judgment that we deserve for our sins on the cross.  By confessing and repenting of our sins and believing in the finished work of Christ we can have hope on that final day.  We must realize that God will respond to our sins with judgment in one of two ways.  Either He will judge our sins against Christ at the cross or He will judge them against us on that final day.  Thus, I urge you this day to repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior from the coming judgment. 

Second, our lives should evidence our belief in God and his response to evil.  Again, we go back to the question: if people judged Godís response to evil based on our lives, then what would they conclude?  What do our lives teach about God and His attitude towards sin?  Do we walk with the Lord in obedience as Noah walked with the Lord?  Does our faith in the coming judgment of God against sin have any impact on how we live our daily lives?

My last couple of semesters in seminary were seemingly different than the others.  I was more focused on my work and my classes, more motivated to read books, write papers, and finish assignments.  What was the difference?  The end was in sight.  I knew that I was only a few classes away from being finished with my degree.  I believed that graduation was coming (after all I had seen others graduate before me after they had finished their courses).  Thus, my belief in the future graduation impacted my whole approach to seminary.  When I first began I often lacked this motivation, but with the end in sight, my perspective changed.  My belief impacted my actions.

Does our belief in the coming judgment of God impact our lives?  Does the knowledge that we have that the only way to be prepared for that day is through faith in Christ lead us to obedience in sharing our faith?  Do we evidence that we believe that our restored relationship with God is the most glorious good news we know?  Brothers and sisters, I plead with you, even as the life of Noah and the other saints pleads with you: be men and women of faith, believing in the promises of God and walking with him by faith expressed through obedience.  Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 February 2006 )

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