Monday, April 30, 2012
Though grace is fundamental to the gospel of the Kingdom; sadly the subject of grace can be a somewhat controversial one among Christians. We have all heard it, “A lack of the preaching of grace keeps people bound by the law,” or more often heard, “Too much preaching of grace gives people a license to sin.” As if we humans need an excuse or license to sin! Seems to me we sin quite easily without a license, but the debate goes on none the less. Adam and other Biblical characters prior to Noah certainly had experienced God’s mercy being poured out upon them; but Noah may have been the first man to “find grace.” Let’s take a look at his story.
The first mention of grace found in the Bible is in Genesis 6:8 where we find the fascinating statement, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” As if this statement of Noah finding grace in God’s eyes isn’t profound enough by itself, if you read the preceding verses it becomes even more amazing. The wickedness of man had gotten so great in the earth that God was regretting that he had created mankind in the first place. He was so grieved in this heart that he said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air: for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Gen 6:7) Yet in the midst of His pain and His plan to destroy all living creatures, God looked across the face of the entire earth and finds one man who is different than all the rest, this one man caused God to do a 180. God had in mind to annihilate all flesh from the earth when God takes notice of Noah looking deep into his eyes, and this simple yet mind boggling statement is recorded, “But Noah.” The scriptures are full of stories of mankind who are lost in there sin, up to their neck in trouble, or bound by their circumstances with no way out, when we read, “But God.” What precedes or follows the “But God” statements are dialogs of how through His love and power God steps into the middle of the impossible and turns it into the possible. But here we find the situation reversed. God is at his wits end from putting up with a rebellious, hateful, and wicked people. We find God’s hand raised ready to destroy them, when suddenly there is a pause in heaven, angels freeze, and all eyes shift toward one man when scripture records, “But Noah.” What was it that so captured God’s heart that it turned His eyes away from the wickedness of the masses and His plans to obliterate them, and instead caused His focus and attention to be solely upon Noah? Selah!
Was Noah somehow completely righteous and holy? Did he live a life of perfection void of all sin? Was his love and goodness so great that he was eclipsed only by God himself? The next verse, Genesis 6:9 give us God’s perspective of Noah, yet I’m afraid if we are not careful here we might jump to a wrong conclusion. “Noah was a just and righteous man, blameless in his [evil] generation: Noah walked [in habitual fellowship] with God.” Amp The King James Version says Noah was, “perfect in his generation.” Noah truly must have been an extraordinary man to be called just, righteous, blameless, and perfect in his generation by God himself. Yet the question we must ask is, “was Noah called this because he was truly a perfect man?”
I believe Noah was not called all these things because he was a man without fault or sin. Noah was proclaimed to be righteous, just and blameless not because he never did anything wrong, but because Noah had “found grace in eyes of the Lord.” The text states that Noah “walked with God.” The Amplified Bible says he walked in “habitual fellowship” with Him. As Noah walked and fellowshipped with God, he came to know God and understand His character; as their relationship grew Noah looked into God’s eyes and found a God of justice. He looked into God’s eyes and found a God of love. On this particular day when Noah looked into God’s eyes, what he found there was grace. “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” How could God continue with his plan to destroy him when this man Noah had “found grace” in his eyes and was clinging to it with all his soul? Grace was always part of God’s character but now that Noah had found it, God’s actions concerning Noah were shifted. So you see, Noah was not righteous and blameless because of his perfect actions, nor was he spared from God’s righteous wrath because he was just in his deeds. Noah was “made” those things by God because he found grace. (1 Cor.1:30) Noah was “declared” righteous and perfect by looking forward to what Jesus would one day accomplish on the cross. Noah, like Abraham, believed and trusted in the character he had seen in God’s eyes, therefore God, “credited it to him as righteousness.” (Gen. 15:6) Noah did not earn God’s grace through good behavior, though I am sure that following his discovery of grace, Noah lived a much more upright life than he had prior to that time because such undeserved favor must be honored. The discovery of grace in God’s eyes not only changed Noah’s life, but led to the saving of his entire family. In fact it saved the entire family of mankind. In the days that followed, the wicked and unbelieving still perished in the flood because of their sin but Noah, his family, and his seed were all saved because of grace. Even today grace is available to all men, but does us no good until we “find” it, until we apply it to our lives. Grace is of no value to us until we by faith accept Jesus’ sacrifice as the “only” payment that will atone for our sin, cover our shame, and take away our guilty conscience. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9) Living a holy lifestyle will not make us just, righteous, or blameless in God’s sight. But once we have been “made” righteous by grace through faith, we should strive to live holy in order to honor such an extraordinary gift.
The subject of grace is very dear to my heart; for I was one of those people who was bound by the law, stifled by guilt and shame, and always trying to be “good” enough to earn a righteousness that Jesus had already paid for and imparted to me. Then one day, like Noah, I “found grace” and my life has never been the same. I have been set free. The discovery of grace will not only change you, but may change your entire family. In fact with God working in you and through you, the grace that God will pour into you has the potential of touching the entire family of mankind.
Note: Once a person understands the magnitude of their sin and the consequences of it, grace will never give him an “excuse” or” license” to sin. Grace, when applied to a repentant sinners’ heart, will instead give his flesh man an “excuse” to live outwardly the righteous and holy life that Jesus has already made his spirit man to be within.
Posted by Gregg