Monday, October 1, 2012

The Ark of Safety

By faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Hebrews 11:8

The idea of Jesus in a disguise has some humor in it.  But then again, the 2nd Person of the Trinity was in a disguise for 33 years appearing as a mere human.  One more day of concealing His glory while talking to two disciples on the road to Emmaus wouldn't hurt.  Luke 24 records that instance and leaves a challenge that is no laughing matter.  The following verse calls us towards a Christocentric or Christ-centered interpretation of the Old Testament.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Luke 24:27

So today's question is, what can we discover of Christ and the gospel in the story of Noah?

1.  The heart of Christ.  The heart of God is broken over sin (Gen. 6:5-6).  But we cannot imagine this to be a paralyzing disappointment that renders the Almighty an emotional basket-case.  When sin grieves His heart, we can expect the Triune God to do two things:  execute justice against sinners but also give grace to some.  Which leads to our second point--

2.  Grace leads to righteousness.  Some in my Sunday School class had a hard time accepting this biblical truth.  When I asked, "Why was Noah spared over and against others?" they strangely read right past verse 8 and focused on verse 9.  Yes, Noah was a righteous man in his generation, but the grace of the LORD precedes that reality.  By way of parallel, the Christian (on his/her own merit) is no better than the pagan.  But practical holiness is a result of positional holiness-- I am found in Christ by grace, then I am found holy.  It's never been the other way around- Old and New Testament saints all have the same testimony.

3.  True faith leads to works.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that Noah built the Ark by faith.  So, let's put it together: Noah receives grace, he then believes God, Who commanded him to build an ark.  It sounds like a LOT Ephesians 2:8-10.  Once again, New Testament doctrine sheds light on Old Testament stories.  Also, while we always distinguish between works as the fruit and faith as the root, we know that the whole plant itself is meant to be one indivisible life.

4.  God's salvation is perfect.  The specification of the Ark have been a matter of intense scrutiny and curiosity for centuries.  How could four men build such a vessel?  Could any such construction truly be sea worthy?  But we respond simply: if God supplies what He commands, then they most certainly could build it.  And if they built it to God's satisfaction, it is secure for its purpose.  The Ark, while keeping all those inside of it safe, had to endure the elements which represented and carried out the awesome judgement of God.  Isn't that what Christ does for those of us "in Him"?

5.  New world, new covenant, new covenant sign.  Quite literally, Noah and his family stepped off of the Ark into a new world.  Nothing was the same before the rains.  God established a covenant of peace and the rainbow became the sign of the covenant's confirmation and God's promise.  Similarly, the gospel announcement points to the peace between God and man that Christ purchased on the Cross.  The new covenant sign of communion commands us to proclaim His death now, in memory of the past, and in anticipation of His future return.  And for sure, He will make all things new.

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