Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Genesis 7:13, 17 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark…Then the LORD shut him in. For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth.
I don’t remember ever being afraid of water. I love to swim. I met my wife while we were both working as lifeguards at a city pool. If there’s water around, I want to be in it or on it.
When I was a boy I was the first one out in the spring getting in trouble with my mom for playing in the water. I play in the water as an adult when I clear the ice from the driveway. I chop away the ice on the street and along the ditch and make channels for the water to flow through, and I get wet.
I love water. I’ve swum in both oceans and 4 of the 5 Great Lakes, including Lake Superior in early June. Only once have I come close to drowning, and although it really scared me, it did not stop me from getting right back into the water. The water was not to blame for what happened – I was. The water was only doing what water does. I was doing what I shouldn’t have been doing. I trust water.
Like water, God can be trusted also, so long as we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. In the days of Noah, mankind was not doing what they were supposed to be doing. All but eight of the people on the earth at the time were living in total rejection of God. They are described this way in Genesis 6 – The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
They had become so self-centered and self-sufficient that they had no thoughts of God and only thoughts of evil all the time. They would not and could not hear the voice of God any longer and refused to believe that God would do anything about it. Their hearts were so hard against God and so focused on sin that God himself concluded that they were beyond hope. How horribly sad that is!
God decided to enforce the consequence of their rebellion. He would destroy them all except for Noah and his family. God chose water as the means of destruction. But that same water that would bury all the sinners in eternal judgment would also lift Noah and his family to safety from the judgment. (The reason I highlighted the word lift is because that is the Hebrew word for forgiveness as we learned in yesterday’s devotional.)
The very process God chose to bring judgment upon the people who were living proudly in their sin is the same process by which God saved those who were living in obedience to Him. While millions were drowning, eight were being lifted high above the destruction. Noah and his family heard the call of God to “come into the ark.” (Gen. 7:1) They made the choice to accept that invitation, and “entered the ark.” (Gen. 7:13) When they did, the power of God took over and “shut them in,” securing their safety from the storm. (Gen. 7:16)
God always judges sin with death. But God has also provided a way for that judgment to become our salvation. God came to the earth in person when Jesus Christ His Son came to live among us. Then, after living a perfect life, God judged the sin of the world with the death of Jesus. Jesus became the water of judgment that will destroy all who do not believe in Him.
Jesus said, Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
The same standard by which the sinner will be condemned has become the standard by which we escape condemnation. Once again Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
When Jesus rose from the dead He became the water of salvation for those who trust Him. Here’s how the Apostle Peter describes it – For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Please note carefully that the water of baptism does not save you, but your trust and faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ saves you. The water of baptism is a symbol of what has happened in your heart when you chose to repent of your sin and be forgiven. You heard the call of Jesus to “Come unto me.” You accepted His invitation by rejecting your sin and accepting Him as your Savior. Then God’s power took over and shut you in permanently, making you His child forever and guaranteeing you eternal life. Hallelujah!
The choice is yours. Water will do what water does. God will do what His Nature requires Him to do. He is pure and holy and just, and He will punish sin with death. The good news is that He has already punished sin with the death of Christ. If we are in Christ then we are free from death and sin forever.
Where do you stand? Are you in Christ seeking to serve Christ, or are you still in the world, seeking to serve self? If you are in Christ, your sins are forgiven, and you are free from judgment. If you are still in the world and have not trusted Christ, your judgment is still coming.
What will you do? Jesus invites you into the ark to be saved.