Only God Can Rescue: What Does God Promise?

This past Sunday, Pipeline.Church heard the story of Noah told and explained by Pipeline.Church partner, Scott Haagensen.

Take a minute to read the story here.

 Here's a little bit from what he shared:

God's justice will prevail. 

In Genesis chapter six, it says:

"The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth and He saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. The Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke His heart but Noah found favor with the Lord. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time and he walked in close fellowship with God. God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. God observed all this corruption in the world for everyone on the earth was corrupt. God said to Noah, 'I'm going to put an end to all people for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both of them and the Earth.'"

Now, I've had a huge problem with this for a long time.

You mean we're right here at the beginning of Scripture, as I pointed out before, and God's going to destroy everything? The words that stand out here are obviously, violence and corruption. We see violence today everywhere. I just picked up the news: Thursday, there was a shooting in Fresno. Tulare County reported a drive-by shooting in Tulare on Monday.

Violence is everywhere.

Corruption, you can see corruption anywhere. Shady businessmen, dishonest politicians, unfaithful spouses, teenage shoplifters, people who cheat on their taxes. Even Netflix is clamping down, those of you who know about that. The streaming services are saying you can't share your account information because people are cheating.

It's all about ethics and integrity and our world is short of that. Well, that's easy to pick out, but the thing that really jumps out at me is it says everyone was wicked. Everything that they thought was totally evil. It doesn't leave any room for, "Ah, maybe..."

Everything was totally evil.

It was filled with violence. Filled indicates there's no room for anything else. Who was corrupt?


God's in a tough spot. He's sorry he had ever made humans. He regretted making human beings, and his heart was deeply troubled.

God is disturbed because the people he created have become completely filled with wickedness and evil. There's no repenting, there's no faithfulness, there's no accountability, so the divine accountant has to settle the books himself. His balance is to wipe out just about everyone and everything.

God is sad. God's justice will prevail. 

He can't have evil on the books. People are warned of the consequences of sin throughout history. In order to fix the imbalance, he calls for repentance.

Even in judgment, God demonstrates grace.

The Bible says that Noah is righteous and blameless. It doesn't say he's sinless, but it says that he's faithful. One version says he walked in close fellowship with God, and God found favor in Noah, and He chose to spare Noah and his family.

Even in judgment, God demonstrates grace. Judgment by God is inevitable.

Now, we all make mistakes.

 If we actually look at Romans 6:23, it says that, "The wages of sin is death." That's the accounting for sin.

The price for sin is that eternal separation from God. The rest of that verse says that, "The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ."

Grace is a free gift. 

Did Noah earn the right to be saved? No, he was a sinner. Faithfulness helped him find favor, but the decision by God to save him is a free gift from God.

Now in Romans 3:23 it says, "For everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God's glory and standard. Yet God in His grace freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty of our sins." 

Everyone has sinned. No one is blameless. There's no escaping the punishment for sin. God's nature requires Him to judge an account, but He provides an avenue of salvation through grace

God provides opportunities for obedience.

Moving on, Noah did everything that God commanded him to do. In fact, it says it twice in the Flood narrative that Noah did everything that God commanded.

If we look at Hebrews 11, reflecting back on Noah, it says, "It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about the things that had never happened before. By his faith, Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith."

God provides opportunities for obedience.

"Hey, Noah, go out in the middle of the desert and build a giant boat." Scripture shows no rain before this time. Whether there was or not, I don't know. The point is, is that Noah obeyed regarding things that had never happened.

God says, "There's going to be a giant flood. Everything's going to be destroyed," and Noah obeyed. Did he ask for a sign? Did he ask for proof? Did he ask his neighbors? Did he ask his wife? Did he ask his kids? No. He simply obeyed because of faith.

God makes a covenant and He does not break it.

Once they were out of the ark and onto dry land, God says this in Genesis nine, or the Bible says, "Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, 'Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power.'"

This is the same blessing given to Adam and Eve. To them, He says, "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and rule over it."

God's plan leads to a new creation.

The sin of Adam and Eve led to the destruction of all mankind. Noah becomes somewhat of a new Adam. As he emerges from the ark, he has that same task and that same blessing that God gave to Adam and Eve.

God has chosen Noah to restore the goodness of His creation. Noah becomes the example of the kind of leader that we are waiting for. The righteous and the blameless one who lives among the corruption and among the violence and among the wickedness and then enters the waters of death and comes out on the other side into a new creation and ushers in a new covenant of peace and life.

Everything that God put into motion points in the direction of a new creation, a new heaven, and a new earth awaits those who are faithful.

Speaking of covenant, Genesis nine also says, "I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and all the earth. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life." 

When I see the rainbow in the clouds I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth. God promises through his covenant. God makes a covenant and He does not break it.

The new covenant

If we fast forward past the covenants of Abraham and the covenants of Moses and the Covenant to David we get to the covenant that is the new covenant which is Jesus.

At the Last Supper, he took the cup and he said, "This cup is the new covenant between God and his people. An agreement confirmed with my blood which is poured out as a sacrifice for you." 

The new covenant brings about the fulfillment of God's promise to provide a way for there to be that accounting for sin that the books can be balanced.

The sacrifice of Jesus paid the price once and for all for the sins of mankind. This promise rests now in the hands of each individual... do you accept the new covenant and receive the promise of that eternal inheritance, or do you gamble that you can balance the ledgers and pay for that price on your own?

Because ultimately God rescues when no one else can.
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