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Promise: The Power of Faith

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Man’s Wickedness

The story of Adam and Eve’s offspring take an even more troubling turn in . ends with the promised child, Seth, being born, chapter 5 relates the generations of Seth’s children, these children of promise that will one day bring about the victory over sin. But like in chapter 4, chapter 6 begins with God’s plan apparently being thwarted by man’s sin.
The world of Chapter 6:1-8 is a world of overwhelming evil.
R. Kent Hughes notes:
“Pre-flood culture had undergone a thorough demonization. Fallen angels (demons) had taken over the souls and bodies of men and through marriage had produced Nephilim (fallen ones) who became the violent ‘mighty men who were of old, men of renown’ (6:4). Marriage had been demonized, and violence was idolized. Sexual violence was de jure. “ (1) Now, while there is come debate as to who the “sons of God” were, it’s clear that what the writer of Genesis is focusing on is not who is committing sin, but the fact that sin has overwhelmed even God’s chosen line - the line of Seth.
Pre-flood culture had undergone a thorough demonization. Fallen angels (demons) had taken over the souls and bodies of men and through marriage had produced Nephilim (fallen ones) who became the violent “mighty men who were of old, men of renown” (6:4). Marriage had been demonized, and violence was idolized. Sexual violence was de jure.
At this point, just as in , the question is asked, “What can we do? Who will save us?” If God’s chosen people, Seth’s line, is corrupt, where will our help come from.
Our natural inclination is to look to ourselves for our salvation, to look to our ability to save ourselves to pull ourselves out of whatever place we find ourselves in, but in this passage, it’s clear that we cannot save ourselves.

God’s Judgment

God’s Judgment

When God sees the sin of man, we find his judgment of our condition.
Genesis 6:5 ESV
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Genesis 6:12 ESV
And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
Notice this: It’s not just the things they did. God’s judgment is based on their hearts and not just their actions.
The problem isn’t just what we do, it’s that at our core, sin infects us. We’re not just people who sin, we are sinners.
As Tim Keller notes:
"Sin infects us all, and so we cannot simply divide the world into the heroes and the villains."
The problem is in us. It was in the people in Noah’s day, and God’s judgement was that because of sin, drastic measures had to be taken. Why though? The question can be asked, why did God destroy the world when he knew that sin would just come back?
The issue is us.

Noah’s Faith

The natural solution to the issue of our sinfulness is faith. It was Noah’s faith in God, his obedience that led to man’s salvation.

RELATIONAL Faith (v. 6:13)

Notice that God speaks to Noah and Noah listens to God's voice. The first thing about Noah is that we see his incredible faith life that doesn't begin with God's call to make the Ark, but begins earlier. This is implied by the ease with which Noah speaks to and hears from God. Noah was a man who had a relationship with God. He knew God, he knew his voice. How? Well, Noah had a prayer life, and was devoted to speaking to and listening to God. Continuing the tradition of his ancestor, Noah called upon the name of the Lord. Noah's faith was a listening faith.

RESPONSIVE Faith (v. 6:22)

Not only does Noah hear, but he responds. Notice our text, "Noah did as God commanded him." There's no bargaining, no questioning, no arguing, there's only submission and responsiveness to God's call.

RIGHTEOUS Faith (v. 7:1)

Noah's faith was a lifechanging faith. Notice what God says to Noah, "I have seen that you are righteous before me..." Noah's faith wasn't a faith that remained in the "pews", it was a faith that changed him, that set him apart from those around him. Often we can be guilty of not wanting to be "too righteous" for fear that we will be labeled self-righteous, but God's desire is to make us holy. True faith, saving faith changes us. Martin Luther said it this way,
“We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.”

REVOLUTIONARY Faith (v. 7:1)

Not only was Noah's faith life-changing, but it was also revolutionary. Only Noah was found righteous "in this generation." Noah's brother's and sister's weren't found righteous. Noah's neighbors weren't found righteous. Even his own father, Lamech, who was destroyed in the flood in 777th year was not found righteous. Noah alone was found righteous. Noah didn't care what everyone else did. He didn't care what he family did. All he cared about was God and his relationship with him. Can you imagine the ridicule Noah must have faced? For 100 years, he toiled cutting down trees and transporting them to the worksite, planing them into boards suitable to use, drilling holes with a hand made awl, remember he had to build his own tools, nailing wooden pegs into the holes. Every day, he had to suffer the ridicule of his neighbors, of his own family, as they saw him toil at his insane task.

God’s Response - The COVENANT

God always responds to our sin with relationship and covenant. In this covenant, known as the Noahic covenant, God gave Noah a challenge, a changed relationship, and a promise for the future.

God’s Grace in the Face of Man’s Sin

Here we find God’s grace on display, but not only do we find it in the ark and God preserving mankind through Noah and his sons, but also in God’s willingness, despite man’s repeated sin, to forgive us.
Genesis 9:20–27 ESV
Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.”
Genesis 9:20-2
Why is this story included in the text? It’s because the purpose of these stories is to teach one truth: Man cannot and will not be able to save himself. No matter what opportunities God presents to him for salvation, man fails. Man falls short. Man is doomed apart from God’s action. God must act, for all our actions fall short.
1) R. Kent Hughes, Genesis: Beginning and Blessing, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), 131.
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