genesis 7: faith

It was in Noah’s 600th year, in the 2nd month, on the 17th day. God knows precisely when He began the flooding of the earth in order to eradicate the wickedness that permeated it. It was the exact same day that He saved the one speck of righteousness that existed on the earth – Noah. Interestingly, it never states that Noah’s sons, wife, or daughters-in-law were righteous. It only tells us that Noah found favor, Noah walked with God, Noah was righteous. Yet his entire family was saved from the flood. Reminds me of this:

“They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” – Acts 16:31

{Maybe today you needed to hear that God likes to save whole families. Maybe you needed to hear that God’s timing is precise. Maybe you needed encouragement to continue to pray, continue to believe God for your family.}

But that’s not all that caught my eye in this chapter.

Noah did all that God commanded. All. Not most. Not some. All. But these were not just obedient actions. Listen to Hebrews 11:7:

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.

Noah’s obedience came through faith. He believed God would do what He said He would do. He most likely did not understand exactly what that would look like, but He believed it would happen. He trusted God to keep His Word.

People with a religious spirit will often follow the rules out of trust in the rules, not the rule giver. Rules provide order and some measure of control and even superiority to the one who religiously follows them, but the people who follow the rules apart from faith are not the ones who are commended in scripture.

Rules are necessary, and obedience is good. But God will always want to take us below the surface of our obedience so we can discover why we are obeying, and where faith comes into it. For instance, the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:

“And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”

The man kept the commands until his obedience required Him to trust God by giving away what he actually trusted. His money. His obedience to the commandments came from his own ability to follow rules. But as in all things, God is looking for faith. From the beginning to the end, it will always be about faith. We enter salvation through faith, not obedience to rules. We can obey every rule written in the scriptures, every commandment given by God – (which we can’t, but for argument’s sake, let’s say we could) but if we do not obey the gospel, we will still be lost, and the gospel is obeyed solely by faith.

By faith, we all have to give up what we’ve been trusting in, and trust God alone.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God…” – Hebrews 11:6

No matter how many rules we follow.

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