In the middle of the complete and total corruption of the antediluvian world, one man stands out.
During the days of Noah, all mankind followed their own debased lifestyles, intent on fulfilling their every lust and desire, but Noah was known as a man who “walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9)
If we want to lessen our chances of being caught up in the coming destruction, we need to study a couple aspects of Noah’s life. These qualities tend to get glossed over because they don’t quite fit into our Christian paradigm, but I want to address them here.
Grace in the Old Testament
The very idea of “grace” in the Old Testament is a dispensationalists nightmare. It completely flies in the face of their nice little division between the law-filled Old Testament with the grace-filled New Testament.
And yet here it is in all it’s glory.
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Why did Noah find grace in the eyes of God?
Did God just come around and randomly say, “Noah, I pick you to shed my grace upon?”
No He did not.
There was a REASON why Noah had God’s eye, and it was because he had separated himself from the ways of man and walked with God (and yes, he was pure in his lineage as well).
The topic of merited grace is anathema to mainstream christianity because of the misuse of scriptures like Romans 5:15 and John 1:17, plus the simple fact that people are too indoctrinated into a certain mindset to look at scripture through an unadulterated lens.
Regardless, it’s all over the bible, you just have to be willing to read the Word for what it says and most people simply cannot do that.
I understand that those are bold claims and, one day, I may teach on this topic, but I cannot do so in this post. I will, however, recommend the best video series I’ve ever watched on the topic.
In “The Search for the Doctrine of Grace,” Steve Berkson takes you from Genesis to Revelation in an in-depth study. If you want to do the extra study (as I’m sure you do), grab your bible, a notebook and a cup of coffee and feast on this 14-part teaching! (Link)
Let’s get back to Noah.
Noah did not “discover” grace
Because many of us read our own understanding into scripture, and because the translators saw fit to use the word “found” in this passage, we could be led to believe that it was Noah who found this grace. Like he was wandering around and just stumbled upon God’s grace.
Noah didn’t “find” or “discover” God’s grace, but rather “attained” it. Because he was pure in his lineage and because he was a righteous man (we’ll get to that in the next post), Noah merited grace in the eyes of God.
The True Definition of Grace
It’s at this point that we need to ask ourselves … What does “grace” mean? (Hint: It’s not mercy)
When asked this question, the typical pentecostal/charismatic will answer is “unmerited favor” or “divine enablement.” These are wrong definitions foisted upon us by pastors and teachers parroting the errors they learned at cemetery (seminary).
While “grace” does mean “favor,” it is debatable whether or not it is “unmerited” (again, watch the video series). This “favor” may cause you to be “divinely enabled” at times, but “enablement” is not the very definition of grace.
Does that twist your brain a little? That’s understandable … because we’ve had a false idea of “grace” pounded into our heads since the day we walked the aisle and said the sinner’s prayer (and don’t get me started on that).
The Purpose of Grace
Although the core definition of “grace” has been obscured, scripture is very precise as to what grace should teach us.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless [anomia -G458] deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
So we can see from this passage that grace teaches us something. What does grace teach us?
- Deny ungodliness – reject anything that teaches you to be unlike God or any teaching that tells you not to take on His Ways (Psalm 103:7)
- Deny worldly lusts – reject anything that teaches you to conform to this world (our modern rock concerts, I mean “worship services,” come to mind)
- Live soberly – you hear that prophetic movement?
- Righteously – wait for it, we’ll discuss it in the next post
- and Godly – we’re supposed to live in God’s Ways (Psalm 103:7)
- Look for His appearing
- Respect His Sacrifice by purifying yourself and avoiding lawlessness
If you hear a sermon on grace, and are not learning the points that I outlined above, guess what? It’s not grace!
Because Noah attained this grace from God, he was taught these concepts from the grace he attained.
This will tie in with the second distinct quality that set Noah apart … righteousness … stay tuned!