Results of Noah's Faith
(The following text is taken from a sermon preached by Gil Rugh in 1978.)
In verse 7, the writer gives three results of the faith of Noah. He says, "By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." The first result of Noah' s faith was that he "...prepared an ark...' This act involved tremendous faith on behalf of Noah. Why? Because God "warned" him, or gave him revelation, concerning coming judgment. You may say, "Well, that would take some faith, but that does not seem any different than any other example of faith that I have heard." The difference is that God warned Noah about things "not yet seen." It takes mind boggling faith to believe God concerning something that has not yet happened, and has never happened before.
In Noah's day, the earth had become so saturated by sin and wickedness that God resolved to destroy the human race (Genesis 6:3-7). Noah, because of his faith, was the only person on earth who found favor with the Lord (Genesis 6:8). God revealed to Noah His plan to destroy man with a flood (Genesis 6:17). Obviously, this type of catastrophe had never occurred on the earth before this time. In fact, Noah had never even seen a flood, or rain before (Genesis 2:5). When one understands these facts, it becomes clear how difficult it would be to have the faith necessary to believe God. But Noah does believe God. As Hebrews 11:7 says, he built the ark in "reverence." This word means to "fear" or have "respect." Because Noah feared and respected God, he built the ark as God told him to do. This is a key ingredient to our faith. We cannot say we fear and respect God, and then disobey Him.
What happened when Noah obeyed God in faith? The result was that he was rewarded. When Noah built the ark, "salvation" was brought to his family (wife, three sons, three daughters-in law), and they escaped the coming judgment. It is important that we recognize the impact of our faith upon our families. When we, as parents, husbands and wives, fail to take God's revelation seriously, that attitude rubs off on the other members of our family. After all, what does it say about our own salvation if the winner of the football game is more important that the eternal destination of our children?
You may say, 'OK, so Noah built a ship. How hard could it have been. If God told me to build a boat, I would just build it, and stick it behind my house. No problem." In Genesis 6:14-16, God gave Noah the material and the dimensions that he was to use in building the ark. According to these instructions the ark was made out of gopher wood, rectangular in shape, and was approximately 438 feet long, 73 feet wide, and 44 feet deep, with 3 decks. In all the ark had 95,700 square feet of deck area, and 1,396,000 total cubic feet.* As one can see, it would have been pretty hard for Noah to build this ship and hide it behind his house to avoid persecution. He knew he would be persecuted for building the ark. Remember, there had never been rain on the earth before this time. I am sure Noah seemed crazy to the people around him who watched him build a gigantic water vessel to prepare for the coming flood.
(* equals 522 railroad box cars, based on 171/2 inches per cubit.)
Not only that, but Noah was also commanded to bring two of every living thing (Genesis 6:19) into the ark with him. Many people say, "That is impossible. There is no way that Noah could have brought two of every animal onto the ark. He probable did not do that. What he did do was bring two of every species of animal. In other words, he brought two dogs, two cats, two cows...etc, instead of two poodles, two Doberman pincers, two Collies...etc. The space needed today to provide for two of every species on earth would equal 150 box cars. Since Noah had the space of 522 box cars, it is obvious that he had more than enough room for his family, the animals, and the food they would need as well. The point is, it could be done, and it was done by Noah through faith in God.
The second result of Noah's faith was that he "condemned the world." The very fact that Noah was a man of faith who proclaimed the righteousness of God in an ungodly world (2 Peter 2:5) and obeyed His commandments, condemned those who refused to believe.
The third result of Noah's faith was that he became "an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." Noah did not become righteous because he built the ark. He built the ark because he was righteous. We have already seen that he was the only person on earth who had found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:9). Again, we see the truth that it is not our actions that bring our salvation. It is faith in God alone that brings eternal salvation and righteousness, and it is only true faith that will manifest itself in obedience to God. It is only through faith that we can obtain the righteousness of God. Today, when we believe that Christ died for our sins on the cross, we are given eternal salvation and the righteousness of God.
Even in this age, just as in the days of Noah, the earth and mankind wait to be destroyed by the judgment of God (2 Peter 3:3-7). The first judgment was by water, the next will be by fire. Why has the Lord not come yet? Because "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wanting for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). Is in not amazing what people say? Often people say, "God would never judge the world so harshly. He is a God of love. Besides, Christ has had a long time to come back, and He still is not here.' They overlook the fact that our Lord is delaying His coming so that all may have an opportunity to receive eternal salvation.
If God had intervened last week, where would you have gone? Would you have been counted among those who had true, saving faith and entered into an eternal relationship with God in heaven? Or would you have been counted among those who, like those in Noah' s day, rejected the revelation of God, bringing upon themselves the judgment they deserved in a fiery, eternal hell?
If you are a believer, then you are compelled to live your life in light of the fact that God may come tomorrow. If you are an unbeliever, the day of salvation is today. If you will only believe that you are a sinner, Christ came to earth to die for your sins, and trust Him as your Lord and Savior, He will forgive you, and you will become an eternal child of God. Please, do not wait a second longer to escape the judgment of a righteous and holy God.
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