Sermon: Noah Walked With God (Genesis 6:9–7:24)
Is God a God of judgment, or a God of salvation? In one way or another, that question will inform the way that we understand not only God, but also the way that we relate to God as his people. If we believe that God is purely a God of judgment (whether we believe this consciously or unconsciously), we will imagine that God is constantly hiding behind the next corner, spying on us to figure out new reasons to punish us. But, if we believe that God is purely a God of salvation (again, whether consciously or unconsciously), then we will imagine that he is in some way obligated to save his people, and we will find ourselves frustrated to understand why God so often fails to do so.
In fact, the Scriptures testify to a God who would reject the premises of that question. Rather than thinking that God must be one or the other, a vengeful god or a kindly god, the Scriptures testify that God’s is not defined by anything other than himself. Furthermore, the Scriptures testify that God not only judges and saves, but that judgment and salvation necessarily hang together. If God’s people do not need saved from anything, then it is misleading to call God’s grace towards his people “salvation.” But because God’s people desperately need deliverance from the wrath to come, then we look to God to save us from his own judgment. God both judges and saves, so we look to him in faith to save us by repenting from the sin that he swears to judge.
This reality is nowhere so clear as in the story of the Flood in Genesis 6:9–7:24. Here, we see God judging the world its the total corruption (Gen. 6:5, 11–12) through a Flood that destroys everything on the earth. But in this, we also see God working to save a remnant of his creation, including Noah and his family, but also every kind of bird, animal, and creeping thing in order to repopulate the world after the world’s destruction. The salvation of God’s remnant comes through the judgment of the Flood, not apart from it. In this story, we see God for who he truly is: God is neither a God of judgment, nor a God of salvation, but a righteous God who judges the wicked and delights to save the righteous.