Last week we saw the beautiful picture of salvation woven into the very names of the generations from Adam to Noah. God’s sovereign plan to sanctify His saints was set in motion even before the first person ever set foot on earth.
Today I’d like to look at the gospel found in the account of the Great Flood. You might ask: the whole world was flooded and all but eight people survived God’s wrath… where’s the gospel in that? Let’s take a look!
The historical record of the Flood is found in Genesis 6-8. It is exceptionally detailed, outlining even the exact days specific events occurred during that event. Leading up to this we read in Genesis 6:11-12, Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.”
The entire earth was overflowing with sin. Everyone was corrupt and wickedness was completely out of control. Noah was the only person on earth found to be righteous in God’s sight, even after he preached righteousness for 120 years (imagine how wearisome that must have been for him!) (Gen 7:1, 2 Peter 2:5), so the Lord needed to take drastic action to save humanity.
For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. Genesis 6:17-20
Here again we see what sin reaps – death, just as God promised Adam in the Garden 1,600 years earlier. And we also see the fruit of being committed to God – life! It’s also important to recognize that Noah did not make the covenant with God. Just like the covering Adam and Eve received, this was fully initiated by God Himself but required Noah to submit to it.
And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in. Genesis 7:16
Once Noah had completed the ark, God brought the animals to him and shut the door, sealing His promise to Noah. We see God’s divine hand and literal covering (just like He covered Adam and Eve) in the salvation of His servant, Noah. The Bible often uses the word “sealed” to indicate God’s ownership of and protection over true believers (Eph 1:13, 2 Cor 1:22, 2 Tim 2:19) so it is in the same nature here that God sealed Noah and his family in this covenant.
At least four shadows of the Christian gospel are found in the account of the Great Flood:
- God calls sinners to repent. Noah preached repentance and righteousness for over a century before the flood came. God is patient with sinners and gives ample opportunity for the wicked to turn from their ways (Gen 6:3, 2 Peter 2:5, 2 Peter 3:9).
- God rightly punishes sin. True justice requires the punishment of injustice, and likewise as God is fully just and righteous He cannot let unrighteousness go without penalty (Psalm 145:17, Prov 11:21, Rom 6:23, Gal 6:7, 2 Cor 5:10).
- There is only one way to salvation: God’s way, which He provides. No other means to be saved was provided to Noah, and similarly there is only one way to be saved from eternal fire, and that is through Christ (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).
- We are called to live a righteous life even when everyone else does not. We cannot be conformed to or rooted in this world. We must stand firm in our faith even while the entire world rebels (Rom 12:2, 1 John 2:15).
Next week we’ll continue to look at the gospel through the lens of the Old Testament, examining the story of Abraham and Issac, and how God used this father and son to paint a graphic picture of what He would do through Christ two millennium later.