God's Everlasting Covenant                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                  Author: Charles King, Dmin.
Chapter 4 - God's Grace

God's Grace ...

Noah found grace in the eyes of God

At creation God initiated a covenant with all mankind. God's Eternal covenant even includes those who do not believe in God. God's Covenant relationship defines for us "Who God is" and "What God expects of man". This covenant relationship is dictated by God and not negotiated.

God refers to His covenant as an everlasting covenant as He tells Noah that He will always remember His promises that He has made after the flood. Through this everlasting covenant God reveals Himself and His redemptive plan in a gradual (progressive) way.

The Bible tells us in a number of places how important "Moses and the Prophets" are for our understanding of Who Jesus is and His purposes for mankind. This mystery of Christ, the Christian, and the Church is progressively revealed through God's Covenant relationship. In Luke chapter twenty-four Jesus Himself states that the Jewish people should have known that the Messiah was to have been crucified because this was revealed in Moses and the Prophets.

In the parable known as the rich man and Lazarus Jesus says that if a person does not believe Moses and the Prophets they will not believe if someone were to rise from the dead. In the above situations Jesus is reminding us that He has revealed Himself and His Kingdom requirements through His covenant revelations.

The words covenant and testament have the same basic meaning. In general the whole Bible is considered God's covenant. However, there is a simpler view of God's covenant relationship, which is the focus of this study. We might view the sum of God's progressive revealed covenant requirements as His eternal covenant. God's everlasting covenant defines how we are to live in fellowship with Him. God's covenant revelation is to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Jesus is the lamp, and the light unto the world. The study of His covenant revelations will illuminate our minds.

God has an all-powerful, all-presence, all-knowing, impartial, and unchanging nature. These attributes lay the foundation of His sovereignty and His approach in dealing with man. Adam broke God's first covenant revelation. His act of disobedience is known as the fall. Then God revealed more through His second covenant revelation when He promised that a SEED of Eve would someday crush the head of Satan.

The gift of a coat of skins by God to Adam and Eve represented the first known sacrifice. It was required because of man's sin. Quickly the Bible develops the requirement of a blood sacrifice as a substitute to pay the sin debt of life that is required for disobedience. This concept is further revealed when Abel brings a blood sacrifice that was accepted and Cain brings a non-blood sacrifice that was rejected. God tells Cain that he knew what was expected, a blood sacrifice .

The Bible states that blood must be shed (life is in the blood) in response to God's commandment to Adam stated if he disobeyed (eat of tree of knowledge) death would come. God had told Adam and Eve and still tells us today that the wages of sin is death. This is nothing more than a different way of looking at God's commandment to Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and if they did they would surely die. In other words, disobedience to God's covenant brings death.

Adam and Eve found grace in the eyes of God in the Garden of Eden, which is demonstrated by the promised Seed and coats of skin. However the term was not used. The first statement about grace is when the Bible says Noah had found grace in eyes of God because of His righteousness (obedience).

Let us look a little closer at (1) God's Grace, (2) God's Judgement (Wrath), and (3) Our Worship.

God's Grace

Why did Noah find grace in God's eyes? In the book of Hebrews the Bible says it was by his faith. The Bible says that after God warned Noah about the flood, Noah believed (trusted and obeyed) God and built an ark. It was by faith Noah was declared righteous in God's sight. When God spoke Noah obeyed! This is a picture of faith. In Hebrews God says we cannot please Him without faith. In order to come to God a person must believe that God is, and that God rewards those that diligently seek him.

The Bible consistently shows that true faith involves obedience, by faith Noah obeyed. While Noah was building the ark, the Bible says he was preaching of the coming judgment, yet he did not have one convert. God was offering grace but man must accept it. The Bible says that Noah condemned others by his obedience.

In this story of Noah and his family we see that he was a righteous man. The Bible goes on to show that he was the only righteous man living on earth at the time. The Word of God shows us that he consistently followed God's will and enjoyed a close relationship with Him. In the book of Genesis we find that God twice states that Noah did everything that God commanded him."

In Isaiah we find the key to how we can be viewed with favor as Noah was by God. The type of person that God views with favor has a humble, a contrite spirit, and trembles at God's every word. Jesus in His parable of the Pharisee and Publican shows us that the publican had such a heart we he cried out asking the Lord for mercy on him a sinner. The Bible says that the publican found favor with God and went home justified.

This same thing happened to us when we by faith believe God's promise of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. The Bible states that a person is saved by grace through faith and not by any good works that they could do. True faith is not passive. James says faith without works is dead. A dead fish can float down stream, but it takes a live active fish to swim upstream. The same holds true for a person with a live faith. He produces good works.

As James says a dead faith produces no good works. Like Noah, a saved person does good works. The Bible says Noah was a righteous man. He was blameless. He obeyed God's commands. Noah had an active faith. One that swam upstream, going against the tide of peer pressure by building the ark. Noah did not conform to the world but was transformed by his obedience to the Word of God. Because of his faith the Lord said for Noah to come with his family into the ark.

This is the first time God tells man to come into a place of protection and provision. Noah was given the opportunity to choose life or death. Noah chose life. The Bible is full of God's offer of life or death. The Bible says God desires none to be lost, yet He allows man the freedom to choose. Jerusalem was offered life, Jesus said that He would have gathered them as chicks, but they would not. Jerusalem chose death.

The last time God calls man is in the book of Revelation where He says come take of the water of life freely. When God called Peter, James and John they left their nets and followed Him. They left everything to follow Jesus. The same was true when He called Mathew. Mathew got up from the tax table and followed Jesus. Have you experienced the call of God? What was your response? Are we willing to leave everything for Him?

God's Judgment (Wrath)

The Bible says that that after Noah and his family went into the ark as God had commanded them: the LORD shut them in. By Noah's faith he condemned the rest of the world while being made right in God's sight. A New Testament equivalent statement would be found in John where Jesus says he that has faith in Jesus is not condemned but he that does not have faith is condemned already.

The book of Revelation speaks of this ultimate end of time condemnation where all that are condemned will be thrown into the lake of fire. The Bible contains a number of different warnings to us of God's judgement. God says to them in Isaiah that He will cause them to fall by the sword, to the executioner, because when He called, they did not answer. When He spoke, they did not listen. He tells them that they deliberately sinned before His eyes and they chose to do what they knew He despised.

God shut the door behind Noah, so that the ungodly could not enter. We find a New Testament equivalent when Jesus says in the parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, to the five who were not ready for the Bridegroom's arrival when they returned from looking for oil that they could not enter wedding feast because the door was closed. We must be prepared for His coming, there will not be a second chance.

Jesus when answering his disciples' question about when would He return states that GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth. That every thought of the mind and heart was evil. He goes on to say as it was in the day of Noah would it be at the time of His return. This is the situation today. Wickedness of man is great upon the earth! We all have sinned and all of us deserve death. Then why has He not come? The Bible tells us that ten thousands years is but a day to the Lord and that He is delaying His coming because He does not wish any to be lost."

Man's Worship (of God)

When Noah exited the ark after the flood, he built an altar, and took of the clean animals for a burnt offering to the Lord on the altar.This was an act of worship. When one sees God they bow down and worship. Noah was recognizing and giving thanks to God. He also was like Abel being obedient to the testimony of God that was left in man. This was the sacrificial system that God had established through Adam and Eve when God gave them the coat of skins in the Garden of Eden.

God told Noah that He never again would destroy the earth by a flood and gave the rainbow to remind men of this promise. Just as Noah worshiped God for saving him and his family in the ark, we are to worship because we have been saved in the true ark, which is Jesus Christ.

God then gave Noah the command to multiply and fill the earth. This Biblical account of how Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord should encourage us to do likewise. Not only are we to imitate Noah in his faith, we are also to imitate him in worshiping God and giving thanks for his salvation. We are to worship Him with joy as we anticipate and enjoy His promises, provision, protection and presence. This is man's purpose. All the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord and all creation will sing that He is worthy to receive glory and honor and power. For He created all things and they were created for his pleasure.

Another place Scripture states that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. This praise is sweet savor to the Lord!

Come and Worship

In the book of Revelation the Bible states that the Spirit and the bride say come. Also all that hear should say come and let him that is thirsty say, come. Whoever will take of the water of life freely. In another place the scriptures Jesus says for those to come unto Him that are heavy laden, and He will give rest.

In Luke Jesus quotes verbatim from Isaiah when He states, that the Spirit of the LORD is upon Him, and that the LORD has appointed Him to bring good news to the poor, to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives and set the prisoners free. He Goes on to say that the Lord has sent Him to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD's favor has come. Now is the time of the Lord's favor, COME , the door to the ark is open God wishes none to be lost, however His patience comes to an end and then judgement. We see this many times in Scripture. In the passage above in Luke is taken from Isaiah. In Isaiah, after the coma, it ends with, the day of vengeance of the Lord!

Are we ready for the day of vengeance? Jesus tells a number of parables Himself of how you and I are to be watching, waiting, and working until He comes. One of these, the Parable of the Bridesmaids states that while the ones who were not ready for His return went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Just as God shut the door behind Noah and He left the rest out to be condemned by the flood, the same will be true when the Bridegroom comes. Those who are not ready for His coming will be shut out. Not only will they be shut out from the wedding feast They will be thrown into the lake of fire.

In this Biblical account of Noah we see that God lays before man a blessing or a curse. All of creation is covered by His covenant relationship. We must choose. What is your Choice, life or death? God says that those who believe in Jesus are not condemned but those who reject Him are condemned already.


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