How grieved God was in the days of Noah when he saw men had departed from His ways. We read, “And God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (Gen. 6:5-6)Two words stand out in the account of Noah and the flood – the words ‘grieved’ and ‘grace’.
God was GRIEVED as he beheld man’s sin- his disobedience, and on account of this he sent the flood as divine judgment upon the earth.
But we read, Noah found GRACE in the eyes of the Lord. For Noah was ‘perfect’ in his generation. (Gen. 6:8-9)
If anyone of us is saved it is by grace. As the Scripture says, ‘By grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast!” (Eph. 2:8-9)
Beloved, it’s the grace of God – the same grace that came to Noah that leads us to live so as to be ready for Christ’s appearing!
For in Titus we read, The grace of God which bringeth salvation teaches us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Tit. 2:11-14)
Some say they can’t live for God as long as they have this body – this flesh which gets them into so much trouble. They long to be delivered, waiting for their glorified bodies in the next world. But this verse suggests that we are to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.
When we suggest that we turn from hurtful lusts and harmful practices which might endanger one’s chance. of being ready for Christ’s Return some write in to suggest we’re preaching ‘works for salvation’ when in reality we are preaching ‘GRACE’.
The Bible says, “The grace of God which bringeth salvation”…(that’s the only kind I believe in preaching – the kind that brings salvation!) The Bible speaks of those in the last days who will turn the grace of God into lascivioushess (loose living) and that’s the kind I don’t believe in – that lets you live as you please and overlooks sin! For Paul writes, “Shall we sin that grace may abound?” He replies, GOD FORBID!
Ah, no, the grace of God which bringeth salvation teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust!
God doesn’t want you to continue to yield to the lusts of the flesh. You don’t have to reach out for that glass of wine, or light up that cigarette, or look with lust upon that woman.
You say, What’s that got to do with salvation? The answer is – a whole lot! For when a person is converted he’s changed, a new creature, with old things passing away and all things becoming new.
But you say, I thought it’s just a matter of believing. Aren’t we saved ‘by grace’?
But get a glimpse of GRACE. See the Lord Jesus dying on the cross for you. He didn’t have to do it. See them nail those cruel spikes through his hands and feet! He didn’t have to let them do it. He didn’t have to endure the agonizing pain of Calvary. But he did it because he loved us, and to prove that we, too, could be set free from any binding lust and passion and sin if we only wanted to be free.
For a believer to persist in unrighteousness evidences he loves his sin more than he loves Christ, and this is idolatry. If we really want to quit our sinning the Lord will help us.
As Paul writes elsewhere, “Ye have not resisted unto blood striving against sin!” Like the man who kept forging checks and wanted to quit who was willing to cut his fingers off in order to stop it! But that’s what Jesus taught! Rather than to look with lust upon a woman, to cut out your eye; rather than to yield arm or foot to sin, to cut off these members of your body.
I remember in meetings in Ohio a husband who was saved was trying to break the cigarette habit so whenever he had a desire to light up he would slip a cough drop into his mouth. Thinking it would take a long time to quit, and being determined to break the habit, he stocked up on cough drops. Well, one day he came to see me and presented to me several cartons of cough drops, saying that he didn’t even need them anymore! The Lord had brought deliverance.
Ah, yes, whom the Son maketh free, he shall be free indeed. Get a glimpse of the grace of God – of Jesus dying on the cross for you – and see those things in your life that make you a poor testimony for Him – and the Lord will give you overcoming grace.
Beloved, the grace of God teaches you self-denial; to deny yourself of anything that’s not like God, to deny yourself of ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, not hereafter !
To live soberly is to live temporarily in relation to oneself. The Apostle Paul spoke of keeping the body in subjection – under control lest one should become a cast-away. This did not mean that he was afraid of losing his salvation, but rather that he would meet with disapproval in the day when he stood in the presence of the Lord. Some believe the Apostle Paul had the Rapture in mind for he spoke of being in doubt as to whether he might attain the resurrection of the dead, declaring, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling (the margin says ‘upward’ calling) of God in Christ Jesus.
Then Paul goes on to declare, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded!”
Now, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, for he was a just man and perfect in his generations, for Noah walked with God.
Would you with Noah and Paul be found perfect at the coming of Jesus? Should we not strive for perfection? Should we not lay aside all that offends including those petty weights and besetting sins that hinder us in running the Christian race?
Indeed, the grace of God trains us as a runner is trained to live soberly, to live discreetly, to live carefully, to live temporarily!
Not only are we to live “soberly”, but righteously, and godly. To live soberly is to live in relation to ourselves; to live righteously is to live in relation to our fellowman; to live godly is to live in relation to God as He would have us live.
What about this relationship to our fellowman? Are we honest in our dealings? Like Zacchaeus when converted have we returned the stolen merchandise and offered to pay for what we wrongfully received? Have we sought forgiveness from those whom we lied about, or have we forgiven those who mistreated us?
Ah, hear me, the grace of God is far-reaching. It teaches us to live ‘righteously’ with our fellowman. I’m reminded of an outstanding personality who was converted in a Billy Graham meeting who decided he was going to do business with Christian people. And the first three he did business with, all gypped him.
No wonder the world doesn’t want our brand of Christianity if it doesn’t bear the stamp of’ ‘righteous’ dealings on it. When Jesus comes He is going to look for that stamp[ As in the book of Revelation we read that when our Lord comes he will reward every man according to his works, and as to whether one is righteous, holy, filthy, or unjust. (Rev. 22:11)
As Noah was just so may we be righteous in our relationship with others. And as he was perfect, so may we be found ‘without spot or blemish or any such thing’ at the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
For is that not what the grace of God teaches us? For we read, “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live, soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world,
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ!” Hallelujah! Are you looking for Jesus to come? Well, if you’ve caught a glimpse of the grace of God then surely you must be looking, preparing for, and anxiously awaiting the coming of our Blessed Lord!
Indeed, to that end we would seek to encourage you today repeating again in closing the admonition, “Be ye therefore ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.”