Is the story of Noah’s flood folklore? No. Archaeologists tell us that every great civilization in history had a story of a cataclysmic flood. But depend on Christ, who confirmed the story by saying, “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37).
What characterized the days of Noah? Apostasy. Anarchy. Ungodly philosophy. “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).
The days of Noah have returned to us.
The wickedness reached such a level that “the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:6-8; emphasis added).
In these dangerous days, we have the grace of God.
Noah needed to be saved, so God told him, “Make yourself an ark” (Genesis 6:14a). That ark pictures Jesus Christ. (Read 1 Peter 3:18-20.)
“Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch” (Genesis 6:14). Gopherwood is cypress, which will not rot, and “pitch” is tar. Interestingly, this is not the usual word for pitch—this word is translated in the rest of the Bible as atonement. The water was God’s judgment, and not one drop could come through. Christ is the atonement for our sin, and in Him, no judgment can get to you.
“And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits” (Genesis 6:15). The ark was 3 million cubic feet. There was room on that ark, and there is room at the cross.
Notice that God does not say the ark has a prow or stern. Archaeologists tell us these are the dimensions of a coffin. The ancients built their coffins out of cypress because it would not decay. Why is the ark a giant coffin? Because when Noah came into that ark, it pictured the way we are buried with Christ in baptism. (See Romans 6:4.)
“You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side” (Genesis 6:16a). This is the door that God sealed, and nobody could open it. (See Genesis 7:16.) But Noah could open the window and look up. God was saying, “From now on, you are to be Heavenly minded.” We are sealed into Christ by the Holy Spirit. We look into Heaven through Jesus Christ.
“And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them” (Genesis 6:21). God took care of all of their needs. When you come to Jesus, you have shelter and substance. Jesus not only saves but also satisfies.
“Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4). You might blow past this. But when the ark arrived, having been steered by God (because it also had no helm!), it was the seventh month in the Jewish calendar—April. This is the time of Passover, when Jesus came out of the grave, having taken the floodwaters of God’s wrath upon the cross!
Why do we have a Savior? So we can be saved!
How? “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10; emphasis added).
If you keep three prepositions in mind, you will never get confused about the relationship of faith and good works. You are saved…
The ark shows that salvation is by grace. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD…. ‘I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you’” (Genesis 6:8,18). God only has one plan of salvation, and that is by grace.
Grace means that God saves us apart from any effort of our own.
“Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Come into the ark, you and all your household’” (Genesis 7:1a). Noah had to take that step through faith. (See Hebrews 11:7.)
Noah was saved for good works. “So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth’” (Genesis 9:1). We do not do good works in order to be saved; we do them because we have been saved.
God did not say, “Noah, go into the ark.” He said, “Come”—meaning God was in the ark. In Christ, you are as safe as you can possibly be. About those who believe in Christ, the Bible says, “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13b). Not only did God shut the water out; God shut Noah in. Could Noah have lost his salvation? God shut the door! Noah may have fallen down inside that ark, but he couldn’t fall out of it.
Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). If you are saved by works, you will have to be kept by works. But we are saved by grace, and kept by grace.
The first time, God destroyed the world by water. The second time, it will be by fire.
“…The world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:6b-7,9).
Now here is the question: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:11-12)?
Judgment is coming. You had better be in the ark of safety, whose name is the Lord Jesus Christ, and know the grace of Almighty God.