Genesis 027 – Grace Before Judgment, Pt. 2Genesis 6:5-9 • Dr. Andy Woods • February 21, 2021 • Genesis
Genesis #027-Grace Before Judgment
Dr. Andrew Woods
Good morning, everybody. Hope you all enjoyed this last week’s global warming, and if we take our Bibles this morning and open them to the book of Genesis 6:5. The title of our message this morning is “Grace Before Judgment, Part 2.” Grace Before Judgment.
Tracking along with us in the book of Genesis, you know, that Part 1 of the book which we’ve been inching our way through, Genesis 1-11, is about creation and the beginning of the human race, and that involves:.
Creation, God’s original design for humanity—Genesis 1-2.
And then how everything was lost with The Fall—Genesis 3-5. And yet in the midst of The Fall, there’s hope that there’s coming One from the seed of the woman who will restore things to God’s original design. And of course, that coming One is described in Genesis 3:15; it’s none other than Jesus Christ Himself.
From there we moved into the fourth major event in the first section of the book dealing with The Flood. We have events before The Flood—Genesis 6, and that’s the chapter we started a couple of weeks ago.
Here’s an outline of Genesis 6: God’s Grief—Genesis 6:1-7, followed fortunately by …
God’s grace —Genesis 6:8-10.
In 6:1-4, we learn about God’s grief and a specific sin that was happening. We’ve gone into some detail trying to explain what that sin was. In essence, it involved fallen angels procreating with human women for the purpose of creating a race of people that aren’t fully human. And if Satan wins that round, then Jesus can never be born into our world. Jesus, when He comes, must be of the seed of the woman—fully God and fully Man. Satan says, ‘What better way to prevent this from happening; to prevent my head from being crushed and to create a race of people that aren’t fully human?’ I know that’s controversial, but we spent a lot of time dealing with that in the prior couple of weeks.
From there, we move away from the specific sin to the general sin that was happening in humanity prior to The Flood, and we pick it up there with Genesis 6:5. Notice what 6:5 says, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.” What’s interesting about this description of the the general sin of humanity are the words, ‘every‘ and ‘continually.’ It says there, ‘every intent of their hearts became wicked.’ This was happening—man was committing evil continually. And this is as good a place as any to restore balance to a very important doctrine in Christianity called total depravity.
Human beings on their own are not naturally good; they’re naturally evil; naturally wicked. However, what has happened is that people have taken depravity and blown it so out of proportion that they act as a lost sinner can’t even believe and trust in Christ for salvation. We’re told by many people that man must be regenerated first so that he can believe. And now, there is an overexaggeration of total depravity.
So what is total depravity? What is it, and what is total depravity not? Total depravity does not mean that man is as evil as he can possibly be, and that he indulges in every sin he could possibly indulge. Because after all, unbelievers know how to give money to the Cancer Research Society just as a believer does. An unbeliever knows how to apply the brakes when they see someone walking in the crosswalk just as a believer does. And the Bible never teaches, except in this case here, and I’ll explain why this is happening—that man is as wicked as he can possibly be. In Genesis 3:22, after The Fall, God was very clear. He said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil;…’ Notice that even non-Christians know the difference between good and evil. Jesus made this point in Matthew 7:11. He says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
It’s interesting that as Jesus made this statement, He says, ‘Even though you are evil and in a state of evil, you know how to bless your children.’ In Romans 2:14-15 we learn of something called conscience that God has placed into every single human being, whether they’re saved or not, a barometer of right and wrong called conscience. Paul talks about it in Romans 2:14-15. He says, “ 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.” This is the state of the unbeliever. He and she have a barometer called conscience, and they make decisions many times against conscience and they feel guilty. That’s where human guilt comes from. It’s something that God put into people so they could see evil for what it is. And sometimes they make decisions consistent with conscience, and then their conscience defends them. So Paul says with the unbeliever, they violate conscience, and they sometimes act in a way consistent with conscience. Sometimes conscience accuses, sometimes conscience defends. So you’ll notice that men and women in their fallen state don’t violate their conscience 100% of the time.
You might remember a man named Cornelius who was seeking the Lord in Acts 10. He was unsaved. We know that he was unsaved because of Acts 11:14 where it says, “and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved,…” So he hadn’t been saved yet. Notice that this is a description of this man, Cornelius, in his unsaved state.
In Acts 10:1-2, it says, “Now there was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what is called the Italian cohort, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms [charitable contributions] to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.” So this man, Cornelius, was a man of charity; a man of good works. He was a man who was a blessing to the nation of Israel. And yet when that statement was made, he was an unsaved man. He even prayed. Now, it doesn’t say here that God heard or answered his prayers, but here is another example of depravity being overexaggerated. Cornelius, prior to his salvation, was not as bad or as wicked as he could possibly be.
I like this statement here from Henry Clarence Thiessen concerning total depravity. He says, “The Scriptures speak of human nature as totally depraved. However, the doctrine of ‘total depravity’ is easily misunderstood and misinterpreted. From the negative standpoint, it is important to know both what it does not mean and what it does mean. This does not mean that every sinner is devoid of all qualities pleasing to men; that he commits or is prone to every form of sin; or that he is bitterly opposed to God as it is possible for him to be. Jesus recognized the existence of pleasing qualities in some individuals (Mark 10:21); He [Jesus] said that the scribes and Pharisees did some things God demanded (Matt. 23:23); Paul asserted that some Gentiles ‘do instinctively the things of the law’ Romans 2:14;…[We read that verse a short while ago] …God told Abraham that the iniquity of the Amorites would grow worse and worse (Gen. 15:16);….[They couldn’t be as bad as they could possibly be, these Amorites, because they still had worse sins to commit Genesis 15:16]; …and Paul says that ‘evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse’ (2 Tim. 3:13).”
It’s hard to proceed from bad to worse if people are already in depravity as wicked as they could possibly be. So it’s easy to get out of balance on the doctrine of depravity. What I’ve tried to explain there is what depravity does not mean. Well, if that’s what it does not mean, what does it mean?
Here’s what total depravity is. It’s a statement not so much about the extent or depth of evil, but it’s a statement about the breadth of evil. In original sin, every area of our being has been touched by sin. There is no part of us that is immune from the effects of The Fall. Your intellect has been contaminated by sin. That’s why Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, But the end is the way of death.”
That’s why Proverbs 3:5,6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” Why does the book of Proverbs keep telling me not to lean on my own understanding? Because depravity has not just corrupted me from the neck down. My intellect has been touched by sin. Conscience, which we mentioned a few moments ago, can be touched by sin. A person’s conscience can be seared as with a hot iron per 1 Timothy 4:2, “…by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,…” … to the point where they don’t recognize right and wrong anymore. The will has been touched by sin. Romans 3:11, “None seek God.” My deeds have been touched by sin. I commit evil deeds. Even what comes out of my mouth has been touched by sin. There’s a lot in the Bible about taming the tongue, dealing with that, by the way, Wednesday night, James 3.
My feet, Romans 3:15, have been touched by sin. My heart, Mark 7:21, is touched by sin. My body is in a decaying state because it’s been touched by original sin. My total being has been touched by original sin. In other words, there is no part of me that has escaped the ramifications of The Fall. I am totally depraved. It doesn’t mean I’m as wicked as I could possibly be. It doesn’t mean I’m incapable of doing good things in the eyes of my fellow man. What it means is that every part of me, from head to foot, including the intellect and the reasoning process itself, including the heart, has been touched by sin. Consequently, man is incapable of doing a single thing that would merit his favor before God. As an unbeliever, you could have written countless checks to cancer research and charitable causes, but all of those good deeds don’t earn you standing before God. The only thing that we can do to earn any standing or favorability before God, is to trust in the One whom He has sent: Jesus Christ.
So this is important because for many years I was somewhat out of balance with depravity. I thought this meant that we were as bad as we could possibly be, to the point where I or other people were not even capable of trusting in Christ for salvation. That’s not what the Bible teaches at all. It’s a statement not so much about the intensity of evil, but the extent of evil in that it has contaminated my entire being, and because I am in that state, I can do all sorts of good works, but God will recognize none of them as earning me His favor.
Now, the reason I bring this up is when you go back to Genesis 6:5, look at the words ‘every’ and ‘continually’ — “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (6:5 NKJV). That shows us that humanity had reached a point of depravity that it had never known before. And what pushed humanity in this direction? I mean, why were people just prior to The Flood this bad and this wicked to the point where the Lord is sorry that He created man to begin with, and He now contemplates sending a judgment or a deluge [Flood] to wipe man from the face of the earth? Why were people this bad? It has to do with Genesis 6:1-4, which comes before 6:5. You guys all agree with me on that, right? Genesis 6:1-4 come before 6:5. I mean, this is cutting edge stuff. And it had to do with this demonic interface that we’ve been trying to describe for the last couple of Sundays—this experiment that Satan was running at this time in history to alter the DNA or the genetics of the human race so severely that a physical Messiah who must be 100% man, in addition to being 100% God, could never be brought forth by the human race. That in and of itself only makes 6:5 understandable. That’s why people were as bad as they could possibly be prior to The Flood, because of the pushing that demons manipulated and pushed humanity to this level. I mean, all human beings are bad, but this was the baddest of the bad. How low can you sink? You can’t sink any lower than this. So this was a one-time level of wickedness that God had to put a stop to, and that was the sin that was taking place just prior to The Flood.
We’ve seen the specific sin (Genesis 6:1-4) and now the general sin (6:5). And so what does God begin to do? In 6:6-7, God Himself begins to sorrow. Notice what it says in 6:6,7, “So the Lord was sorry that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was grieved in his heart. 7 Then the Lord said, ‘I will wipe out mankind whom I have created from the face of the land; mankind, and animals as well, and crawling things, and the birds of the sky. For I am sorry that I have made them.’”
Humanity now reaches a point where God is sorrowing. Here in 6:6, God is grieving—that’s an emotion. In 6:7, God is sorry that He had created man. And this is an interesting glimpse into the character of God. Sometimes we look at God as some sort of objective, removed deity who has no emotions. Yet that’s not a proper representation of who God is. In fact, God’s emotional composition is one of the reasons why Paul, in the book of Ephesians, tells us that as Christians, we should abstain from sin because when I involve and embroil myself in sin, and since `my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who did I just take with me into that sin? I just took God into it. Ephesians 4:30 says, “Do not grieve [that’s an emotion] the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” That’s a completely different way of looking at sin. Why should we, as Christians, avoid sin under God’s resources? Because we’re pulling God into the sin. When we’re gossiping, or unforgiving, or countless other sins that we can commit, God who is in us, is grieving because He is inside of us, so He is not just some detached, removed, objective deity, but a Being with emotion.
Of course, you’ll see this in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, the eternally existent second member of the Triune Godhead. When Lazarus died in John 11, Jesus wept even though He knew that He was about to bring Lazarus back from the grave. So why didn’t Jesus just sit back and say, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ve got this covered?’ Because it deals with the emotions of God. God is sorrowful over death. He was sorry for these sisters, Martha and Mary, who had now endured the loss of their brother. And Jesus wept. Jesus was sorrowful. I mean, there were times in Jesus’ ministry where He just wept, where He broke down and started to cry.
That is the sort of thing that’s happening here in the heart of God as He contemplates the wickedness that humanity had descended into. It’s interesting, it doesn’t say ‘God got mad and said, I’m going to get you all. I’m going to stomp you all out. How dare you!’ God just starts to emote. And so it’s a tremendous picture here. God started to emote to the point where He was sorry that He had made man to begin with. Now, this is a real theological conundrum, and I can’t explain it, but sometimes God puts certain things into motion. Then when He sees the consequences of it, not God’s actions, of course, but what His free moral agent, creation, has done with His design, God Himself expresses sorrow. By the way, that happened with Saul, didn’t it? God made Saul king, the first king of the united kingdom, who reigned for 40 years. In 1 Samuel 15:11, God says of Saul, “I regret that I made Saul king, because he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out my commands.”
And consequently, in Genesis 6:7, God, for the first time, and this is really the first major glimpse we’ve had in the book of Genesis of a coming judgment, now contemplates judgment. Is God omniscient? Is God all knowing? Of course, He is. Did God already know what was going to happen? Of course, He did. But that doesn’t remove or minimize or marginalize in any way, the heart of God, which is emotional. And we’re made in His image, aren’t we? That’s why you are an emotional being. You experience the full gamut of the emotional spectrum? Happy, sad, angry—because that’s who God is. And we bear the image of God.
So now we learn in Genesis 6:7, that judgment is coming. “I will blot out mankind whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals, to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”
Judgment is coming. But what’s the title of our sermon? Grace Before Judgment. Actually, that was the title of our sermon last week, too. I just didn’t get a chance to talk about grace then, but I get a chance to talk about it now because it’s my favorite subject in the whole Bible.
We move now into God’s Grace (6:8-10), and I want you to understand this: it is the nature of God. Before He brings judgment, He manifests His grace, which is unmerited favor. Anytime anything is destroyed by God in the Bible, whether it be the Canaanites, the wicked inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, the future judgments that are coming in the events of the Tribulation period, you’ve got to start reading your Bible very carefully, because you’ll start seeing as those descriptions of judgment are revealed, the grace of God is in the mix—always. Don’t develop a view of God that He is so gracious that He will never judge. Nor develop a view of God that is so judgmental that He never manifests grace. It’s always both: truth and grace. As you move into these verses in 6:8-10, where we learn about God’s grace, we have the object of grace (6:8), the results of grace, (6:9) and then, Noah’s descendants (6:10). Notice what 6:8 says, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” Probably not my favorite reading or translation of that passage. I’m reading here out of the New American Standard Bible, but the good old King James translates it this way: “But Noah found grace…” which is what favor is. “…Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” What is grace? Grace is unmerited favor.
Now, if you learn absolutely nothing at Sugar Land Bible Church, but this one thing, then coming to Sugar Land Bible Church will be worth it for you. And that one thing is this: the theme of the Bible, or the point of the Bible is not what man does for God. The world of religion will tell you that’s the point of your existence. It’s what you must do for God. It’s what you must do to somehow make yourself right with God. And Satan will very quickly distort that in your mind. And he’ll put you on some sort of ladder or success trip, so to speak, and he’ll get you thinking that you’ve got to do A, B, C, D, E and F, and you better not mess any of it up, or God is not happy. That is religion. That is not grace. The point of the Bible is not what man does for God. The point of the Bible is what God has done for man. That’s the point. God has done such a work that rather than having us climb up to God, He reaches down to us in the person of Jesus Christ, and asks us to receive as a free gift what He’s done in our place.
This is what’s going on with Noah. Noah was hardly a sinless person, as I’ll show you. But he found grace, or unmerited favor in the eyes of God, but he didn’t deserve it. Well, who does deserve it? If you deserved it, it wouldn’t be grace anymore, would it? It would be works.
In Isaiah 64:6, God says this, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, all our righteous deeds... [fascinating, righteous deeds; things that we do through a religious spirit to gain God’s favor] …are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf,…” Boy, I tell you, I’m not planning to stand before God on the day of judgment with my little sandcastle of what I’ve done for Him. I have absolutely no intention of standing before Him that way. What I’m planning to do is standing before Him based on what He’s done for me. The latter is what gives me right standing before God. The former is…what does it say? They’re just a filthy garment. It doesn’t mean anything as far as God is concerned. Remember that Genesis 3:7 reads as follows: [This was after The Fall] “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made for themselves loin coverings.” ‘Hey, we did something really bad here and we gotta fix it.’ And mankind—Adam and Eve—got very religious. They probably started going to church. If they had money, they’d probably give money to the church.
And you learn there that those acts of religion, which I believe are in Genesis 3:7, is the first act of religion found anywhere in the Bible. God was completely and totally unimpressed by what they had done. The chapter ends with Genesis 3:21, and it says, “The LORD God, ...[who’s doing the action here? God is] …made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” He made them right before Him, not based on what they would do for themselves or for Him, but what He would do in their place. And when we were in Genesis 3 not long ago, remember I made the point that skin or skin coverings and skin garments didn’t just drop out of the sky. Obviously, an animal had to have been killed right there on the spot to clothe Adam and Eve, and through those skin coverings, God clothed Adam and Eve. Well, what did the animal do that was wrong? Nothing. He was an innocent substitute. Well, what did Jesus do that was wrong? Nothing. He was an innocent substitute. Well then, why did God have to do it this way? Because that’s how God deals with people now in their fallen state. He does not deal with them on the basis of what they do for Him. He deals with them on the basis of what He has done for them and their willingness to receive it just as a gift.
This message is so basic in the Bible. It’s so fundamental that it’s somewhat amazing that we’ve messed this up so bad. I think a lot of it has to do with pride. We’re prideful by nature. And our whole focus is on what we can do. And God is saying, ‘It doesn’t matter what you do, you’re too far gone in your trespasses and sins. It’s what I will do for you.’
God deals with lost man on the basis of grace. Now, we are in a dispensational church, and we draw our dispensational charts. I’ve got 10,000 of them, and I love every one of them—most of them. And we’ve got the Age of the Church in a parenthesis, right? So far, so good. And we put on our dispensational chart The Age of Grace as if there was no grace before the Church ever came into existence. In the last 2000 years, are we the only people that have ever received grace from God? The fact of the matter is that grace is as old as Adam and Eve. It’s as old as Noah himself. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. I think we ought to change our charge. Instead of saying Age of Grace, I think they ought to just say the Church Age because that’s what’s new for the last 2000 years, the advent of the Church. Grace is nothing new. Grace was extended to Noah. Had Noah not received that grace, God could not have used him in a strategic way—to rescue the eight in the midst of the ark.
There probably are very few people in human history that God used like He used Noah. Noah was a sinner, just like the rest of us. See that in Genesis 9:21, where it says, “He [Noah] drank of the wine and became drunk,…” Does that sound like a guy walking out the Spirit-filled life there? No. To me, it sounds like a guy that had the same hang ups and the same problems and the same sin nature that the rest of us have. So then, why did God use Noah? Because God deals with people on the basis of grace, unmerited favor. If it’s merit, Noah is unqualified to be used by God. I am unqualified to be used by God. You are unqualified to be used by God.
This is a story that you see in Eden. You see it in Noah, and you’re going to see it eventually, should we get there before the Rapture, in the story of Abraham. I mean, talk about a man that was strategically used by the Lord, this man, Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel. And what was he involved in before the Lord extended grace to him? It’s right there in the book of Joshua 24:2, where “Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the [Euphrates] River, namely Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.” Who was Abraham? He was an idolater! He came from a lineage of idolaters! Yet the Lord did something, as we’re going to see with this man, Abraham—the same thing he did with Noah. The same thing he did with Adam and Eve: He extended to them grace. Noah was far from perfect because your Bible says “for all.” What does all mean? That means all, Amen? In Texas, we might say. ‘That’s all, y’all. For all y’all.’ We need to come up with our own translation. “For all [y’all] have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
In Romans 3:10, “…as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;...” So how can God deal with any of us? How can any of us have a relationship with Him? It has to do with grace. Ephesians 2:8-9, we know that verse well: “For by grace…” [beautiful Greek word, ‘charis’ is its name]… “For by grace, you have been saved through faith. It is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God. Not as a result of works so that no one can boast.”
One thing that’s interesting about heaven is people are not going to be strutting around proud as a peacock. Because all of us enter in through unmerited favor. Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us not on the basis of deeds, which we did in righteousness, but according to His mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
Why am I washed? Why am I renewed? Not because of what I’ve done. Because of what He did for me. You know, 16 years of my life I spent trying to do things to get on God’s good side. Probably no more religious than than you were. But that’s how we are instinctively. That’s what we’re like. Only to learn that I could have spent my whole life trying to do this and trying to do that, and it would have gotten me nowhere. What I needed at the age of 16 when I was saved is what every human being needs. It’s what Adam and Eve needed. It’s what Noah needed. It’s what later Abraham needed. We need the grace of God.
The fact of the matter is, Noah and Abraham and Adam and Eve were imperfect people. You mean, God uses imperfect people? I sure hope so. Because if He doesn’t use imperfect people, He can’t use anybody. Because all of us are imperfect. God uses crooked sticks to draw straight lines, which is good news for us because now you can apply for the job because you’re a crooked stick just like I am. And we need to hear more in our churches about the grace of God. If we don’t hear over and over again about the grace of God, we will move very fast into a religious Spirit; a works-oriented mentality.
I’m very happy that at the Chafer conference coming up, March 8th, one of the speakers is going to be a friend of mine, Pastor Dennis Roxser of Duluth Bible Church. And I was able to get him as a speaker on March 7th, the first Sunday of the month. I really am thrilled that he is coming. He’s going to be speaking here at Sugar Land Bible Church because of all of the people out there who talk about grace, and I don’t know what it is about him, God gives certain people certain acuities for certain things. He understands the grace of God, and he’s going to be bringing a message here at the church and later on at the conference, on the grace of God—that not only is it the grace of God that saves us, it’s the exact same grace through which we live for God. And he says, ‘Well, what do you want me to talk about?’ I said, ‘Well, that’s easy. I want you to talk about grace. And don’t tell me you’ve got too much to communicate because I’m giving you 2 sessions. Part one Sunday School. Part 2 Main service.’ If I had my way, I would just sit out there in the audience. I’ll be here. I’ll just let him keep talking because we need to understand the grace of God. We need to understand that by grace we’re saved. We need to understand that by grace, we can say no to sin. I don’t say no to sin through my own power. I do it through the resources God gives. So what brought me to Christ is the same way I live. I came to Christ through the Holy Spirit, by grace through faith. Now, as I walk as a Christian, the exact same principle applies.
Thus, the book of Galatians 3:3 says, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, do you now think you can be perfected by the flesh?” Think of all of the sermons this Sunday morning around the United States that are being preached. And think of all of them telling people what they need to do. ‘Be good. Be better. God expects more.’ And how many of them have really dialed into the heart of God expressing his truth of grace?
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Go through the Bible, and this is one of the reasons I believe the Bible had to have been written by God and not by man, because the Bible reveals everyone’s shortcomings. Have you noticed that? I mean, if man wrote that, we would have a lot of erasures. ‘Oh, don’t don’t show this or don’t show that.’ In fact, for every biblical character, obviously, other than Christ, their warts are evident for all to see. The only exceptions I can even find in the Bible are Daniel and Joseph. And then again, the Bible doesn’t tell us everything about Daniel and Joseph. But other than those two characters, every single wart, every single deficiency is out in the open for everybody to see, which makes me glad I didn’t live in Bible times. How would you like your sins to be there in the written Word for everybody to see?
But the Bible is just an amazing book on this subject of grace. It’s the only book I can think of that even intimates and moves in this direction, which means that, hey, I can apply for the job. I was talking to one of my friends in prison ministry. And somehow he got into his mind that God uses people that are perfect to which the prisoner responded— [You know, it’s interesting in ministry, sometimes the people you’re supposed to be ministering to, actually minister to you in exchange. People in prison understand grace because that’s all they’ve got]. And this prisoner responded, ‘Well, I guess we’ve got to throw out half of the Psalms then, if God uses perfect people because those Psalms were written by David.’ We know his issues, don’t we? Oh, just little things like adultery and murder, that’s all. And yet God says of David, ‘This is a man after my own heart’ and uses David to pen the Psalms. Who could have ever even come up with something this preposterous?
You know, the very first book of the New Testament is the Gospel of Matthew which reveals the royal pedigree of Jesus more than any other gospel. Have you ever stopped to think about who God used to write that book? Matthew, who was a tax collector. In the ancient world, when someone was a tax collector, it would be like calling them a pornographer, a drug dealer, or an abortionist today. Someone who was the low of the low in the social strata because a tax collector was a traitor as he was a Jew working for Rome, the occupier. A tax gatherer was also a thief because the tax gatherer could take what was needed for Rome from the people and anything else he wanted to extract from the people for his personal asset column, he was free to do. I mean, it’s no mild thing to call someone a tax gatherer in that time period.
Remember Zacchaeus in the tree in Luke 19? Why was he up in a tree? Why was he in the back of the crowd? Because he was pushed back by everybody. Because that’s how tax gatherers were treated. And what does Jesus say to Zacchaeus, this despised man? He says, ‘I’m coming to your house for dinner.’
Matthew is the one who writes the first book of the New Testament featuring the royalty of Jesus Christ with that as his background? See, there are a lot of people who need to hear this, including myself. I’m not talking here to the righteous crowd this morning. I’m talking to the sinners. I’m talking to people who think God could never touch them; could never use them, could never bless them in any way because of what they’ve done. I would just say, “Read the Bible. God does this with people all of the time.” In fact, it’s because of this issue of grace—that is how he deals with us—on the basis of grace.
So where does grace get you at the end of the day? I mean, what are the results? Look at Genesis 6:9, “These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” What does grace give you? What does it entitle you to? It entitles you to a walk with God. It entitles you to a personal relationship with the God who made you. In such a relationship, God is not just your Creator, but He’s your Redeemer. It’s sort of a relationship that God had with Adam before sin entered the picture where it similarly talks about in Genesis 3:8, “They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day,…” That’s what was normal with Adam before sin.
Enoch had a walk with the Lord. Genesis 5:24, says, “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” I mean, what does grace give you? It gives you the reason you exist, which is to relate to God. A personal relationship with the God that made you, and those that don’t have this by way of grace, don’t know God.
Isn’t that what Jesus says in the final judgment? I mean, why are some people turned away in the final judgment? Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, “ 21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father, who is in heaven, will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not…” [And here come the religious works. Here comes the religious biography. Here comes the religious pedigree. Here are all the things people have done for God, thinking that that somehow sticks with God] “…prophesy in Your name, And in Your name, cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” This is not a crowd of criminals coming before the Lord. This is the righteous crowd. This is, might we say, ‘the churchgoing crowd.’ These are all of the people steeped in their efforts and their works, pleading those as a basis of righteousness on the day of judgment. And Jesus just says, “I never knew you.” ‘I never had any relationship with you.’ Well, why not? ‘Because you never received what I’ve done for you as a gift—giving you that relationship. You thought the point of the Bible is what you did for Me.’ Jesus says ‘that was never the point of the Bible. It’s what I’ve done for you.’ That’s grace. That’s what grace gives.
You’ll notice that Noah here is called a righteous and blameless man. Why would he be called that when he got drunk in the post-flood world? Very simply, he had a righteousness that wasn’t his own. He had something that the Protestant reformers referred to as alien righteousness. Why is it called alien? It’s called alien because it comes from a source outside of yourself just like an alien. It comes from a distant place. It comes from something that you can’t muster up.
Paul the Apostle had that alien righteousness. In Philippians 3:9, he says, “…and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own…” Did you hear that? “Not having a righteousness of my own.” As a Pharisee, Paul knew about self- righteousness. If anybody understood self righteousness, it was Paul. Paul says, … “not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God... [It’s alien, it’s foreign, it comes from the outside in. On the basis of what?] …on the basis of faith,…
Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. I don’t think he was perfect in his own works, given his drunkenness, given the fact that “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” but somehow God gave grace to Noah and that gave him a relationship with God. It gave him a walk with God, and that entitled him to usability before God.
I will say something to sort of dial back into last week concerning the fact that of Noah it is said ‘here was a righteous man and blameless.’ I’m of the opinion that it is transferred alien righteousness. But it’s not saying Noah was such a swell guy because of that second word, ‘blameless.’ When you track that Hebrew word in the writings of Moses, who also wrote the book of Exodus in addition to the book of Genesis, it’s used to describe genetic purity. It’s used of the Passover lamb, which must be without spot. Exodus 12:5 says, “Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.” Now, when it says an unblemished male, that is the same Hebrew word as ‘blameless’ in Genesis 6:9. It is not saying that Noah was just a great guy. What it’s saying is his gene pool, just like the Passover lamb, hadn’t been corrupted yet. Why would it be corrupted? Because of Genesis 6:1-4, which comes before 6:9. Amen? It’s the genetic experiment that Satan was running to corrupt the gene pool of the human race—partly human, partly angelic, the Nephilim, so that the Messiah who must be fully man, can never be born.
When it talks here about Noah being righteous and then blameless, it’s also saying that his gene pool was pure. It has to mean that, because Noah had to have grace like anybody else. So he wasn’t made right with God by what he did. He received the transferred righteousness of God, and maybe one of the reasons God reached out to Noah is that he was supernaturally protected by this demonic incursion that was happening during this particular time. I would assume that Mrs. Noah was genetically perfect, also, and I would assume that Noah’s 3 sons, Ham, Shem and Japheth and their respective wives were also genetically pure. So when it says Noah was blameless, it’s talking about his genetic purity. And that’s why the messianic line continues to be traced through Noah and his descendants because we know from Genesis 3:15 that when this Messiah comes, He’s coming from the seed of the woman. So only a human being can beget, ultimately, the Messiah. If you have someone who’s not fully human, they can’t beget the Messiah. Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise Him on the heel.”
But Noah was protected supernaturally perhaps, providentially, by the hand of God. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Noah is spared along with his wife and family in the ark. It’s interesting how Scripture carefully traces the descent of Noah. We have in Genesis 3:15 a coming Messiah whose birth Satan is trying to thwart by tampering with the genetics of the human race in Genesis 6:1-4. But then there’s this man named Noah. And his lineage per Genesis 5, is carefully traced from Adam to the point where he is called blameless or genetically pure (Genesis 6:9), just like the Passover lamb [in Exodus]. God takes Noah, Mrs. Noah and their 3 sons and their respective wives and tucks them safely and securely inside the ark.
Why did God do that? Because one way or the other, Satan can do whatever he wants. Satan looks like he’s winning a lot of the time. But God is not a man that He should lie. We know that this Messiah is coming, and God is supernaturally, providentially working in history to preserve the genetics of the human race so that the Messiah can come forth.
[See slide on Toledoth] There’s something very interesting here in 6:9. It says, “These are the records of the generations of Noah.” Did you catch that? In Hebrew, “These are the generations of another one of our toledoth.” ‘Toledoth’ in Hebrew means ‘these are the generations of.’ Why does it keep saying that? It said it in 5:1, and now it’s saying it again in 6:9, because these are the written records that were handed down through the generations. And now we’re at the point where Noah is going to begin to write his toledoth. I would assume that Adam wrote the prior ones. But Adam, of course, didn’t live forever. He lived till the ripe old age of 930. So Noah became the custodian of Adam’s documents or written records. You ask, ‘Well, are you telling me that ancient man could write?’ Well, you need to turn off the History Channel, first of all. And secondly, of course they could write. That’s why they’re passing down records. And now Noah is going to take all of these records from Adam, and he’s going to write his treatment of what happened through eyewitness testimony. Then his sons are going to write a treatment, taking into account what both Adam and Noah said. Then Shem is going to write his account, and Terah is going to write his account. As will Ishmael, Isaac, Esau, and Jacob, right till the end of the book of Genesis, as these records keep getting handed off to the next guy, and then the next guy adds to what happened.
That’s how your book of Genesis took place and how it was compiled. Finally, in Genesis 46 Jacob is going to take all of these records with him to Egypt to find grain in the midst of famine because God had providentially worked in the life of his son, Joseph, elevating him to second in command over all of Egypt in 1876 BC, according to standard biblical chronology. Go back and review some of the introductory lessons we did on Genesis to determine how we arrived at the year 1876 BC. At any rate, Jacob is going to take all of the records to Egypt. And who will take over at that point from taking in all these written records in Egypt?
A guy named Moses. Moses will take all of these written records and compile them into what we have today of the book of Genesis. Moses was not the primary author of the book of Genesis. Well, who was? Adam, Noah, Shem, Terah…the records continue to get written and passed off to the next guy. Finally they will land in the lap of a man named Moses, a Hebrew slave who didn’t even know how to read or write, most probably, when he was a slave.
Oh, but there’s something else in the book of Exodus we need to know. Recall that Moses was set adrift on the Nile, and his floating basket, whatever it was, just happens to come across…[do you think that was an accident?]…the princess of Egypt who takes Moses into Egypt for the purpose under God of educating him. Moses had one of the greatest educations of that time period that a person could ever have, and God sovereignly and providentially worked to allow this to happen so Moses would become literate and be able to take all of these written records and assembled them into what we call the book of Genesis.
Don’t let this bother you. Some people get upset when they learn that God didn’t give Moses some kind of vision about everything. Moses was depending on sources. Don’t let that bother you, because that’s the way the Gospel of Luke came together. Did you know that? Luke was not an eyewitness. He wasn’t one of the original Twelve. So what did Luke have to do to put together his gospel? He had to interview eyewitnesses, and he had to incorporate foreign or other sources about Jesus floating around at the time. Luke 1:1-4 says, “Since many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting to me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in an orderly sequence, most excellent Theopilus [the gentleman to whom Luke is writing]; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.”
Now, why would Luke be in a position to get to the exact truth of the eyewitness testimony concerning Jesus? Because he’s a detailed person; a physician per Colossians 4. A physician, by nature, has to be detail-oriented. In fact, if your current physician is not detail-oriented, you might think about getting a new physician.
So Luke wanted to tell Theophilus about Jesus, but Luke was not an eyewitness. He was not one of the original Twelve. So he had to gather all of these eyewitnesses, all of these sources together, and he assembled Luke’s gospel. And what I’m saying is that’s exactly how the book of Genesis came into existence. Adam hands his material off to Noah; Noah to Terah right on down the list. That’s why it keeps saying ‘these are the generations of… these are the generations of…these are the generations of…’ Until finally it lands in the lap of a man that God had providentially prepared to write the book of Genesis: Moses. And he stitches it all together in beautiful fashion. And we have today an account of the beginnings.
And then Moses says, ‘I’m not done yet. Let me tell you about what happened in the Exodus. ‘I’m not done yet. Let me tell you about what God said to the priests in the book of Leviticus. I’m not done yet. Let me tell you about the rebellion of the first generation as they entered Canaan. Now, you have the book of Numbers, and then Moses says, ‘I’m not done yet. Let me tell you about the Law being repeated for the benefit of the next generation.’ Now we have the book of Deuteronomy.
I hope we can appreciate what God has done to get this message into our hands in 2021. God has literally moved heaven and earth to see His message inscribed and recorded so that it could get to us today. Why? Because He loves people. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. And how could a person who understands that the point of the Bible is not what we do for God, but what God has done for us look at that gift, and just say, ‘I’m not interested.’? I think the presence of the Holy Spirit illuminating the message of God will take any heart and melt it if we give Him a chance to do it. That’s how much God loves you. That’s how much God desires a relationship with you. The Bible says that the very hairs on your head are numbered. ‘You mean, in this vast solar system, universe, galaxy that we’re living in, God is interested in little old me for a relationship?’
Yeah, He is. And you, too. Because look at what He did. So our exhortation to people here at Sugar Land Bible Church, when you hear this message and the gospel and what Jesus did, is simply to respond by just receiving it as a gift. That’s all that God wants. He doesn’t want you to earn it. He doesn’t want you to work for it. He wants you to receive it as a gracious gift, because that’s how God deals with lost man in his depraved state.
Jesus died on the cross 2000 years ago to pay a debt that I could never pay. He bodily rose from the dead, vindicating who He claimed to be. He has dispatched from heaven the Holy Spirit, which convicts us of our need to trust Christ. He has carefully transmitted this book into our hands so that we can have a relationship with Him and so fulfill the condition. Receive it as a gift, which only means that you trust in what Jesus has done for you.
If it’s something that you need more explanation on, I’m available afterwards to talk. Next week we pick up with Genesis 6:10.
Shall we pray? Father, we’re grateful for Your effort. Not our effort, Your effort in Your Son and Your Word. Help us to be people of grace this week as we walk these things out. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said. AMEN!