Today, western society has lost all sense of the existence of God. In fact people behave as if God their Maker does not exist. They simply assume that the world evolved and that human beings evolved from the apes. It is hardly surprising then that people behave more and more like mere animals instead of creatures made in God’s image.
Today we see Wars and violence in so many countries; people are displaced in their millions; and there are serious threats and outbreaks of famine. All proof that men are sinners.
But violation of God’s code and of his creation are not new. And if we turn to the record of the early years of human existence in the first chapters of the book of Genesis, we find there that it has happened before – and we find too that the Creator intervenes in Judgement because of the evil he finds in his creation.
That the world underwent a global flood is geologically demonstrable. There is also testimony from the ancient folklore of primitive tribes. All this corroborates the account we find in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. There we read the story of Noah and his ark; of a flood which destroyed all life, except for what Noah rescued and kept on his boat throughout the rains, and all through the time the flood waters subsided.
The flood was God’s deliberate act of destruction. In chapter 6 we read
AND GOD SAW THAT 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. AND THE LORD SAID:
I WILL DESTROY MAN WHOM I HAVE CREATED FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH, BOTH MAN AND BEAST …………..
BUT NOAH FOUND GRACE IN THE EYES OF THE LORD.
God judges wickedness, but human beings carry on as though they are immune; as if they have no Creator; as if they will never have to account for their actions in this life. But they will !
God destroyed all the wicked – all mankind, except for Noah and his family, and the species of animals he wished to survive and promulgate in the earth again [the fossil remains of extinct dinosaurs etc date from this global deluge].
Let us be clear. God owns his Creation. Not us, but God. God indeed gave man a commission to steward the earth and its resources – a commission which we find today is very badly managed. God therefore has every right to do what he wants with what he made. And God acts on a MORAL basis. He is a moral God, and demands that we live moral lives.
God has judged and God will judge human beings. In fact the New Testament tells us that all human beings live under the impending Judgement of God. And that Jesus Christ is the only way to escape that Condemnation.
In the third chapter of John’s Gospel, we read that men continue to love darkness and evil. That they prefer evil to good. But there is, however, a way for them to be delivered from their darkness and love of sin, and to escape God’s condemnation. That way is to place their lives in the hands of Jesus Christ; that is what the Bible means when it says “believe in” Jesus Christ. It does not mean acknowledge his existence or his claim – as James points out in his letter in the New Testament, even the devils believe about Jesus, but they certainly don’t obey him.
And that is the issue. To obey Christ’s teaching.
And the first act of belief for those who turn to Jesus Christ in obedience is to do something very real and significant. Something unmistakable which sends a signal about the new spiritual status of the believer to his fellow man and to the spiritual world. Something which Jesus explicitly commanded for every disciple and for the church to administer.
Baptism by full immersion in water.
That act of obedience identifies the believing convert with the death and resurrection of Jesus. The merits of Jesus sacrifice on the the cross are applied to that person’s life. Going down identifies with Jesus death, and coming up out of the waters identifies with his resurrection.
The apostle Paul makes this clear in chapter 6 of his letter to the Romans and in chapter 2 of his letter to the Colossians, verse 12:
BURIED WITH HIM IN BAPTISM, WHEREIN ALSO YE ARE RISEN WITH HIM THROUGH THE FAITH OF THE OPERATION OF GOD WHO HATH RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD.
The apostle Peter tells us how to understand the picture of Noah’s ark in the Old Testament when it comes to God’s new covenant with us in the New, founded on the merits of Jesus Christ:
……IN THE DAYS OF NOAH WHILE THE ARK WAS A PREPARING WHEREIN FEW THAT IS 8 SOULS WERE SAVED BY WATER – THE LIKE FIGURE WHEREUNTO BAPTISM DOTH ALSO NOW SAVE US.
Now, it is faith in Jesus which saves us because it is what Jesus did, not us, which counts. But what counts once we believe in Jesus is our obedience to his teaching. And he taught clearly – indeed commanded – full immersion water baptism. And the person who truly believes will do as Jesus says; the person who lacks faith will make excuses.
Noah had to build the ark at God’s instruction. He had to be seen to do something outrageous and out of the ordinary to obey God – and by obeying God and building the ark, he saved himself, and his family, and all the species of animals which God wanted saved.
We, too, can face the same fears and doubts and opposition in coming to be baptised. It is necessary to obey, so that we too can gain the consequent blessing and grace of God.
Noah obeyed and was saved. So must we.