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December 15, 2009 / beidson

Does Noah Condemn You? Why You Should Be Afraid of Fearlessness

Maybe the last image that comes to our mind when we think of Noah is that of a powerful judge.  More likely would be the image of a gentle, smiling man surrounded by happy animals in a small boat floating in a pond.  At least, that’s what comes to my mind.  It’s hard to escape this image when it is everywhere presented, almost as fiction.  But the truth is that far from saving a few animals, Noah actually condemned the entire world.  Yep.  He did.  Me and you included.

Hebrews tells us that Noah built his ark out of “reverent fear” and in doing so, he condemned the world and became an heir of righteousness, the righteousness that comes by faith (11:7).  No condemnatory words came out of Noah’s mouth, at least not that we  know about, but by building a mammoth ship to save himself and his family, he left the rest to perish. He never spoke a word about what was to come, and yet he is called a “herald of righteousness” (2 Pt. 2:5).  Why?  Because out of fear he fled from the wrath to come.  He built an ark because he was afraid.

Not so for others in his day.  Jesus tells us that those in Noah’s day were unaware of the impending doom which loomed over their world, until the day when the floods consumed them (Matt. 24:38-39).  They were eating and drinking and living normal lives.  But they were not afraid, so they did not understand their plight.  They were safe on land, away from the waters of judgment.

But the baptismal waters soon covered them, and the seas were filled with their lifeless corpses, soon to be fertilizer for dry ground.  And Noah came safely through the waters because he was in a boat–that’s it.  If he had not built the ark, he too would have been covered.  But he was fearful, and so he was saved.

And here is the message from the mouth of this herald of righteousness: flee from the wrath to come.  If we do not take judgment seriously, we will most surely not escape it.  Just as in the days of Noah, we may continue to live normal lives, and yet if we do not see storm clouds forming overhead, we too will be consumed by the flood of wrath.

All this to say, there is a greater judgment to come, and we have been warned.  Jesus too obeyed his Father and underwent the waters of judgment, now bringing us through them as well, if we find ourselves in him.  And if we choose to remain outside of Christ, there is nothing but a fiery judgment for us.  God’s wrath is the penalty for our infinite offenses against him.  But like Noah, fear brings the faith that God reckons to us as righteousness.  There is no reason to fear if we are afraid.

The question then is “Does Noah condemn you too?”  If you are not afraid, he does.

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