From the beginning, God planned for his relationship with man to be eternal. His desire was for Adam and Eve to experience eternal life with Him. Their sin brought this to an end, but God demonstrated mercy and did not immediately kill them. Instead, He provided clothing for them, temporarily suspended the death sentence, and told them how His plan would be restored (see Genesis 3).
Now we see the effects of sin. In chapter 4, sin brought death by murder. Chapter 5 shows the inevitability of death by old age. Finally, chapters 6-8 show how God’s judgment on sin plays out on an epic scale. Many are horrified by the account of the flood, but it is simply God executing the consequences of sin for everyone on the same day.
God wants us to confront the effects of our sin and the inevitability of our death. Everyone in chapter 5 dies with two exceptions – Enoch and Noah. God provided these two examples so that we can escape eternal death and experience eternal life. The only way to escape death is to walk with God. You either walk with God or you die. It’s that simple. Enoch walked with God and experienced eternal life as a result.
Noah demonstrated that the only way to walk with God is through His grace. Noah wasn’t chosen because he was a good guy. Notice the events of his life:
- Every person was focused on evil all the time, including Noah. God was grieved and pained that He ever created them. (6:5-7)
- God chose to save and bless Noah. He was a wicked, sinful man, just like everyone else. The only difference was that God gave grace to Noah. The word translated “favor” is the Hebrew word for grace. (6:8)
- “Noah was a righteous man . . . and he walked with God” but that was the result of God’s grace, not the means by which he earned it. (6:9)
This is how God works in each of our lives. We are not saved by our own righteousness, but, rather, by God’s grace. Salvation comes through grace alone through faith in Jesus alone. It is not the result of our righteous acts. Once we are saved by grace, we are given the power to live a new life and obey God. The only way to experience eternal life is to walk with God by His grace.
1. How does it make you feel to read about God’s judgment on sin through the flood? How is this affected by Genesis 2:16-17? What impact does it make that God suspended the immediate execution of that judgment on Adam and Eve? That the judgment by flood is God imposing that sentence on everyone on the same day?
2. Compare Genesis 6:5-8 with Paul’s teaching in the New Testament that we are saved by grace to do good works in places like Ephesians 2:8-10. Noah was chosen by God to build the Ark because of God’s grace, not because he was a better person than his contemporaries. Why is it so vital to the gospel to understand this?
3. What does it mean that Enoch and Noah walked with God (see Hebrews 11:5-7; Jude 14-16 for further insight)?
4. In light of Genesis 6:5-7 and 2 Peter 2:4-9, why did God send the flood? What does the flood reveal about the inevitable fate of those who persist in sin without repenting?