Many times, justice seems to be circumstantial or subjective. While there are certain agreed standards for justice, many issues remain disputed. What is right and just? There is only One whose standard of justice cannot be challenged; that is One in whom there is no fault – Jesus Christ who is the one Lawgiver, able to save and to destroy [James 4:12]. We judge as best we can on earth, but we do not always know or understand everything. We have courts, juries, judges and laws, but innocent people are still incarcerated and those who are guilty still manage to escape. Wars are fought, people take justice into their own hands, there are revolts, petitions, accusations and opinions. People continue to argue about what really is just. We have been given a mind to think, discern and judge, but when we do not know, or do not understand, we need to remember the true author of justice.
“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgement is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” – [John 5:30]
God’s judgement of the world back in Noah’s day may seem harsh to us. Were God to do the same thing again, many people would surely be offended. What kind of God destroys the world? Isn’t He a God of love? How would we have responded to God if we were in Noah’s position? The Bible does not tell us how Noah felt when God spoke to him about what was to come. It does, however, tell us how Noah responds to God. From his actions, he must have believed that God would do what He said he would do, and he must have trusted in God’s plan.
Genesis tells us the following things about Noah:
- He found grace in the eyes of God when the rest of mankind grieved the Lord [Genesis 6:8]
- He was a just man, perfect in his generations [Genesis 6:9]
- He walked with God [Genesis 6:9]
- He obeyed God’s commands completely [ Genesis 6:22]
- He worshipped and his worship was pleasing to God [Genesis 20-21]
- He was blessed by God [Genesis 9:1]
Hebrews 11:7 tells us about the kind of faith Noah had:
“By faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
That righteousness is one that comes through Jesus Christ, and leads to eternal life with the Father. Because Noah obeyed God in faith, he shared in God’s plan for righteousness and eternal life. We can see the progression and effects of Noah’s decisions unfold in the book of Genesis.
- God warned Noah of what He was going to do, of His judgement on earth (divine warning)
- Noah trusted God’s judgement and obeyed His commands (moved with godly fear)
- Because of this, Noah and his family were saved
- They became the predecessors of a renewed humanity, built upon faith in God
When Jesus walked on earth, many were offended by what He taught about justice. People were unsure if Christ was who He said He was. When John’s disciples questioned Him, Jesus responded by telling them what had been fulfilled in the scriptures – “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them” [Matthew 11:5). Jesus then ends with this remark:
“And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” – [Matthew 11:6]
He challenged human perception of justice with the concept of His grace and His forgiveness. Soon, He will be coming back again. Just as people were offended by Him the first time He came, so many will be offended when He returns again. Jesus tells us what to expect at His coming, and He also notes that many will be offended, and that their love will grow cold. [Matthew 24:10-11]. Just as the earth was corrupt and violent in Noah’s day, so the earth will be filled with lawlessness in the day that Jesus returns. Just as Noah was saved through faith and obedience to God, so those who endure in Christ until the end will be saved.
How can we be prepared for Jesus’ second coming and the judgement God will bring on the earth? Well, we can learn from Noah’s example and stand as “Noahs” in our generation. We can have a “Noah” response to God’s judgement.
1) We must recognise our divine warning
- God has told us what He is going to do, and given us direction on what to do. We have all this information and instruction in the Bible.
- What will come when Jesus returns:
“And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” – [Matthew 24:6]
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place… For then there will be great tribulation, such as there has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” – [Matthew 24:15, 21]
Consider the descriptions in Revelation of the seal, bowl and trumpet judgements
- How we are to prepare:
We are given instruction to “watch” and “be on guard” because we do not know the exact day or hour that Jesus is coming again
Matthew 24-25 gives us some examples about how we should go about watching and being on guard with the parables of the faithful servant, the virgins and the talents
Just as Noah was given instruction to build an ark and find refuge within it, we have instruction to build lives on the foundation of Christ, abide in Him and store up treasures in heaven. Christ is our ark of salvation because through Him, we share in God’s righteousness.
2) We must be moved to obey God’s commands through godly fear
- [Philippians 2:12] says:
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
- This passage highlights how important it is that our faith is active, that we keep chasing after God, and keep in step with His spirit. Obeying His commands, requires us to take action and make decisions. When we do this, as verse 15 describes, we “become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
- Noah feared God and worshipped Him. He pleased the Lord in how He obeyed God and walked with Him. When we worship God with our lives, and walk with Him, we can stand as lights in the world, and as “Noahs” in our generation.
The most important thing I see in how Noah responds to God’s judgement is the way in which Noah sees God. Noah worships the Lord and chooses to follow Him. This demonstrates trust, and a knowledge that God is good. Throughout the Bible, we see many people suffer, yet continue to trust in God. Job is one notable example, and Jesus’ life demonstrates this in eternity. When we see suffering on earth, when we see signs that are the “beginning of sorrows”, when justice seem perverted and innocent people seem to die, how do we see God? Where do we see Him? I want to see God as Noah did – as the author of true justice, a God who loves us, and a God I trust with my whole life. I want to obey all God’s commands, to walk with Him, and to stand for His righteousness through faith in my generation.