The Flood of Salvation #2

Narrow-GateThe flood is a significant event in human history. In fact, ancient cultures have been telling this story of thousands of years. It’s not simply a Christian and Jewish folklore. It’s embedded in cultures around the world. That’s because all of humanity comes from the survivors of the flood. And that event, as tragic as it was, is nothing compared to the coming judgments that this world will see. However, just as God provided a way of safety from that judgement, so to did He provide that for the one to come. The flood story, as with all Old Testament salvation stories, were meant to point to something far greater. They point to the One who would save us, not from temporary tragedies, but from a spiritual impairment…from an eternal death.

In part one of this series I drew the connections between the flood story and salvation in Jesus by looking at the construction of the ark itself. Today’s correlation is somewhat different. While the first post was very positive and encouraging, I’m afraid this one is more dire. But even in the bleak reality of what we’re going to look at, there is always hope. Like with any warnings, it only benefits those who choose to take them seriously. And for those who do, there is always hope.

The flood affected the entire world. Every living creature would be impacted. We don’t know exactly how many people lived on the earth in Noah’s day, but common sense estimates would have to conclude that there were millions, if not billions. If read some scientists calculations that have placed it from 1 to 40 billion people based on lifespans and numbers of children from each of those listed in the chapters leading up to Genesis 6. Either way, there were a lot. The sad reality is, only a tiny fraction of those were saved.

…because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

1 Peter 3:20 (NIV)

Eight…out of millions or billions. Even if it were only thousands on the earth, eight would be such a small number. It’s not like God had a “Noah only club”. Noah preached for 120 years and, as 1 Peter says, God waited patiently for mankind to turn. Because of who God is, we know that He didn’t want to just save eight. God wants everyone on the boat. But only a small percentage will walk through the door.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

When Jesus spoke these words, He was expressing the heart of a savior. God in the flesh was laying out the path to life and bidding us to come and follow. It’s not like Noah’s ark or it’s door were hidden. They are in plain sight. It’s not like the door to eternal life is hidden either. Jesus made it as plain and obvious as anyone could. It’s Him. That’s it. Jesus is the person who is also the path. And instead of one man preaching righteousness and repentance and salvation through faith, we have an entire church with that same mission today. But just like in Noah’s day, the message is falling on so many deaf ears. Please don’t let that be true of you. And if you’ve already punched your boat pass by believing in Jesus, lets spend our lives getting more people on the boat.

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The Flood of Salvation #1

ark-doorThere are so many connection throughout the bible. Interwoven themes that lace old and new testaments and thousands of years of human history together. It is one thing that makes the Bible so believable and so reliable.

One of those common themes is salvation. The word salvation is used in different ways in the Bible when applied to different scenarios. For example, God can save someone from a present danger. David prayed many times for God to save him from his enemies who pursued him throughout various points in his life. Then there is the idea that we are in the process of being saved. This is commonly expressed as sanctification. The concept that God is transforming our nature to be more like His. In this particular notion, we are being saved from ourselves. Then there is the use of the word salvation applied to a spiritual sense. Salvation in this way means that we are being saved from God’s wrath. This is an eternal salvation, unlike the other two.

God has used many instruments to bring salvation to mankind, but every single one of them, whichever form of salvation we’re talking about, points to the ultimate means of salvation: Jesus Christ. In the next few posts, I am going to break down one of the most monumental occasions in human history, the great flood, and show how God worked salvation during this tragic experience, and how that points directly to the coming Messiah.

The flood story of the Bible takes place in Genesis 6 through 9. It’s an incredibly sad story and yet, at the same time, one that gives us a lot of hope. It’s set during an age much like the one we live in now. Rampant sexual immorality, people calling good things bad and bad things good, and outright disregard for God. The Bible describes mankind as wicked in the days of the flood.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

Genesis 6:5 (NIV)

With a world that evil, God needed to cleanse the earth. Fortunately, there was a man and his family who lived apart from the practices of those around them. Noah is referred to as a righteous man and a preacher. He is a man of great faith. Because of His faith, God is going to bring salvation to Noah and his family. As you’re probably familiar with, God instructs Noah to build an ark that will carry his entire family and animals from all over the world. It’s absolutely fascinating. This brings me to the first connection between the flood story and our salvation in Jesus. It is the theme of ONE.

You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

Genesis 6:16 (NASB)

There is one ark and on that ark, there is one window and one door. The theme of ONE is so prevalent throughout the Bible narrative and yet it is so hotly contested by people today. There was one ark on which people and animals could be delivered from the coming peril. There was one door and one way into that ark. And there was one window through which to view the world. Humanity has always been plagued with this desire to build their own ark, to their own specifications, on their own terms. The ark that is Jesus, does not “fit their mold” of religion or lack there of. Many people are afraid of the idea of one way to be saved. But those is Noah’s day didn’t get to argue with God or pick their own means of being saved. God provided that way. It was huge and obvious and everyone knew the way in. There was one door, wide open, with a giant invitation.

The Bible tells us that Noah spent his life preaching salvation to the world, in the years leading up to the flood. Even though Noah and his family were the target of the ark’s construction, they were not the only one’s offered salvation. Noah spent 120 years building and preaching, building and preaching, and yet, no one came. But the offer still remained. for 120 years it remained. The one ark, a giant beacon of hope and salvation, stood out for the world to gaze upon. And they shunned it and scoffed at it. Jesus is that one ark.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6 (ESV)

Jesus is the epitome of the concept of ONE. God provided us yet again, with a giant beautiful beacon of hope and life. He did so by putting on human flesh and dying for the evil that is in all of us. In Jesus, God built the ark Himself. While Noah’s ark could be used to save humanity and animal life from a cataclysmic event, it could never redeem their souls. That kind of ark would have to be built by God. And not only is Jesus that ark, faith in Him is the door by which we enter the ark, and His life and teachings are the window to how we see the world and others.

The theme of ONE is the most inclusive offer that a good God could make. It removes confusion. The ark, and the ark that is Jesus, is a message to mankind to stop trying to build your own leaky boat and come to the one God has built for you. Lay down your burdens and attempts to appease God and get on the boat. The door is wide open. The only ID you have to show at the door is that of your faith in the savior of the world.

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (HCSB)