Who was Noah? He’s getting a lot of attention these days because of a movie, but those that have knowledge of the Biblical Noah, see a very different man than portrayed by Russell Crowe.
Genesis 6:9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
Is this a contradiction in the Bible? Is it possible that Noah could actually be just and perfect?
The word in Hebrew is tsad-deek’ which means just, lawful, righteous (man), and the word perfect (taw-meem’) means without blemish, complete, full, perfect. These words really mean what we think they mean but how is this possible?
In just a few more chapters we will see that after the flood Noah has a vineyard and became drunk (Genesis 9:20-21). How can we reconcile this? 1 Corinthians 6:10 tells us that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God.
We see similar language with Job. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. (Job 1:1)
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans that there are none righteous…Romans 3:10-11 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is one who understands; There is none who seeks after God…”
Paul is quoting from the book of Psalms here and referencing Psalm 14:1-3 and 53:1-3 and we also see this in Isaiah.
Isaiah 64:6-7 But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities.
Our iniquities have taken us away from God, the word means perversity, or moral evil, fault, iniquity, mischief or sin. We all understand that we clearly have sin, don’t we? Did Noah and Job somehow perform better at keeping God’s law and finding favor with Him than we are capable of today?
If we really think about it, it seems there would have been fewer distractions and less opportunity for sin doesn’t it? No television to watch, the women wore those bland gowns and not the tight shorts we see girls wearing today, but yet when we read about the wickedness of man in Genesis chapter 6 it appears that sin was every bit as rampant as it is today.
So how can Noah really be a righteous man?
Hebrews 11:7 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 an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Do we see it?
Faith is the answer, it’s the only thing that can save and cause us to be righteous.
Our righteousness is only found in faith in Christ and that faith was every bit as present in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament. To be complete in our understanding of Scripture we can’t be “only” New Testament Christians. We must believe that by faith God has been working all through redemptive history to draw His people to Himself.
This is no small concept for us today, because if we don’t grasp this, we don’t grasp the reality of God working in His elect all throughout time. We will miss how the whole of Scripture is pointing to Jesus. How He satisfied the righteous requirements of the law and that it is all about faith in Him, not something we can perform to be good enough.
Look how clearly Paul tells us this truth.
Romans 3:21-26 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
This is an awesome statement about God and what He has done. There is no righteousness outside of faith in Christ. There is no possibility of pleasing God by our own hand. There is only faith in Christ to save us from our sin. This is the whole narrative behind Noah’s story. He wasn’t righteous and just because of who he was. He’s righteous and just because of who Christ is.
Can we see the humbling reality of how big this makes God? If we think we have something good to offer, or somehow we bring anything but our poor wretched selves to the table, we are deadly wrong. Everything the Bible shows us is about God. If it’s about us then we are serving the wrong god.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 And we have such truth through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
If this does not bring you to your knees consider that your knowledge of Him is what He can do for you, not what you can do for Him. If He is your Lord then you will serve Him out of a pure heart to know Him more intimately and serve Him with urgency, for His profit and for His glory, not for your benefit.