THE COVENANT OF GRACE
"I WILL BE YOUR GOD AND YOU WILL BE MY PEOPLE"
Sermon #7 - God's Covenant of Grace with Noah - Genesis 6
INTRODUCTION - In God's Covenant of Grace with Adam, we saw how God immediately came to mankind in the Garden not just with judgment, but also with grace. The covenant with Man after the Fall is not to be seen as completely different from the first covenant before the Fall. Man is still called to love and obey the Creator. The ordinances of Sabbath, marriage and labor are still in effect. Yet now, if Man is going to be in covenantal relationship with God, there is going to have to be a Redeemer. The curse from the broken covenant must be taken by someone. Either man will die under the curse of the broken covenant, or someone will take that curse for him. Thus, we see that all in Christ Jesus, all who are in the Covenant of Grace, have the curse of the first covenant taken for them in Christ. All under the Covenant of Grace are brought back to a right relationship with their Creator. In Genesis 3:15 God establishes the war of the ages between the devil's seed and the people of God. The Gospel is a declaration of war against the devil and his offspring. Now we shall see how that war develops through the beginning of history, and how God expresses His attitude toward the devil's seed and His own purchased people.
1) WHAT DOES GOD GIVE AS A SIGN OF HIS GRACE AND MERCY TO ADAM AND EVE? - Genesis 3:21 - The sign of God's grace towards fallen Man is the clothing which He made for them as they left the Garden. Here is a token from God which seals His promises to Man. The state of Adam was one of shame and fear, for he was naked before the holy God (Genesis 3:10). This would not just involve his physical nakedness, but his spiritual exposure, as his sin becomes a disgrace and abomination to God. Note that it is God who makes the tunics for Adam and Eve. They will have no part in their salvation, like the clothing, their spiritual covering will be a complete work of God. With the provision of animals skins also came the shedding of blood, an anticipation of the great sacrifice made in Christ. Here is a beautiful picture of our salvation, completely carried out by the sovereignty and work of God, involving the shedding of blood. Both grace and judgment are seen in the animal skins. God graciously provides a covering for man's shame, but that covering will come through the death of another.
2) THE FORMATION OF THE TWO SEEDS AND THEIR BATTLE ESTABLISHED IN GENESIS 4 THROUGH 6 - In Genesis 3:15, God divided humanity into two lines. The Lord would redeem from the devil's seed a people for Himself. This people will be put under the Covenant of Grace and will not bear the curse of the Covenant of Works. As we read through the Scriptures, we will see the great battle between these two seeds developing. Even today, there is no neutrality between the church and the world. Both Old and New Testaments are filled with the clashes between the seeds. The first clash was between Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-8). Cain was of the wicked one while Abel had been redeemed by God (I John 3:12). The devil immediately enters into the war with God by using Cain to murder the seed of the woman. Has he succeeded in wiping out the line of God? Cain's genealogy is given to us (Genesis 4:16-18) showing us that the line of the serpent is prospering. Yet Eve gives birth to another son and we see the line of God also continuing (Genesis 4:25,26 and Genesis 5). The genealogies of Scripture are important, not just to show us the lineage of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also to help us keep in mind the development of these two lines through history. Genesis 6 and the flooding of the world will bring those two lines to a great climax.
3) GOD'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SEED OF THE DEVIL AND THE SEED OF THE WOMAN - Genesis 6:1-8
A) GOD'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SEED OF THE DEVIL - Since Genesis 3:15, it has been the plan of God to completely eradicate the seed of the serpent from His world. Here in Genesis 6 we see that it is God's intention to destroy sinful man from off the face of the earth with the flood. This is the attitude of judgment which will culminate in God casting the devil and his seed into the lake of fire forever. God does not love the devil's seed and we see evidences of this throughout Scripture. The Flood, Israel's destruction of the nations around her, the imprecatory Psalms which curse the enemies of God, and the final destruction in the lake of fire, all illustrate the great wrath which God has for sinners in rebellion against Him (Psalm 5:5; 11:5-7; John 3:46; Ephesians 5:5,6). Thus, we must tell sinners today that they are under the great wrath of God and if they do not repent and run to Christ, they will feel the full fury of His anger against them. God is determined to wipe the seed of Satan off the face of the earth. The Gospel is a message of both judgment and grace.
B) GOD'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SEED OF THE WOMAN - In Genesis 6:8 we are told that "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Noah is then described as a just man, perfect, walking with God (Genesis 6:9). Are we to suppose that Noah found grace because he was a just and righteous man? Not at all! Humanity in both the Old and New Testaments is no different. All have sinned, there is none righteous, none who does good or seeks for God, all are born the devil's seed, dead in trespasses and sins. Noah is no different. Noah could have been left with the rest of humanity. There was nothing in Noah which made him attractive to God. He is a child of the devil as we all are. We would have to say that Noah is just and righteous because he found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God chose him out of all of fallen humanity to carry forth His seed. God would renew the heart of Noah, taking him from the seed of the serpent, and would transform him into a seed of the woman, a child of God. Grace is unmerited mercy, and this is what Noah found in the eyes of the Lord. God graciously and mercifully saves him, making him just, righteous and holy. This is the attitude of God towards the seed of the woman. It is fully gracious, full of love and mercy, and God will protect His chosen man through the flood.
4) THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE DEVIL'S SEED AND THE SEED OF THE WOMAN - Genesis 6:1-5 - The phrases "sons of God" and "daughters of men" have been given all sorts of strange interpretations, yet we should simply realize that here are the two seeds again, the two lines of mankind. The sons of God represent the line of Seth, the woman's seed, while the daughters of men represent the devil's seed. Here we see an intermingling of the two lines as the people of God taken pagan wives in their homes. The result of this compromise is a generation of men whose hearts are only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). Unholy children are brought forth from these unions and the whole of humanity falls into apostasy. We should realize that this tactic is very much part of the war of Satan against God. If he cannot kill the people of God, he will infiltrate them with his own wicked people, thus bringing down his enemies. This is the tactic used later through Balaam, as Israel commits harlotry with the woman of Moab and the people begin to turn to idols. King Solomon was a man filled with the wisdom of God, yet he took pagan wives to himself and brought forth idolatry. Israel in the days of Ezra committed the same sin and polluted the line of God. Even within the church today we are warned of not bonding together with the seed of the serpent. This would be the cause of apostasy in the church. This blending of the two lines is the devil's attempt to bring down the people of God. In Genesis 6 the tactic proved profitable as the whole of the world fell into rebellion against the Lord. Noah lived in days of incredible compromise. Beloved, we should learn this lesson for the church today! The reason our country is in such a degenerate and wicked state is not because of the depravity of man for we have always had this. The world declines when the church declines. The church today has played the harlot with the world, compromising her doctrine, ignoring sin in her ranks, failing to teach her children the law of God, raising a generation of pagans in the church, preaching a watered-down Gospel, becoming like the world in her worship, and accumulating storytellers in the pulpit who tickler the ears of the listeners. The church has given her sons to the world and as a result we have become pagan. Instead, the church is called to build strong families, godly children, choosing godly mates for them, building holiness and doctrinal purity in the church, so that we might stand against the world. If we do not turn the tide against our compromises, Christ will come and take our candlestick away, and allow this generation to flourish in paganism, leading to judgment. Let us learn this great lesson in our battle with the devil's seed. Let us never compromise and marry the world around us. Instead, let us be holy and separate, for only then will we see the world brought into submission by the victorious church of God!