Letters from Neil | May 1st, 2020

Redemption AZ / May 31, 2020
covid-19, salt

May 1, 2020

Good morning Salties,

Yesterday was an overwhelmingly wonderful day for me. I was surprised by a parade of Salties and others from our church to wish me a happy birthday. It was amazing. Thank you to those who participated physically and in spirit and for the thoughtful gifts. 

Today we’ll finish Genesis 7 by looking at the total devastation from the flood in verses 17-24. After God shuts Noah, his family and animals in the ark, verse 17 says the flood continued for 40 days on the earth. This is a purposeful act of judgment. God’s wrath may come slowly as he gives the opportunity for repentance but it is certain. Judgment must be meted out to unrepentant sinners who reject God’s grace. Just as certain is God’s one way of salvation, by grace through faith in Jesus. God’s way in Noah’s day was only one door into the ark. It wasn’t glamorous, certainly not the kind of luxury cruise ship I love. It was crowded, hot and smelly, bot at all appealing by the world’s standard but it was sufficient. Much like how Isaiah describes the coming Messiah in 53:2-3. The salvation of the ark was instructive. God’s way is not always the glamorous way we want. There is suffering, heartache and pain yet His alone is the way of deliverance, peace and joy.

It is clear from the description of the flood in vs 11 & 17-24 that this was a universal flood. 2 Peter 3:6 says “the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.” In Genesis 7, we not only find the word “all” being used repeatedly, but we also find “all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered,” “the waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet,“ and “every living thing that moved on the earth perished.” These descriptions clearly describe a universal flood covering the whole earth. Also, if the flood was localized, why did God tell Noah to build an ark instead of just telling him to move and then make the animals migrate? Why would God tell Noah to build an ark large enough to house all of the different kinds of land animals found on the earth unless the flood was global? Finally, in Luke 17:26-30 Jesus says this flood is a type or picture of the universal judgment to come.

In 1 Peter 3, Peter says that this flood is a picture of what our baptism symbolizes. Of course, baptism doesn’t save us but it symbolizes the cleansing from sin we receive in our Lord Jesus as we enter the water of baptism. The preservation in the ark of those who believed God is analogous to the salvation believers have in Christ. John MacArthur says it this way “Peter here uses baptism to refer to a figurative immersion into Christ as the ark of safety that will sail over the holocaust of judgment on the wicked.” We are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17,) old things have passed away; our old priorities, beliefs and perspectives are now His thanks to the saving and regenerating work of our Lord.

Praise the Lord, Neil