The Biblical account of Noah offers us many lessons concerning salvation and the grace of God.
God, looking upon a sinful world, resolved to punish mankind by destroying His creation with a flood, but Noah, being righteous, found grace in the eyes of the Lord so that the Lord worked to save him (cf. Genesis 6:8).
God’s salvation took the form of an ark, which God required Noah to build, thus demonstrating that grace does not preclude the necessity of obedience, but rather grace operates through our faith as we respond to God’s word; it is not our works that save us, but at the same time the disobedient clearly lack faith (cf. Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 3:18, 19).
More than being an object lesson concerning faith, the inspired account of Noah’s life also provides us with several illustrations typifying New Testament principles.
The flood, for instance, is a type of the judgment that God promises upon sinful men today and the New Testament uses it as such in more than one place. The apostle Peter, for instance, recalls the flood saying, “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:5-7)
When that judgment came, there was only a single place of refuge for mankind: inside the ark that Noah had built according to the design of God. All those outside the ark perished. Moreover, when God gave Noah the design for the ark, He specified that there be but a single door (Genesis 6:16); which door God Himself sealed when Noah entered the ark (Genesis 7:17). Such details become important as we realize that all that was written in the Old Testament was written for our admonition and instruction today (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:11).
There is today an antitype of the ark of safety in which Noah resided during the days of the Deluge. There is a place in which God will secure His people from the wrath that is to come, and that place is the Body of His only Begotten Son. Within the body of Christ there is salvation from judgment; outside there is condemnation and fire.
Of this, the Scriptures say, “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:11-13) adding, “that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross.” (Ephesians 2:16a)
This is why Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life … No man comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6) and “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved …”(John 10:9a). Just as there was only one door by which Noah could enter into salvation, there is only one way for us to enter into the place of life. We must go through Jesus and we must abide in Jesus.
So how does a man get into Christ? One final point then along these lines.
The Bible teaches, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13); saying also, “in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us — baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:20b-21)
God couldn’t be much clearer in making His point for those willing to search the Scriptures: We have an ark of safety today in the Body of Christ, which is the church, and we enter into that fold of safety through baptism into Christ.
If you are interested in learning more of this subject, we invite you to come study and worship with us at the Church of Christ, 197 Chapel Drive, Gallipolis. At the Church of Christ, we seek to serve God now that we might be with Him then, and to so serve, all of our lives.