By Timothy McCool
Heb. 11:7 says “By FAITH Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark TO THE SAVING OF HIS HOUSE; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”
Here is a tremendous lesson in properly dividing the word of truth (II Tim. 2:15).
Notice the progression:
1. Noah had FAITH. What is faith? Something you decide to “get” one day? No. Eph. 2:8-9: “For by GRACE ye are saved through FAITH; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: not of works lest any man should BOAST.” So Noah, how did you “get saved”? Noah says, It was not anything I did or a decision I made, but the GIFT of God.
2. Noah, who was given faith by God, was warned of things not seen yet (the coming flood).
3. Noah, acting on faith, which is the gift of God, MOVED with fear, prepared an ark
4. What was the result of this faith + warning + moving + preparation? SALVATION! But be careful, what kind of salvation is described?
The “saving of his house”. If you properly understand this, here we have a man who was given faith, warned, moved and prepared to save his house. Did you know this is the same word (save) that is used over and over again, sometimes referring to eternal salvation and sometimes referring to other things. If you read every “save” with an eternal life application, you can become very, very confused (as many are today). This is plainly teaching an active, saving faith that resulted in the PHYSICAL (NOT eternal) deliverance of Noah’s family. Is this the only place in the Bible that speaks of people with FAITH (the gift of God) SAVING their houses (homes and families)? Read these texts: Acts 10 & 11:14 (Cornelius saved his house); Acts 16:14-15 (Lydia’s house was saved through her action); Acts 16:30-33 (the Philippian jailer’s house was saved). Have you noticed yet how these “houses” were saved? Paul said to the jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, AND THY HOUSE.” Did Paul think that if the Philippian jailer believed in Jesus that his belief would eternally save his wife, children, etc.? Absolutely not.
So what phase of “salvation” is under consideration? Simple. I Pet. 3:21: “The like figure whereunto even BAPTISM doth also NOW SAVE US (NOT the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God)… And interestingly, who does Peter use in v. 20 to compare to the salvation found in baptism? Why Noah, of course! (…when once the longsuffering of God waited in the DAYS OF NOAH, wherein few, this is, eight souls were SAVED by water.)
Boy that’s simple isn’t it? God’s word is complete isn’t it? Noah’s faith (a gift) moved him to save his house, as did Cornelius, Lydia, and the Philippian jailer. I also make note that the book of Acts gives ample evidence that Cornelius, Lydia, and the Philippian jailer already were born again (read it above) when they experienced the phase of baptism salvation.
This sort of puts Acts 2:38-40 in a better light, doesn’t it? Are you saved in this way? If you have faith (the gift of God), are you moved with fear by the commands of God? Are you preparing for the saving of your house? One of the chief complaints I hear about our society is the erosion of the family. Here is a way you can prepare to save your house from destruction. Move on the faith God has given you and be baptized into His church. That’s what Cornelius did. That’s what Lydia did. That’s what the jailer did. They didn’t make a decision to go to heaven, they were already headed that way by the grace of God. They made a decision to demonstrate that faith that God had given them. Remember this, you can’t demonstrate that faith by clinging to false ideas of “working your way to heaven” or “accepting Christ” (which is nowhere found in the Bible). It’s time that we had faith like Noah, that moves us to believe God’s word and follow Him.
Continuing in His word,
Elder Tim McCool