The writer of Hebrews says it was Noah’s building the ark that justified God in bringing the flood on the world of the ungodly.
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 (Heb. 11.7).
Now, when God destroyed the old world with that devastating flood He was not being mean to a bunch of nice people. We are told that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6.5). In other words the sin of Adam had come to a fullness. And we are told that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Pt. 2.5), and that it was those who “were disobedient” who suffered the consequences of their own disobedience (1 Pt. 4.20). God is just in all His ways. He had called for repentance. He had made provision for salvation. It was rejected.
And it was Noah’s building the ark that condemned the world. Every board he fitted, every nail he pounded, passed sentence upon a guilty world. Noah in building the ark was working out his own salvation, you might say. But at the same time he was passing sentence on the world. For, his building the ark demonstrated that God had provision for salvation in a wicked world. It demonstrated that a man could be righteous in God’s sight—with the righteousness of faith. Noah had heard from God. He responded to what He was hearing. God gave him clear instructions on how he was to build the ark. He built it by faith. Thus he became heir of the righteousness that is by faith. The ark became a testimony, then, that condemned the world. It provided God with just cause to bring in the flood. Noah’s building the ark demonstrated that God had provided a way for sinners to be saved.
Just as the Atonement does—the cross and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we saw last time, the flood of Noah’s day, and the ark of his salvation through it all, speaks of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We usually view what happened at Calvary from the salvation side of it, and rightly so. But Christ’s life and death also became God’s condemnation of an evil world. Notice what Jesus said as a result of His perfectly pure walk on earth:
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
He that hateth Me hateth My Father also.
If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father (Jn. 15.22-24).
The thing that was unique about Jesus’ words and works was that it was actually the Father who was being revealed in all He said and did. No one could pretend they loved Jehovah when at the same time they hated Jehovah’s Son. And so the way people reacted toward Jesus stripped them of their cloak. His righteousness was the revelation of the righteousness of the Father, and therefore became the thing that condemned those who hated the Son.
Just as Noah’s preaching convicted the unbelieving world, so Christ’s testimony convicted those who hated Him. He too, like Noah, was a Preacher of righteousness. It was not He they hated, but His righteous Father. He convicted them of the sin that had been hidden in their hearts. This is what He accomplished in His life and walk.
Further, He “prepared an ark” of salvation through His death and resurrection. Christ on Calvary was preparing an Ark to the saving of His house—the household of faith. The cross of Christ provided salvation for the world. All who enter this Ark enjoy this salvation. At the same time the cross condemned the world. For God has provided a Way now for man to escape from the clutches of sin and the wrath of God that is reserved for the disobedient. He has dealt with the sin of man and provided a way for us all to be righteous.
And so just as Noah’s building the ark condemned the world, when Christ was crucified at Calvary God was pronouncing judgment upon the whole world. It was the end of the world as far as God was concerned, the end of the world of sinful man and all he has built up—all his works, all his institutions, everything he has brought forth in order to build a world that centres upon himself and leaves God out. For, Christ became an “ark” of salvation, a way of salvation, a way of escape from sin and its consequent judgment, to all who receive Him.
Nevertheless—and this is important—it is not till the Gospel of this salvation goes forth that God is just in bringing judgment. God calls men to enter His Ark of salvation. This is what hearing the Gospel is all about. You wonder, then, to what extent this is presently taking place. To what extent does the world around us hear the clear Gospel of Jesus Christ these days?
To what extent do they see it? This is the thing that has gripped me for many years. Hearing the Gospel is one thing. What about seeing the Gospel? “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Lk. 3.6). This, I believe, is what God is preparing in this hour. I believe God is preparing to reveal the Ark of His salvation in this hour. How? By building that Ark of salvation into the lives of His people! Only then is God finally justified in bringing His judgments forth. God would not be just in judging the world if there were not clear proof before their very eyes of His provision to escape sin and judgment. He must bring upon people the conviction of sin that Jesus spoke of—and the conviction of righteousness He spoke of, and the conviction of judgment. Before God can judge, people are going to have to look at Christians and be convicted that God has wrought righteousness– the very righteousness of Christ– in those who were former sinners.
This is the work of the Comforter—the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that “when He is come He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jn. 16.8). Not only concerning sin, but concerning righteousness. The Paraclete—that One whose Presence means Christ Himself has been called alongside you and I—will convict the world of righteousness! He will demonstrate before the eyes of the world that these ones in whom He dwells are righteous with the Righteous One who has gone to the Father—and is yet still with us. They will see our Righteousness before their very eyes, and be convicted.
And they will realize they are totally without excuse. Now they will have no cloak for their sin. For right before their eyes God has revealed that there is provision to walk before Him in perfect righteousness totally free of sin. Those who see this will either repent… or be filled with a fearful forboding of judgment. This is what Paul told the Philippians. He said their adversaries, when they saw the Gospel peace and security the Philippians enjoyed—they had no fear in the midst of their persecutions—this was an evident token of their own perdition.
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God (Phil. 1.28).
Yes, it was all accomplished at Calvary. But it is when the work of Calvary is fulfilled in the saints by the Holy Spirit that God is justified in releasing His judgments.
Even now every believer in Jesus is a testimony of a condemned world. For, Christ at Calvary in saving sinners out of the world condemned the world. Every believer who believes in Jesus is making a statement—that the Cross of Jesus Christ condemned this world—that this is a world under a sentence that was written at Calvary… but has not yet been fully carried out.
This “statement” is going to get louder and louder as the work of the Holy Spirit grows more pronounced in the lives of believers, and the holiness and righteousness of Christ is revealed in us. Noah’s building the ark condemned the world and brought in the flood. Our own walk can hasten the coming of the day of God. And the sentence of Calvary will be carried out.
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation (conduct) and godliness,
Looking for and hasting unto (that is, expecting and hastening) the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (2 Pt. 3.12,13).
God has prepared a Day in which He will deal with all evil, all wickedness and sin and iniquity and rebellion. We can hasten that Day, beloved. The implication is that we can cause its delay. Let us not be the cause of its delay. Have we not seen enough of the pain and suffering that wickedness has caused in this troubled little planet we live in?