Monday, October 26, 2009

To Save the World

Yesterday, our pastor talked about the state of the human race that precipitated the flood. Evil in the world, total depravity of man, everybody's thoughts only evil continually.

Sounds like us, doesn't it?

None righteous, no, not one, right?

"But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 6:8).

If there are none righteous, no, not one, how did Noah find favor in the eyes of the Lord?

To say that Noah "found favor" in the eyes of the Lord has always implied, to me at least, that Noah *did* something that caused God to look favorably on him.

Well, he was righteous, right? He made good choices (like I do). I bet it was Noah's good choices that made God stand up and take notice, right?

This has always puzzled me. OT people going to heaven, unbelievers making good choices, my propensity to believe my actions, good or bad, have bearing on my purity or lack thereof.

Then our pastor explained an itty bitty (super gargantuan) detail that crystallized my murky vision. He said that in Genesis 6:8, the Hebrew word translated "favor" actually means "grace." And the Hebrew word translated "found" actually means "appeared."

Grace appeared to Noah in the eyes of the Lord. God decided to make grace appear in Noah's life. God's grace did not appear to Noah because Noah was righteous. Noah was righteous because God's grace appeared to him.

And God made grace appear to Noah for a specific purpose. God's purpose. Which was what?

To save the world.

God graciously imputed righteousness to Noah for God's glory, for God's purpose, for God's kingdom.

It's the same with you and me. We don't receive favor from God because we do good things. We do good things because we have already received favor, or rather grace, from God.

And why did we receive grace from God? Because He loves us, yes. But it's love with a purpose. His purpose. Which is what, again?

To save the world.

Are you getting this? Every good thing you do is a direct result of God's grace having appeared to you. For His glory. To accomplish His plan to save the world.

Every good thing you do is righteousness that God allowes to be manifested in your life. That's grace.

When I got what the pastor was saying, I cried happy, grateful tears for twenty minutes because suddenly, my life mattered. My mundane life of chores and snotty noses, fibro pain and hirsutism, joblessness and uncertainty... it all matters. And not just a little. It matters a lot. It matters in a cosmic, saving-the-world kind of way. Worth dying for.

And worth living for.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. ~Titus 2:11-14