Formations lesson for Aug. 28: Repairing Relationships with the World : Friday, Aug. 12, 2005
August 12 2005 by Haven Parrott

Formations lesson for Aug. 28: Repairing Relationships with the World : Friday, Aug. 12, 2005
Friday, Aug. 12, 2005

Formations lesson for Aug. 28: Repairing Relationships with the World

By Haven Parrott
Focal passage: Genesis 9:1-17

Rain Restrained, Sin Remains

Regarding God's flood, there's bad news and good news.

The bad news is that the genocide of all but eight of earth's sinners didn't exterminate sin on earth.

The good news is, God never expected that it would. He cherished no unrealistic notion that the elimination of most sinners would somehow cure the ones He spared. This is made plain in Genesis 8:21 when, after closing the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky, God reminds Himself "that the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth."

He was not surprised, therefore, by Noah's drunkenness or by Ham's satisfaction in Noah's nakedness or by the building of a tower of power on the plain in Shinar, or by any of the countless number of unrecorded post-Flood sins of Noah and his kin.

No, the point of the flood wasn't the washing away of sin. The preservation of even one sin-stained soul would have rendered that purpose ineffective.

If God's primary purpose had been to wipe out sin He would've wiped out humanity. He didn't, and that leaves me grateful to be wondering why He didn't.

From a human standpoint, annihilation of sin would be an understandable reason, a justifiable reason, for a just God, a God who hates sin, to send a flood that eliminated thousands upon thousands of sinners. Yet we know God knew the flood wouldn't even begin to make a dent in the sin problem, so the purpose of the flood must've been even bigger than the eradication of sin.

What on earth could be more important to a holy, pure, righteous, just God than the eradication of corruption, impurity, unrighteousness, and injustice?

Beyond the Rainbow

God declares the end from the beginning, "and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'" (Is. 46:10)

Or, as John Piper put it, "God runs history from the future" in order to accomplish His purpose for creation in general and humans created in His image in particular: for the earth to be filled with the knowledge of His glory (Is. 43:7, Hab. 2:14).

To completely destroy all those created in His image would have been a surrendering of His primary purpose. Eradicating sin by destroying sinners leaves no one to behold, no one to have knowledge of or fill the earth with the mind-boggling glory of a God who is so committed to Himself that He will not allow His hatred of sin to thwart His purpose for sinners.

And so He hung a rainbow over Noah and his descendants as an umbrella of protection from Himself, from the wrath they deserved but wouldn't get because God is marvelously unfair in our favor, for His glory.

It takes a big God, a wonderfully terrible God to destroy sinners. It takes an even bigger God, a terribly wonderful God to spare sinners while maintaining His own righteousness.

Long before the flood, He knew exactly what would be required to uphold His commitment to His glory: instead of destroying all the sinners He would destroy His only Son. The washing away of sin would be accomplished not with water but with blood.

God made His covenant with Noah with a view to, and from, the cross, for all the promises of God are in Christ, "wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us." (1 Cor. 1:20)

Since rainbows are the result of rain falling while the sun shines, perhaps the covenant sign Noah beheld was the result of the falling of God's tears for His Son's shining sacrifice.

8/12/2005 12:00:00 AM by Haven Parrott | with 0 comments

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