Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Gospel in Genesis The Ark: The Doctrine of Glorification

One of the most fascinating stories in the entire Bible is that of Noah and the ark. It captures the attention and imagination of both young and old.

It is a story worth trusting . . . some find it difficult to accept Noah and the ark, but nothing in the Word of God is beyond our trust. “God writes with a pen that never blots, speaks with a tongue that never slips, acts with a hand that never fails” C.H. Spurgeon.

It is a story worth telling . . . to kids, adults and any interested student of the Bible. It is worth telling for a couple of reasons.

(1). It answers many scientific questions . . . which I address in my exposition of the book of Genesis, and,

(2). It answers many spiritual questions . . . which will be my focus in this post.

The story of Noah and the ark tells us how God took a people for himself, sheltered them from His righteous judgment, and brought them over to the other side into a brand new world.

Baptist theologian Wayne Grudem says glorification is "... the final step in the application of redemption. It will happen when Christ returns and raises from the dead the bodies of all believers for all time who have died, and reunites them with their souls, and changes the bodies of all believers who remain alive, thereby giving all believers at the same time perfect resurrection bodies like his own."

Glorification is the logical conclusion to the drama of God's redemptive plan.

Rather than focus on the details of the process of glorification (which are not abundant in Scripture), I desire to focus on God's faithfulness in effectually bringing His children to glory.

Again, the story of Noah and the ark can be seen as a "type" or a "picture" of God taking people through the judgment to a new world. The analogy will fall short if anyone tries to glean information about heaven by comparing it to the world after Noah's flood. Thought heaven is a common theme in the Bible, any description of heaven by the inspired writers is modest at best.

I think one of the reasons that God withholds information regarding heaven from His children is the same reason we hold dessert from our kids until after all the vegetables have been eaten. I remember one day being shown by my mother my favorite dessert, "oreo cookie ice cream pie," only to be told I could only have a piece once I ate all my vegetables. I took a great many shortcuts, including stuffing a couple of carrots in my pockets and the asparagus in the pot that held the plastic plant, in order quickly get to the dessert.

There is a glorious new world that awaits us on the other side of judgment, a world beyond our comprehension --- and it is guaranteed that we will arrive safely.

To those who say, 'But it is hard for me to see the concept of glory in the story of Noah and the ark," I would respond, "The glory is in the faithfulness of God to bring us to the other side." In every page of the Bible we are directed to the beautiful faithfulness of God.

Augustine said that the Scriptures once seemed rude, and unpolished, in comparison to Cicero’s adorned style, because he (Augustine) did not understand the Bible’s interiora (inward beauty). But when “my mind was illuminated to understand them, no writing appeared so wise or even eloquent.”

Let's see if our eyes can be opened a little to the beautiful type of God's faithfulness as seen in the flood.

I. THE FLOOD pictures God’s judgment upon those who rebel against Him . . .

“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming Son of man be” (Matt. 24:37). When Peter describes the coming judgment he compared it to the flood in Noah's day (II Peter 3:5). The day of wrath teaches us that . . .

(A). Man is accountable to God for his conduct . . .

“The wickedness of man was great . . . and the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created” (Gen. 6:7). God has the right to command His subjects, and He will righteously judge those who have rebelled against Him.

(B). God will punish (destroy) the man who rebels . . .

This destruction is both of the body and the soul. Jesus Himself describes this: “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

This punishment for sinners is receiving the unrestrained and unmitigated wrath of God. Jesus Himself urged his listeners to "Flee from the wrath to come." The flood that destroyed the world is Noah's day is the wrath of God poured out against the wicked, and it is a picture of the wrath of God which will be revealed against the wicked on the coming day of judgment.

II. THE ARK pictures God’s plan of salvation for sinners in need of deliverance . . .

There are at least seven types in the ark that point us to Jesus Christ and His work.

(A). God initiated and revealed the design for the ark . . . it was not man’s initiative. God told Noah how to build the ark. So it is with redemption. No man ever would have comprehended that God would come and die for sinners.

(B). The ark is made of gopher wood (v. 14) . . . it is called “cypress wood” in NIV. Cypress wood is called “eternal wood.” Modern excavators are dredging up cypress wood in the bottom of the Mediterranean. The wood is not rotten and is as hard as rock. That which secured life Noah was a tree. So too the Bible says, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, 'Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree'" (Galatians 3:13).

(C). The ark became a refuge from divine judgment (Gen. 7:1) . . . just as everyone in the ark was saved from God’s wrath, those who are in Christ are saved from wrath to come.

(D). The ark provided security because of the “pitch” (v.14) . . . the ark was made watertight by this “covering” of pitch. So too, the atonement of Christ covers us.

“Zetteth” is usually the word for "pitch" (tar) in the Bible, but here in Genesis the word translated pitch is the Hebrew word “kapher” --- translated 'atonement' in other places of the Bible. What seals us in Christ is His atonement or covering of our sins.

(E). The ark had one door (v. 16) . . . Jesus said, “I am the door” (John 10:9).

(F). The ark had one window (v. 16) . . . it was a high window, so one could not look out and see the corruption of the world. Our affections are to be on things above.

(G). The judgment fell on all not inside the ark . . . as it will on those without Christ. "Kiss the Son lest he be angry" (Psalm 2:12).

III. THE MAN who entered the ark pictures everyone who trusts Jesus Christ and is delivered to the other side of judgment.

God told Noah, “Make thee an ark.” God is saying to you, “Make thee an ark.”

He tells us how. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved (delivered)” (Acts 16:31).

As hymnwriter Ray Palmer wrote:

When ends life’s transient dream,
When death’s cold sullen stream over me roll;
Blest Savior, then in love, fear and distrust remove;
O bear me safe above, a ransomed soul!

We began this series by seeing because of Adam's rebellion every human is condemned by God. But then we saw that God sent the last Adam, Jesus Christ, to represent His people by bearing our sins. Just as we are condemned for the disobedience of one man, we are saved by the obedience of another Man.

We saw that the reason the death of Christ is our only hope is because a holy God must be propiated by the shedding of blood. "The wages of sin is death," and for a just God to be satisfied, a death must occur. God sent His Son as a propitiation for all who will believe on Him so that God might remain "just and the justifier of the ungodly."

We saw that when a person trusts in Christ he is treated by God "just-as-if-he-fully-obeyed" and is cared for by God every single day of His life, for He has been set apart for a Divine purpose (sanctified).

We close by rejoicing that heaven is a guarantee because when God places us "in Christ" He shuts the door, and it is Christ that carries us from this world to the next.

I hope you have enjoyed the series. Feel free to use the messages any way you desire.

In His Grace,


1 comment:

Writer said...


Once again, I enjoyed the post. I'm not as partial to allegory on which this sermon seems to depend, but your points are well taken.