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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

April 27, 2018

"Sealed" against the consequences of sin

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Noah lived in a world that had completely turned away from God. The world's sinful ways meant rebellion and violence (Genesis 6:11). The situation had gotten so bad that God had to hit the "restart button" via the flood.

How was Noah to be spared the consequences of the sinful world he lived in? He had to do his part and build the ark, according to the dimensions God has given him. He was also to cover the outside of the ark with pitch to make it watertight. Noah did what God told him, not only in his normal way of life (Genesis 6:8-9), but also concerning everything that God had told him to do in preparing for the flood: "Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did" (Genesis 6:22).

But despite his efforts Noah could not totally guarantee that he and his family would be spared the consequences of sin – death via the flood. The ark had a weak point: its entry door, perhaps something like a large gate. We can imagine the effort Noah had to put the door in its place after the last animal had entered the ark. But the ark was not totally covered with pitch at the door, because Noah was now in the ark. So God "sealed" the ark so no water could get in via the door frame: "The Lord shut him in" (Genesis 7:16). God made sure that Noah would survive the flood.

When God calls us, we realize that we have "earned" the death penalty with our sins. He wants us to spare us those consequences. And like Noah we have our part to do. We have to change our way of thinking and acting to conform with God's standards. But in so doing we can't save ourselves. Just like with the door of the ark, God's intervention is necessary. "In Him [Christ] you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the holy spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance" (Ephesians 1:13-14).

God "shut him in". Did Noah realize what was happening? I think so. Are we always aware of the great privilege to be "sealed with the holy spirit of promise"? That spirit is our guarantee that we will inherit eternal life (Romans 8:11) – that we will spared "the wages of sin", because "the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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