Summary: Noah portrays for us how we are to walk by faith.
We're going to look at Old Testament characters and talk about the character traits portrayed by each that God wants to develop in us as His children. The theme of this series is simple: God seeks to stretch us to go beyond our comfort zone so He can grow our character.
In life, there are two zones to live in. One is the “comfort zone”. It's safe. It doesn’t require a lot of courage or faith or obedience. We can hang back and settle down in the comfort zone. The problem is that the comfort zone is a “no growth zone”. You may think the worst that can happen is the longer you stay, the more you remain the same.
But actually, the longer you stay, the less you stay the same, because you atrophy into something less. Either we're growing stronger in the development of Christ-like character, or we are growing weaker. So what needs to happen is that we need to stretch ourselves out of our comfort zone and get into the other zone, the “character zone”.
The character zone isn't always safe. But it’s in the character zone we experience the growth God wants for us. It’s there God can develop our character to reflect that of His Son. It’s only in the character zone that we find significance and are enabled to partner with God to build His kingdom and make a difference in our world.
In this character tour of the Old Testament, we'll see how God stretched folks in order to develop Christ-like character in each of them. Today, we begin with Noah, who is a portrait of faith.
1. Noah had a personal faith - v. 8
In some translations, the word "favor" is translated "grace." Indeed, grace is unmerited favor; it's getting something we don't deserve. Noah benefited from God's grace - that is only accessed by a personal faith.
"Through our faith, Christ has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy." - Romans 5:2a (Easy to Read)
At this point, it might be helpful to explain the differences between Old Testament and New Testament salvation. Some mistakenly believe Old Testament believers were saved through observing the law of Moses or through offering animal sacrifices. No. Old Testament believers were saved the same way that New Testament believer are saved, through personal faith in the Messiah and His complete sacrifice for our sin that provides forgiveness.
Old Testament believers were saved through faith in the promised Messiah who would come. New Testament believers are saved through faith in the promised Messiah who has come - Jesus.
For New Testament believers, salvation is like a gift certificate: it's already paid for, we just need to accept it and cash in on it. For Old Testament believers, salvation was like credit - they received it before it was paid for.
Old Testament believers were pointed to the cross through what was foretold (Genesis 3:15) and foreshadowed (animal sacrifices & the law). New Testament believers are pointed to the cross through what we are told in the New Testament and the historical reality of Jesus. Old Testament believers were saved by looking forward to the cross, while New Testament believers are saved by looking back to the cross.