As we considered Noah’s faith in our last post, we learned he lived his faith out in setting himself apart from the world he lived in, as well as setting himself wholly apart to God and for his purpose (basic definition of sanctification.) The result of his obedience was to increase the disdain the world had against Noah and all that he loved and lived for. Today we will discover that the expression of our faith is seen in the same Noah’s was apparent: in our being be set apart from the world and set apart unto God. The Christian’s lived out experience of faith creates an environment and experience with the world, that is not that different than the experience of Noah.
*If you have not read part 1 of this series click this link The Look and result of Noah’s Faith I
CALLED TO BE SET APART FROM THE WORLD
When we first discussed Noah, in the last blog, we discovered that before the call to build the ark, for the purpose of being saved from the coming judgment, Noah was already separated from the world. From His great grandfather to his grandfather, and father (Enoch, Methuselah and Lamech), Noah’s family avoided worldly entanglements. Enoch’s vision of the coming judgment, as well as his vision of the judgment at Christ’s return, was the word of God they all held onto in faith. Therefore they obeyed God’s call to seek Him, and make atonement for their sins. They lived a life seeking to be obedient to the Creator and were justified by faith.
We, in Christ, are called to the same. When we believe that our sin was laid upon the Lamb of God Jesus Christ (when He was tortured and crucified), as our final all sufficient Atonement, we are called to repent. This repentance is seen in the continual action of our setting ourselves apart from the world. Once more this is not saving ourselves, but being saved by grace, through faith in who Jesus is and what He accomplished in His cross and resurrection. Yet, if our is faith is real, it is not passive but actively obeying Christ, as He leads us; first in setting ourselves apart from the world.
For Noah, his decision caused him to stick out like a sore thumb. As the only man considered righteous by faith, in his generation, he must have looked as out of place as an Amish horse and buggy trotting down the middle of 5th Avenue in New York City. Noah’s standing out as different is not any different than what we are called too in Christ. Consider some scriptural truth.
1 John 2:15-17 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:2 For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
What does perfecting holiness in the fear of God look? It looks like a person whose desire and choices lead growing more separated from the world system and its influence daily–and not being led by your flesh (old man) or being knocked over in temptation, being fooled by the devil. Remember that last one is not necessarily a temptation to be overtly perverse, commit a murder or inject heroine. Big falls come because of a series of little compromises with what may be lawful, but is not expedient to grow in holiness or in faith (I Corinthians 6:12).
Let’s massage this a bit further with another often overlooked passage of scripture.
1 Peter 4:1-5 1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. 5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
In light of this let us consider the general status of affairs for a person who will not waffle on the issue of life, when it comes to abortion or euthanasia–or the person who refuses to make adjustments to God’s view of human sexuality–or speaking that Jesus is their Savior, even if they don’t know fully what that means. Consider these dear folks won’t be party to lewd conduct, or drunkenness, or the working to live their life to their own design of pleasure and comfort. Even though all these things can be done in relative silence, without open testimony, the world still sees those choosing God’s moral path as weirdo’s and irritants. That being said don’t be a silent witness to Christ. Even if you say nothing, if we don’t partake in the world, even our silence infuriates them. Yet, the meaning of our being set apart from the world goes deeper.
Consider the person, who does not get riled up or involved in any political anxiety or arguing–a person who is not waiting to run to the theater for the next blockbuster that is not rated R–a person who does not care nor orders his life around sports or entertainment–a believer in Christ who cares nothing for Facebook or media platforms–a person who does not have a smart phone because of the risk of time wasting, distractions or falling into sin (Ephesians 5:15-17)–a person who’s only connection to the world is to see it through the word of God, treating it as an infectious disease, he does not want to contract, but desires others to be healed from.
You show me a person like that and I’ll show you one, who like Noah, is set apart from the world. I’ll also show you one who is even ostracized in the church in these United States, as being one to avoid as legalistic, when nothing could be further from the truth. When we, like Noah, make the choice to live for Christ setting ourselves apart from the world, we do not get to decide what we want to commune, fellowship or link with. Because in addition to being set apart from the world, we are called to be set apart unto God and His purpose alone.
CALLED TO BE SET APART TO GOD AND HIS PURPOSE COMPLETELY
Hebrews 11:7 7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
For well over one hundred years, Noah not only preached of judgment to come, but built an ark, as a visible sign that those who chose to live apart from God would meet His wrath, in the flood. For many of us, being totally set apart to God for 10 minutes is a major impossibility, but can you imagine the self-discipline Noah exercised, for over 100 years, doing God’s without one convert to your cause? This means that every day, he did what God commanded, as a 24/7 over a loud speaker message of condemnation.
In Christianity in America we go out of our way to convince people of God’s love, with out the bloody cross, without speaking about sin and without speaking of the coming judgment. Some would declare, “we preach God’s love” and I would say Amen, but that must be seen through the blood stained cross of Christ. One of the chief means to understand that love, is to know what we are being saved from: an eternal flood of God’s wrath rightly executed against those who reject God’s totally sufficient and true ark; the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:18-22 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
Simply put, Noah’s ark, points to God’s true ark: the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is an anti-type or an action that sufficiently illustrates the redeemed person has come through God’s wrath (signified by water of baptism); by repentance and placing their life and eternity in Christ, by faith. We could spend hours discussing the significance of this truth, but for our purpose it is enough to say, that every truly redeemed person is also to be set apart to God and for His purposes completely. Simply being in Christ, like Noah’s actions to build and get into the ark, pronounces the world around us as condemned.
Therefore, being in Christ is not a mere profession that I have been saved, but a life in which its actions reveal the full message of the gospel. This begins for most with baptism. Consider that in Iran, if one begins to look for information of Christ Jesus or even attend a bible study, they are generally left alone. The moment one gets baptized, they literally have potential for imprisonment, torture or death. Why? Their lives, now seen by the world as being in Christ, brings condemnation on Islam’s satanic message of death. With hatred they respond, as Jesus told us the world responds to any who follow Him in truth.
We are the message of condemnation against them, because they love darkness rather than light (John 3:17-20). As we consider this, during Resurrection Sunday weekend, let us grasp the weight of the life and words of the One, who more than Noah, was set apart; our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 15:18-22 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
We are not of the world. Let all who would claim to be children of God in Christ Jesus, commit to live like Jesus, submitting the outcome our master prophesied and in joy rejoicing that we are counted to stand out and suffer if need be for His sake (Acts 5:41). Jesus alone is worthy and the world still needs the good news our message brings: That God’s wrath is near and upon all who live apart from Christ, but His mercy is found in Christ Jesus, the TRUE and LIVING ARK.