|The Noahic Covenant - the space to be|
Gen 6:1,2 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
Gen 6:4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
We often quickly go passed the story of the flood and assigned it to folklore for it just doesn't make sense why God could be seemingly so cruel. We focused instead on the rainbow, being the covenant of grace. However, the impact of the flood left a profound mark on mankind and religious faiths.
Firstly, God is indeed a covenant God. He works on the basis of covenants whether conditional or unconditional, each with two parties, an initiator and a receipient with applicability requirements. There are four major covenants in the bible:-
Noahic covenant - Unconditional, applicable to humanity
Abrahamic covenant - Unconditional, applicable to Jews
Mosaic covenant - Conditional, applicable to humanity
Gospel - Unconditional, applicable by faith
In the Noahnic Covenant, God refrained from a generalised judgement because of grace. In the Mosaic Covenant, He instituted judgement to those failing His religious laws of morality. In the Abrahamic Covenant, God proclaimed blessings and redemption upon the Jews. In the Gospel, the Abrahamic Covenant is extended to the Gentiles and expanded to include both the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
The Gospel is an unconditional covenant. Here, the Love of God initiated a covenant where Jesus gave His life for us and we enter into this covenant by accepting this life and entering into a blood exchange, His life for our life, His righteousness to replace ours. In essence, Jesus took our place at the Cross, took our punishment for our sins.
Salvation is by grace, totally undeserved hence an unconditional covenant. However, it is only applicable if we made a choice to apply and accept it into our lives ie to sign on the agreement by essentially giving up our old life through the waters of baptism and aligned themselves with Jesus Christ. Christianity is by choice and not something innate such as our sexual orientation.
When we insist that being gay is a lifestyle choice, we are de-emphasising the fact that it was religion that is a choice and not what you have been born as.
Even though God loves us who we are, we are not saved or a child of God in His kingdom until we make a decision of faith to enter in through the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ. In essence, it is a blood exchange, His blood for our blood. Hence, the communion, we partake His life giving blood as a reminder of Christ' death for us. It is to take on His life.
The above 4 covenants are interlinked, each preceeded with a major historical and spiritual event which led to the covenant. They build upon each other. Noah's Ark is a type of Christ, they went through the waters of baptism through the flood. The Abrahamic Covenant was sealed in Jerusalem after Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice to God, a pre-cursor to the sacrifice of God's only Son, Jesus Christ.
The Mosaic Covenant at Mt Sinai was more a curse of the 10 commandments which could never be fully borned by mankind of which punishment is death which Jesus suffered on our behalf at Calvary when we exchange our live for His by faith at Calvary. Prior to the Mosaic Covenant, they went through the Red sea of parting waters, in essence baptism. As Christians, our faith is annouced through the symbolic baptism of water and declaration of faith where our sins are washed clean.
We are often afraid of a "binary" God, but often, we are either in the vessel of grace, in Noah's ark or out of the vessel of redemption. The grace of God was there for the people to repent. The flood didn't come over night. Noah's ark was built in the time span of 100 years. God was not a "cruel" God. He was a God of love and had forwarned that disaster was coming. Noah was God's grace to mankind.
In addition to the one hundred years countdown it took Noah to build the Ark, Noah's grand father was Methusaleh whose name can be translated as "his death shall bring". He was the longest living person as 969 years of age. God extended his age because of grace not willing that the flood should come. His death was tied to the coming of the flood.
Today, are you in Christ or outside, are you in the vessel of grace or outside. God is a god of love, and notice was given for 100 years before the flood. In fact, they knew the flood was coming because Methusaleh factor was the countdown and so they had 1000 years of countdown. Yet they took the grace of God for granted. Many of us are presumptuous on the love of God and take it for granted that God will not destroy, yet He bidst us to enter the vessel of His redeeming grace in Jesus Christ. We all have to pass through the waters into the vessel of grace.
The Noahic Covenant reminds us that we all have choices to make to be inside or outside the vessel of Jesus Christ. We may mock at Noah, and even deny that a God a love would initiate a flood. But when the flood did come, the doors to the ark closed and along with redemption. There is a period of Grace whilst the ark remained opened, and the rainbow after the rain reminds us that we are now in a period of grace.
In this period of grace, we have space to be. In return, if we are truly people of faith then we should be giving space to people not like us. The majority has crowded out the space for the margins of society those who are weak, minorities with no one to stand up for. We have given very little space to the GLBT community and its time we reflect on God's covenant of grace that we too may have a heart of grace and mercy that there need not be another flood.
We are to give maximum space for people to live, and have their being according to their faith beliefs as long as it doesn't cause harm and they don't seek to impose their faith on others. This is rare for in many countries religious fear takes over and gays are put to death or in prisons. We have forgotten the God of the Rainbow, the God of grace.