As we descended farther into the cave, the natural light grew dimmer until the only light that reached our eyes was artificial. It was then that the tour guide gathered us and had all light extinguished. As our eyes scoured our surroundings for light, a small match was produced. When the match head ignited, the whole room seemed filled with light. So it is that in the midst of great darkness, the smallest hint of light shines like the brightness of the sun.
Following the first sin in the garden, mankind’s relationship with God changed swiftly and drastically. The first murder was committed by Cain against his own brother (Genesis 4). It was not long before “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5 ESV). Imagine a world where every thought is bent toward wickedness, and every deed is depraved.
This is the generation among whom Noah lived. A generation whose obscene conduct caused God to be grieved (Genesis 6:6). A generation whose darkness caused God to want to start all over. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8), for Noah was a “righteous man” (Genesis 6:9).
How does one live a righteous life? The descriptions of Noah in Genesis 6:9 and Genesis 6:22 help us to understand generally what it means to be a righteous person.
Noah was forgiven
“Noah was…blameless in his generation.” Abraham was called to follow God and be blameless (Genesis 17:1). The people of God were to live in the promised land “blameless before the LORD” (Deuteronomy 18:13). Job was declared to be blameless (Job 1:1). To be blameless does not mean sinless. We know that only Jesus lived a life free from sin. God’s forgiveness allows men to be without blame. David claims, “I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt” (2 Samuel 22:24). Being free from guilt is a gift from God that allows one to be blameless. Noah was blameless because Noah was forgiven.
Noah had fellowship with God
“Noah walked with God.” This statement was made previously about Enoch. For over 300 years Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:22). A life is often referred to as a “walk” (see Ephesians 4:1, 17; Colossians 1:10, et al.). To walk with God means to have a life of fellowship with God. Fellowship denotes a close relationship with someone, a sharing in something. When we have fellowship with God, we have fellowship with all those who are walking with God (1 John 1:3). “God is light” (1 John 1:5), and when we walk in and with him (1 John 1:7), we have fellowship with him.
Noah was faithful
When God commanded Noah to prepare for something he had never seen, Noah was obedient to all that God commanded him (Genesis 6:22). Though Noah had never seen what God warned him about, he knew God. Noah’s faith was built on the firm foundation of God’s character. His faith was informed by the life he lived in fellowship with the Creator. Thus, Noah was careful to do all that God commanded him. Through his obedience Noah “became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).
While our world is not as dark as Noah’s, we too must “shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). The light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4) must not be hidden, but must be proclaimed to all the world (see Matthew 5:16).
Do you wish to be a righteous man or woman? Find forgiveness in Christ, have fellowship with God, and live faithfully.