“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7, AV)
Shortly after the Lord saved me in 1983, a group of guys in the office were planning a fishing trip for Sunday and asked if I wanted to go. My answer was no and stated that Sunday morning was when I would be at my church’s worship service. Their response caught me off guard. One said, “Why would you want to do that?” His response demonstrates that true faith distinguishes the believer from the unbelieving world. Often the unbeliever will see true believers as kind of weird. While this is so, there are many other ways in which the true believer is distinguished.
The author of Hebrews speaks of Noah as a distinguished man of faith in this chapter. In Genesis 6-7, we read about Noah. It was a wicked time when man’s intentions were only on evil continually (Gen 6:6). This grieved the Lord and He determined to destroy life on earth (v6-7). Yet, Noah among all found favor with the Lord because he was righteous before God and walked with God (v8). This brings us to the first way that true faith distinguishes a person. Faith marks them as a righteous person and they stand out as different from others around them.
The next thing that distinguishes those of true faith is that they hear from the Lord. The Lord spoke to Noah about the coming destruction and gave him specific instructions regarding the building of the ark to escape. God speaks and believers listen. Today the Lord speaks to us from His word, the Bible.
Third, those of true faith are distinguished because they not only hear from the Lord, but they are obedient to what He says. Noah demonstrated this by doing everything the Lord instructed him to do (Gen 6:22). If he was an unbeliever, he would have been like the rest and scoffed at God’s directions.
Fourth, the Lord saves true believers from destruction. Remember that the Lord shut them into the ark when the flood waters came (Gen 7:16). In the same way, the Lord places true believer in Christ by the ministry of the baptism of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:13).
Fifth, the true believer has a unique purpose in God’s redemptive program. God used Noah to save life on earth. Noah’s obedient action preserved life. The Lord has a purpose for all true believers in His redemptive work. It will not be the exact same as Noah’s, but it will be a very important part as every believer serves using his or her unique gifts in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Sixth, those of true faith stand in condemning the world. I imagine that those around him viewed Noah as being very peculiar. He walked with God in righteousness (Gen 6:9) and he was obedient to God by building the ark and collecting the animals. The fact that he was devout and the rest of humanity was not spoke in condemning their unrighteousness. Similarly, our walk of faith today stands out to those around us. While they may think we are weird, our righteous walk condemns their unrighteous lives.
Last, true believers become heirs of righteousness. The author of Hebrews indicated that Noah “became an heir of righteousness.” Our destiny is eternally secured. Our righteousness has been imputed to us by faith in Jesus Christ alone and it shall never be taken from us. Every true believer is distinguished by the Lord.