THE LAW OF FIRST MENTION: GRACE


Life in the Garden of Eden was ... spectacularly, marvelously, perfectly ... perfect! And then it wasn’t. Sin entered creation, and with sin, death.

The fifth chapter of Genesis is a genealogical record of mankind from Adam to Noah, ten generations spanning two millennia. Sadly, God’s beautiful creation spun quickly out of control, until God said, “My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt” (Genesis 6:3, CSB). In fact, 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).

Sin, like a cruel and aggressive cancer spread throughout Adam’s offspring. No one was exempt from the ravages of the sin and shame. No one!

So, God decreed His judgment! “When the Lord saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved. Then the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I created, off the face of the earth, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky—for I regret that I made them’ ” (Genesis 6:5–7, CSB).

Did you get that? God said, “I will wipe them out!”

In the very next verse, we read that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8, NKJV).

That’s the first mention of grace.

To this point in the Biblical record, we see nothing special about Noah’s life. Nothing. There is sin everywhere and in everyone... then God showers Noah with grace.

By definition, grace is God’s undeserved favor granted to mankind. Man doesn’t deserve it. God gives it as a gift. That’s grace. God was gracious to Noah.

Now, the next verse reads, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9, CSB).

First comes grace. Then comes righteousness. It’s not the other way around! Noah wasn’t righteous enough to earn God’s grace, but because of God’s grace, God justified Noah and declared him to be righteous. Then, out of a heart of gratitude, Noah reverently obeyed God.

In the New Testament, we read, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8–10, CSB).

That’s grace. Ain’t it amazing!

South Georgia Baptist Church

Amarillo, Texas

Mike Martin, Pastor

mike@southgeorgiabaptistchurch.org

© 2020