Have you ever read a Bible story and thought, “If I had been there, I wouldn’t have done that. I wouldn’t have eaten that fruit in the Garden of Eden. I wouldn’t have denounced Jesus three times. If I had lived through the ten plagues, seen the Red Sea parted, the Egyptian army obliterated, and God in the fire and cloud, I wouldn’t have complained in the wilderness like the Israelites did. I would have had a lot more faith”? After observing Jesus for three years, Jesus points out that this mindset of “if I had been there” was the basic thought of religious leaders of His day: “If we,” thought they, “had been in the days of our fathers, we should not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets” (Matt. 23:29-33). Note a few Bible events wherein we too might say, “If I had lived I wouldn’t have…”
What a great advantage Adam had over us. He heard the voice of God as they walked together in the garden in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:17). It would be amazing to be in the very presence of God. “If I had been there, I….” Yet, Holy Writ records a 100 percent failure rate. Out of the two people on the earth in the beautiful garden, both sinned. Eve was deceived, and Adam succumb to pressure (1 Tim. 2:14). Would we have fared any better? Moving down through the centuries a little ways, we note Noah’s advantage. He, too, spoke with God. Though the movie industry in the film, Noah’s Ark sought to leave the impression that Noah was confused concerning his instructions, sacred history shows us he knew exactly what God wanted and obediently built an ark to the saving of his house (Heb. 11:7). Peter tells us of the failure rate, saying only eight souls were saved ( Pet. 3:19-21). Would we have fared any better than the multitudes who perished in the flood waters?
We do, however, have an advantage over Adam and Noah. We see the hurtful devastation because of the sin Adam introduced into the world. We also have the advantage of having not only the warning to Noah but the admonitions from multiple examples of failures to do Heaven’s will (1 Cor. 10; Rom. 15; 2 Pet. 2). Today, when we are deceived or peer pressure causes us to give in to sin, we demonstrate that we are no different than our first parents or the lost multitudes who refuse to listen to Noah’s warnings. We demonstrate that we would have acted the same if we had been there.
Whether men had the advantage of walking with God or the advantage of seeing the ruination of today because of sin, all generations have sufficient opportunities for salvation. Adam and Eve knew the command of God (Gen. 3:2-3). So did Noah (Heb. 11; Gen. 6). Today, the word of God fills the earth. We can know the commands of the Lord as to how to become and remain faithful Christians. Scripture teaches that sufficient grace is available for all regardless of circumstances of time, place, or events. The lost reject what they have. They are not lost because they reject what they don’t have. What they do have is sufficient unto the salvation of their souls.