Gary W. Summers
Where would the world be today if we could not read: “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did” (Gen. 6:22—NKJV)? For starters, we would not be discussing the question. If some modern-day theologians and writers had been around then, they would have whined, “Does it have to be exactly 300 cubits? How about two decks instead of three? Two of every kind?” The Calvinists would chime in, “Don’t build it, Noah, God’s already determined whether or not He will save the world. It doesn’t depend on what you do.”
Perhaps the current laxity in religious thinking is a reflection upon the looseness in society. Most of society’s heroes are those who break the rules in order to get their mission accomplished. Commandments are perceived as archaic nuisances of the past.
But the commandments of God are never wrong or out of date. Peter’s inspired teaching regarding salvation proclaims two commands: (1) Repent; (2) be baptized (Acts 2:38). These are the same two things we tell those who have faith today. God has not somehow changed what obedience He requires just because 2,000 years have elapsed.
Actually, it is not so much the commands that make the difference in someone’s obedience—or lack of it; it is the heart. Notice: “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized” (Acts 2:41). The question is: “Do we gladly receive the Word of God on all subjects?” Or is there some reason we are holding back?
When God calls us to holiness, do we say, “That sounds good, but I need an exemption or two”? Yes, obedience requires effort. Saying, “I am imperfect, and I have learned to live with my imperfections and God’s forgiveness” is a copout. “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Mat. 5:48).
Could it be that God knows that we need challenges? Being obedient to His will is much harder than just pleasing ourselves. Is it not a matter of comfort versus struggle? We should never become self-satisfied.
Do we not love others when they accomplish great things, as Noah did? Do we not admire our Lord for enduring the cross, knowing that He could have taken the easy way out at any time (at our expense)? Are we not most happy with ourselves when we achieve our God-given goals? Obedience has much to commend it.