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…
I. IT IS A HIGH COMMENDATION TO FAITH, TO RELIEVE THINGS ON THE WORD OF GOD, THAT IN THEMSELVES AND ALL SECOND CAUSES ARE INVISIBLE, AND SEEM IMPOSSIBLE (Romans 4:17-21).
II. No OBSTACLE CAN STAND IN THE WAY OF FAITH WHEN IT FIXETH ITSELF ON THE ALMIGHTY POWER OF GOD AND HIS INFINITE VERACITY (Romans 11:23; Titus 1:2).
III. IT IS A GREAT ENCOURAGEMENT AND STRENGTHENING UNTO FAITH WHEN THE THINGS WHICH IT BELIEVES AS PROMISED OR THREATENED, ARE SUITABLE UNTO THE PROPERTIES OF THE DIVINE NATURE, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, HOLINESS, GOODNESS, AND THE LIKE; SUCH AS IT BECOMETH GOD TO DO. Such was the destruction of the world when it was filled with wickedness and violence.
IV. WE HAVE HERE A PLEDGE OF THE CERTAIN ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ALL DIVINE THREATENINGS AGAINST UNGODLY SINNERS AND ENEMIES OF THE CHURCH, THOUGH THE TIME OF IT MAY BE YET FAR DISTANT, AND THE MEANS OF IT MAY NOT RE EVIDENT. Unto this end is this example made use of (2 Peter 2:5).
V. A REVERENTIAL FEAR OF GOD, AS THREATENING VENGEANCE UNTO IMPENITENT SINNERS, IS A FRUIT OF SAVING FAITH, AND ACCEPTABLE UNTO GOD.
VI. IT IS ONE THING TO FEAR GOD AS THREATENING WITH A HOLY REVERENCE; ANOTHER TO BE AFRAID OF THE EVIL THREATENED, MERELY AS IT IS PENAL AND DESTRUCTIVE, WHICH THE WORST OF MEN CANNOT AVOID.
VII. FAITH PRODUCETH VARIOUS EFFECTS IN THE MINDS OF BELIEVERS ACCORDING TO THE VARIETY OF OBJECTS IT IS FIXED ON; SOMETIMES JOY AND CONFIDENCE, SOMETIMES FEAR AND REVERENCE.
VIII. THEN IS FEAR A FRUIT OF FAITH WHEN IT ENGAGETH US UNTO DILIGENCE IN OUR DUTY, AS IT DID HERE IN NOAH: "BEING MOVED BY FEAR, HE PREPARED AN ARK."
IX. THAT ALL THESE THINGS TEND TO THE COMMENDATION OF THE FAITH OF NOAH. Neither the difficulty nor length of the work itself, nor his want of success in preaching, nor the scorn which was cast upon him by the whole world, did discourage him in the least from going on with the work whereunto he was divinely called. A great example it was to all that may be called to bear testimony for God in times of difficulty.
X. WE HAVE HERE AN EMINENT FIGURE OF THE STATE OF IMPENITENT SINNERS, AND OF GOD'S DEALING WITH THEM IN ALL AGES.
1. When their sins are coming to the height, He gives them a peculiar space for repentance, with sufficient evidence that it is a season granted for that end.
2. Dining this space, the long-suffering of God waits for their conversion, and He makes it known that it doth so.
3. He allows them the outward means of conversion,, as He did to the old world in the preaching of Noah.
4. He warns them in particular of the judgments that are approaching them, which they cannot escape, as He did by the building of the ark. And such are the dealings of God with impenitent sinners in some measure in all ages. They, on the other side, in such a season —
(1) Continue disobedient under the most effectual means of conversion.
(2) They are secure as unto any fear or expectation of judgments, and shall be so until they are overwhelmed in them (Revelation 18:7, 8).
(3) There are always amongst them scoffers, that deride all that are moved with fear at the threatenings of God, and behave themselves accordingly, which is an exact portraiture of the present condition of the world.
XI. THE VISIBLE PROFESSING CHURCH SHALL NEVER FALL INTO SUCH AN APOSTASY, NOR BE SO TOTALLY DESTROYED, BUT THAT GOD WILL PRESERVE A REMNANT FOR A SEED TO FUTURE GENERATIONS (Isaiah 6:11-13; Romans 9:27; Revelation 18:4).
XII. LET THOSE THAT ARE EMPLOYED IN THE DECLARATION OF GOD'S PROMISES AND THREATENINGS TAKE HEED UNTO THEMSELVES TO ANSWER THE WILL OF HIM BY WHOM THEY ARE EMPLOYED, WHOSE WORK IT IS WHEREIN THEY ARE ENGAGED.
XIII. IT OUGHT TO BE A MOTIVE UNTO DILIGENCE IN EXEMPLARY OBEDIENCE THAT THEREIN WE BEAR TESTIMONY FOR GOD AGAINST THE IMPENITENT WORLD WHICH HE WILL JUDGE AND PUNISH.
(John Owen, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: By faith, Noah, being warned about things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared a ship for the saving of his house, through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.