“And the Lord said to Noah ‘Come into the ark, you and all your household for it is you I have seen righteous before Me in this generation’.-Genesis 7:1
Based on the above verse we just read, what was so special about Noah that he was allowed to receive this exclusive invitation from God?
The Scriptures say Noah was “righteous”.
However, the Scriptures also say that God regretted having made humankind of which Noah was a member.
So why did God pronounce Noah righteous and then sentenced the rest of mankind to destruction?
Let’s take a look at what the ancient rabbis had to say on this topic.
The following is a quote from an ancient Hebrew commentary called Mishna Rabbah.
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He delivereth him that is innocent (i naki), yea, thou shalt be delivered through the cleanness of thy hands. R. Hanina1 said: Noah possessed less than an ounce (unkia)2 [of merit]. If so, why was he delivered? Only ‘Through the cleanness of Thy hands’. This agrees with what R. Abba b. Kahana said: For it repenteth Me that I have made them and Noah. But Noah was left only because he found grace; hence, but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”
What an amazing opinion being expressed here!
According to the ancient Rabbis, God did not just regret that he had made all mankind with the exception of Noah. God regretted having made all men INCLUDING Noah.
Look at the above quote carefully. It clearly states that “Noah had less than an ounce of merit” and “It repenteth Me that I have made them and Noah.”
“Noah was blameless only in his age, but in other ages he would not have been considered righteous.”-Rabbi Jochanan
So why did God single out Noah as righteous?
What did the ancient rabbis conclude?
Unmerited grace, pure and simple.
This rabbinic excerpt flies completely in the face of all those Christian scholars who incorrectly claim that the biggest difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament is that man had to work to gain righteousness with the Lord in the Old Testament and that in the New Testament salvation was a free gift.
This is horribly bad scholarship that has led to the false teaching that one must choose either Law or Grace. You would be amazed at how many Christian churches promote this false teaching. It is usually summed up like this:
“You’ve got two choices. You can attempt to follow the Law and earn your way into heaven OR you can choose to accept Yeshua as your Savior and through His shed blood be guaranteed a place in heaven.”
I’ve got news for you folks and listen carefully so there is no misunderstanding. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER does God set that choice before us anywhere in the entire Bible.
It is man-made theology stemming from anti-Semitic attitudes.
The simple truth of the matter is that the ancient Hebrews did NOT believe they could work their way into heaven.
They completely understood that righteousness and salvation had to be a free gift from God.
Sure, a good portion of ancient Hebrew commentaries seem to focus on a strict adherence to God’s teaching but it is not because they were trying to earn or even maintain their salvation. It was out of gratefulness for being chosen.
Salvation in the Bible is by faith through grace from beginning to end!