SEVEN MORE DAYS OF GRACE
At the heart of Christianity is the grace of God. Paul wrote to Christians at Ephesus and said, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10) Sin had caused us to be dead and worthless spiritually. We had rebelled against God and were under bondage to the Devil. Salvation originated with God. When we were hopelessly lost in sin, God saved us BY His grace through the blood of Jesus. We are saved by His good pleasure. God's grace is the source of the entire arrangement of salvation.
Grace is a gift of God. We learn in Psalm 84:11 that God will give grace and glory. “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” There are two very important truths that we must learn concerning grace. God, the giver of grace, is totally generous in His nature toward us. We, the recipients of God’s grace, are totally undeserving. Grace demonstrates how God feels about us. God's nature is love and because of that He looks upon His creation, with mercy. His desire is to forgive our sins. Grace is God's acceptance and forgiveness of sinners through His mercy. God sent Jesus to die for us. "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8) God is good, providing what we need, not what we deserve. Salvation is provided by God's grace. Suppose we knew that there would only be seven more days of God’s grace.
Think of the emotions that Noah must have felt when God told him there would only be seven more days of grace. Noah had faithfully worked on the Ark for many years. During that time he had been righteous himself and he had been a preacher of righteousness. Noah was a righteous man. When Ezekiel wanted to illustrate a point using righteous men, Noah was in that group. “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 14:14) He was a righteous man, and he was also a preacher of righteousness. Peter described the flood saying, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” (2 Peter 2:5) Think of the emotions and the grief that Noah must have felt when God told him that there would be only seven more days of grace. God said, “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” (Genesis 7:4) After seven days, there would be no more grace extended to the people of Noah’s world. How that thought must have grieved the heart of this righteous man.
Noah knew that everything good that comes in us and through us is only by the grace of God. Think of the power and the passion with which this good man, Noah, this preacher of righteousness proclaimed God’s message during those last seven days of grace. His extended family, his friends and the people of the world were so far away from God. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6) How passionately Noah must have tried to persuade the people to believe through the grace of God. The Scripture tells us that Apollos helped those who had "believed through grace." (Acts 18:27) It is by grace that we believe in God, believe His word, expect His promises to be fulfilled and recognizes coming judgment. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:8) We can only imagine how passionately Noah tried to persuade those people, during the last seven days of grace, to receive God’s grace and be spared. Even though no other family chose to continue in the grace of God, Noah and his family made that choice and were blessed, thereby. God will not force you to accept His grace, nor will He force you to remain in His grace. However, you do have the opportunity to be saved by the grace of God.
Surely, knowing that there was only seven more days of grace, the people would repent. We could wish that was the case. Sadly, they just kept on in their sins, and died as they had lived. Genesis 7:21 provides us with some of the saddest words in the Bible. “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man.” The knowledge that there would only be seven more days of grace did not cause the people to change. We know that grace demands a loving response to God from man. What a person is or is not is determined by his response to God's amazing grace. Each individual is responsible to love, honor, obey and serve God. Man's response to God should be humble obedience. Because God has done so much for us He can reasonably expect our love in return. How man's failure to obey must grieve the heart of the Creator. "But to Israel he says: All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people." (Romans 10:21) It is therefore very important that we respect God's grace and follow the Scriptural warnings not to sin against the grace of God. If we willfully go on sinning against God in this way, we "Insult the Spirit of Grace" and "No sacrifice for sins remains." (Hebrews 10:26-29) God told Noah that those were the last seven days of grace and the people still continued in disobedience. What a tragedy!
Our response to God's grace is not a single act or decision, but a lifetime response. Two elements are at work in our salvation; God's grace is extended, and man responds in loving obedience. God wants what is best for us in this life and in eternity. By accepting the gospel of Christ and living soberly, righteously and godly man can enjoy everlasting fellowship with God by His grace. To become a Christian, God requires you to hear the gospel (John 6:44-45), believe in Jesus (Hebrews 11:6), repent of sins (Acts 2:38), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and to be baptized to wash away sins. (Acts 22:16) Having obeyed the gospel you are saved by the grace of God! After conversion, "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." (Jude 21)
By Charles Box,