Righteous Amid Unrighteousness
“And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation” (Genesis 7:1).
God said that Noah was righteous. It would not be difficult for you to get some fellow student to admit that you were righteous, for to be good in the eyes of other folk is neither difficult nor remarkable. People are people and all have the same fundamental weaknesses and faults. Basically one can say that all of mankind has the same sort of goodness as well as badness. It is not infrequent that one sees human goodness and is thankful for it, but this human goodness is not nearly as deep nor as easily attained in the life as the righteousness of God. When we are told that God said Noah was righteous, we are being told that the holy, thrice holy God, Who cannot countenance sin, has judged that man’s character in the whole and has found the man righteous. This is a far cry from the judgments of puny man. Righteousness truly begins when we learn we are sinners and depend upon God to do something in our lives; then righteousness begins.
Some of you talk about being “saved,” and, yet, you know nothing of the righteousness of God in your lives; it is just so much religious talk. How sad to use words of Scripture and empty them of meaning and power in our lives!
Well, you will notice that God said where and when Noah was righteous: “In this generation.” Nearly anyone can live a Christian life when surrounded by fellow believers; it would be downright difficult to be outstandingly bad while you are surrounded by other Christians. To be a man of God when you are surrounded by scoffers, is the acid test of Christianity. Noah stood that test and God said that he was “righteous in this generation.” Look at how few people of that generation believed —only eight souls. Noah was surrounded by unbelievers and unbelievers are often scoffers and often make life miserable for believers, especially when the unbelievers outnumber the believers by several times over.
Noah was probably the butt of many a joke. They would ask if he were going to make himself a sea ship. They may also have poked fun at his family for believing the preaching of their father, but Noah was righteous in that generation. It was his own wicked generation in which he lived a righteous life. You will never be able to live righteously except in your own wicked generation. Perhaps you had thought that if your environment were better then you would be better; Noah’s testimony puts a lie to all this. No, you are going to be righteous only when you get to a place where you want to be righteous before God. When you want His righteousness more than anything else in your life, then He will fill your life with Christ, Who is the righteousness of God personified.
Notice, God says: “I have seen righteous…” Sometimes we get the idea that we are trying to live for God, and we are really wanting God to live out through our lives and none seems to notice it at all. God notices it. “Thee have I seen righteous.” God sees the attempts we make to let Him rule our lives. People about us are more conscious of the defeats and failures. God notes the attempts to let Him rule. He gains ground even when we fail Him. Failures in the life of the true Christian only tend to make one more dependent upon the source of righteousness.
Sometimes the righteousness of God is like one kernel of corn in a great pile of chaff. Yet God sees that kernel of corn. Most of us see the chaff. God sees the kernel of corn. The Lord wants the chaff to decrease and the corn to increase. But He can look at your efforts to let Christ rule your life and say, “Thee have I seen righteous in this generation.” Take heart. He sees. He knows your heart. He is the final judge of your life and actions. Live for God. It pays.