In two previous posts, we have learned two important lessons from the judgment of God as presented in Genesis chapter five. They are:
1. God's reason for judgment
2. God's consistency in judgment
A third lesson we learn from God's judgment is His grace. It is odd that we would find beauty in judgment, by grace is such a gem. Like the piece of coal that is formed into the exquisite diamond, God's grace is most wonderfully displayed in the harshest environments: life in a fallen world with fallen human beings.
God's Grace in Human Life
In Genesis chapter five, one aspect sticks out to the average reader: the length of human life. The oldest one to live was Methuselah. He lived to an astounding 969 years. You may wonder, "How does this display God's grace?"
Perhaps we should reconsider Genesis 2:15-17. In that passage, God warned Adam that if he failed to obey Him, Adam "would surely die" (Gen. 2:17, ESV). Yet, even Adam did not die immediately. God, as we noticed in the initial post, has the right and perfect liberty to execute His wrath immediately and to the fullest degree possible. Yet, God is gracious, and the fact that Adam (and the many men like Methuselah) did not immediately die is a mark of God's grace.
Just consider all the wonderful technological and medical advancements that have occurred in the last fifty years. This is because God has graciously allowed certain individuals to live, and their contributions to our society and wellness result from God's graciousness.
God's grace in Human Relationships
Another mark of God's grace is observed in human relationships. In each individual mentioned (a total of ten in the genealogical realm) "had other sons and daughters" (see Genesis 5:4, 7, 10,13, 16, 19, 22, 26, and 30). Families are wonderful marks of God's grace. Though some are not able to experience this blessing, families are incredible. I am blessed to enjoy a wonderful relationship with my parents, my in-laws, my wife, and my children. Even in judgment, we see God's grace.
God's grace in Human Salvation
Perhaps the greatest display of God's grace in Genesis chapter five comes in the unique privilege of Enoch's life. Enoch is described as an individual who "walked with God" (Genesis 5:22, 24). Breaking the normal pattern of birth, life, bearing of children, and death, Enoch simply "was not" (Genesis 5:24).
What happened to Enoch? The Scriptures say, "God took him" (Genesis 5:24). He did not die. In other words, God graciously kept him alive rather than punish Him. God had every right to, as we have already observed. However, God graciously kept Enoch from death.
While there is no direct connection of this to our salvation, it would certainly be a mistake not to make the connection between God's grace and our own salvation. We are described as being "dead in trespasses and sins" in Ephesians 2:1. Yet, God in His grace saved us (Ephesians 2:8-9).
What is our conclusion to this lesson of judgment? The conclusion is God is a gracious God. Even during times of judgment, or discipline, God is gracious. Relish God's goodness in these circumstances!