+ At what point was Noah saved from the flood?
When he obeyed God and built the ark? When the flood waters subsided? When he was born in accordance with God’s plan? When was it?
At what point was the world saved from total annihilation? When Noah built the ark? When the animals were loaded? When the waters subsided? On day 26 at 2:00 in the morning?
Or did Noah’s obedience even matter at all… because God is sovereign and His sovereign plan cannot be thwarted (groan, of course He is, but that doesn’t address the question).
The only answer given to us is that it was both God’s sovereignty and Noah’s obedience that saved the world, 100% each. Not both, 50% each; not one 100%. There’s a difference. The first is impossible. The other two are just stupid.
So what’s the point? Yeah, good question. Answer: I’m not sure.
But I think it’ll probably have something to do with this – the discussion of God’s sovereignty and man’s choice is always a pastoral one and not a philosophical one. Because it deals with issues of chronology (first this, then this), as soon as the eternal God is brought up as part of the discussion, the discussion itself can no longer make sense.
We need so badly to understand our own salvation in this way. It’s both a point and a process. It’s not a forgone conclusion once we enter into the community by way of the water. But neither must we fear every evil wave until we step out onto the dry land of the resurrected life. It’s God’s action working itself out in our life and in our actions.
However, from a pastoral perspective, sometimes we need to emphasize one part of the truth over and above the other. If we’re running our lives in accordance with our own wills and ambitions, perhaps we need to hear the one side. If we live in constant fear and anxiety, then maybe we need the other side?