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
suggested further reading: Romans 3:21–26
Our duty is to hear God speaking to us. We are not through depraved fastidiousness to reject those exercises by which he cherishes or excites or confirms our faith, even though our faith is tender, or languishing, or weak. Nor must we reject those exercises as superfluous. For thee have I seen righteous, God says.
When the Lord says he preserves Noah because he is a righteous man, he seems to attribute salvation to the merit of works. For if Noah is saved because he is righteous, it follows that we should also deserve life because of good works. But here we must cautiously weigh the design of God, which is to save one man, in contrast with the whole world, so that he might condemn the unrighteousness of all men. The punishment that God is about to inflict on the world is just, seeing that one man is left in whom righteousness is cultivated, and for his sake God was propitious to his entire family.
Should anyone object that this passage proves that God respects works in saving men, the response is that this is not repugnant to gratuitous acceptance, since God accepts those gifts which he himself has conferred upon his servants. We must observe, in the first place, that God loves men freely. He finds nothing in them but what is worthy of hatred, since all men are born as children of wrath and are heirs of eternal malediction. But God adopts them to himself in Christ and justifies them by his mere mercy. After he has reconciled them unto himself, he regenerates them by his Spirit to new life and righteousness. Out of this flow good works, which of necessity are pleasing to God himself.
for meditation: Even the most holy saints have only a shred of the obedience required of them by God. No matter how long we have been growing in the Lord, we must stand under the blood of Jesus Christ the righteous and nowhere else. How can we remember this truth more often and more gratefully?