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Christ Church—Radford

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Death Reigns, Hope Triumphs (Genesis 5:1-6:8)

Death Reigns, Hope Triumphs (Genesis 5:1-6:8)
Sermon Link

Cemetery Stroll (Genesis 5:1-20)

This chapter begins with the fulfillment of God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, but quickly it becomes clear that mortality and death dominate the passage. There is a monotonous and rigid pattern followed in the course of the chapter; each individual lived a certain number of years, and then died. The nature of man is now mortal, miserable, twisted, and frail. Seth received the likeness of God passed through his father Adam (v. 3), but while that image is still present, it is marred by sin; it’s tarnished, though not obliterated. Man is now characterized by his sinful condition, and therefore by death: “…through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom 5:12).

Missing Tombstone (Genesis 5:21-24)

Many of the people named in this chapter lived long lives, but they all still died—except for one. Enoch did not face the same fate as his fellow men, but instead “he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). To walk with God is to continuously commune with Him as a habit and manner of life. What we can learn from the fact that Enoch was taken by God is: (1) life continues beyond this world; (2) death is not the final answer; (3) hope is available in God. For 300 years, the distinguishing mark of Enoch’s life is his faith: “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death” (Hebrews 11:5). Faith was both a decisive act in his life and a sustaining attitude. 

Hope Evidenced (Genesis 5:25-32)

Following the digression with Enoch, the account returns to the standard formula—death continues to reign. However, Lamech—very different from the Lamech of chapter 4—begins to evidence hope when he names his son Noah according to the promised deliverance. He stands on the promises of God, believing that “this one will give us rest…” (v. 29). The termination of misery and corruption is promised, looking forward to the One who would come to give true rest to those who are weary and heavy laden (Matt 11:28).

The Spread of Sin and Hope in God’s Promise (Genesis 6:1-8)

The command to be fruitful and multiply continues, with a strange story developing in the first verses of chapter 6. The sons of God are those of the line of Seth; the daughters of men are those of the line of Cain. Men from the godly line were choosing whomever they wanted based on outward beauty, even though they were godless and of Cain’s lineage. The result is moral chaos. The godless and the godly should not be joined together; God made that distinction from the beginning. “Missionary dating” has been destructive from the earliest days of humanity; the godly are always influenced toward godlessness in those situations. 

Rather than the good that the Lord saw in Genesis 1:31, He now sees the great wickedness that has spread across the earth and filled the hearts of men (v. 5). What God had made good, man had corrupted, both with his actions and his thoughts. In order to demonstrate God’s attitude towards the sin of mankind, an expression of human sorrow and pain are attributed to Him—He was sorry, grieved, displeased by sinful humanity. But, there is an exception to this dark portrait of mankind: Noah found favor. The hope was not that Noah was good, but that God was gracious. Through Noah, God would continue His promise of deliverance. When mortality and death reign, hope in God and His promises triumphs.

  • What does this passage of Scripture tell us about the nature of mankind? To what extent and in what ways is mankind sinful? What does it tell us about the righteousness of God? What does it tell us about the mercy and grace of God?
  • Noah points forward to the true rest that would be given to us in Christ. What is the nature of that rest? What are we given rest from? How is that rest secured for us? Are you looking to Christ alone for that rest?
  • In light of this account, consider the significance of the words found in Romans 5:15: “But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”

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