Genesis 6:9 says, “These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”
In God’s eyes, Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation, and had the testimony that he walked with God. In examining the scriptures, it becomes evident that Noah was not sinless, especially in the episode where he got drunk and lay uncovered in his tent (Genesis 9:21). Other scriptures also teach that no one is righteous according to Psalm 14:1-3 and Romans 3:9-18. In light of these, how did God consider Noah a righteous man and blameless in his generation?
In Genesis 6:9, another word for righteous is “just”. The Strong’s Dictionary describes the word as “just, lawful, righteous (man):
A. just, righteous (in government)
B. just, right (in one’s cause)
C. just, righteous (in conduct and character)
D. righteous (as justified and vindicated by God)
E. right, correct, lawful.”
There are two types of ‘righteousness’ spoken of in the scriptures. Understanding these will help clarify Noah’s righteousness and how that applies in a Christian’s life. Firstly, the righteousness, which is complete perfection and sinlessness that God requires to be in right standing before Him. The problem with this righteousness is that no one can achieve it. The second is righteousness that set’s us apart from the world. In Genesis 6:9, we are told that Noah was righteous/just and blameless in his generation, and he walked with God. Noah understood God’s righteous and moral requirements as opposed to the ungodly lifestyle of the people who surrounded him. 2 Peter 2:5 says, “if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;”
In other words, Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He stood out as a man of integrity, character, faith in God, and one who walked with God. As a result, God directed his life. Because Noah’s life was characterised by justice, integrity, and obedience, he found favour and grace before God. Not that Noah was sinless, but that his trust was in God. Romans 4:5-6 says, “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
John Calvin’s commentary on this verse says, “Let us, however, know that they are called just and upright, not who are in every respect perfect, and in whom there is no defect; but who cultivate righteousness purely, and from their heart.”
Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.”
Understanding this becomes very important to believers, especially as it fits into the gospel and salvation narrative. The Bible teaches that Noah was a good man who sought after God and trusted Him while having sinful moments. It is a picture of all of us who can only rely on the grace and mercy of God. In Christ, we are positionally righteous because when we trust in the sacrificial life, death, and resurrection of Christ, then the righteousness of Christ is imputed on us. We do not earn it, but His grace gives it to us as a gift and is received by faith (2 Corinthians 5:21).
As a result, believers in Christ practice righteousness. It is the fruit of our imputed righteousness and new life in Christ. Even though we will not be perfect in all of our conduct, we bear the fruit of our salvation (James 2:14-26). We are being sanctified daily to bear the image of Christ, day by day. Amen!
In conclusion, I encourage you to set yourself apart from the world around you by being just in all your ways, blameless in your generation and walking with God. You may not be perfect in every way, but know that you are positionally justified and righteous before God because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Now, you represent Christ to the world by being a herald of righteousness and an ambassador of Christ in word and deed. 1 Timothy 6:11 says, “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.“