Old Testament reading: Genesis 6-9
Our text details the account of Noah, the only man who could ever say of sin, “Everyone else is doing it” (Gen 6:5). Noah was a great example of righteousness amidst a world overtaken in sin. Of note, verse 9 does not reach that Noah was perfect in the sense of being without sin, but he was blameless or maintained his integrity amidst the wicked world in which he lived. Note also that “Noah walked with God” (6:9). This beautiful declaration is elsewhere used only of Enoch (Gen 5:22, 24). Another statement that stands out is Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Noah was indeed delivered from the Flood by grace, but grace did not negate Noah’s obligation to obey God. In fact, Hebrews 11 teaches us that Noah’s obedience of faith was the means by which God’s grace was administered to him and his household (Heb 11:7).
New Testament reading: Matthew 8-9
The thief on the cross is often used as an illustration of salvation without baptism. Matthew 9:2-8 contains the appropriate response to this error, namely, “the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” (Matt 9:6). When preparing to heal the lame man, Jesus asked the question of His audience, “What is easier, to say ‘Your sins are forgiven?’ or, ‘Take up your bed and walk?’” What the Lord is declaring is that the forgiveness of sins is not something that can be seen. The fact was, aside from the blasphemous implications, anyone could have said it. Jesus was simply pointing out that saying it in their presence didn’t really prove anything as being forgiven of sins cannot be seen or measured empirically. However, telling a lame man to get up and walk was (to them) a much more challenging task. Thus, to prove He did have the authority to forgive sins, and refute their charge of blasphemy, Jesus commanded the lame man to get up and walk, which he did before their very eyes. Jesus forgave the sins of numerous individuals throughout His earthly ministry, the thief just happens to be the last (and best known).