What does it mean when something or someone is "ruined"? Not a pleasant thought, is it?
Today's text is Genesis 6:11-13 (ESV). Notice the word "corrupt" in this passage, because a more accurate translation of it would be "so corrupt that it was totally ruined".1 (The NET version, in fact, uses the word "ruined".) We've now returned, here in the blog, to the book of Genesis!
11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh,c for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
Some of us question God's actions in this story, because we cannot fathom how "bad" things were. Surely, we reason, things could have been turned around or repaired. After all, the Bible is filled with other stories of how God took the most extremely sinful people and the most horrible, seemingly-irredeemable circumstances and did miraculous spiritual transformations. But, to make this wrong assumption is to demonstrate misunderstanding of how bad things actually were.
In their lust for knowledge and power, mankind had "sold out" to the fallen angelic beings who had come to live among them, after their expulsion from Heaven, after their failed rebellion against Jehovah Sabaoth, (the God of Angel Armies, the Lord of Hosts). Being thoroughly evil, these beings had intermarried with humans, thereby ruining the human bloodline of every family making that irreversible choice. And yes, they had a choice. We see this from the deliberateness of the phrase "had corrupted their way". The Fallen surely provided a strong temptation, but God never leaves Man without a choice. (It was the exercise of free will in the Garden of Eden that started this downward spiral, after all.) The legacy of the "ancient aliens" (to borrow the title of a popular TV show here in America), the demonic Nephilim, the gibborim (Genesis 6:4), was complete, pervasive violence. They were not a benevolent group of entities. No, they were hell-bent on destroying the human race, in order to prevent a pure human bloodline through which Messiah would be born. And, they very nearly succeeded.
Satan and his minions (thankfully, the major architects of the pre-Flood world's ruination are currently locked up tight in Tartarus....2 Peter 2:4) are today still at work, trying to convince us that we are all hopelessly ruined. Perhaps you have felt that way. I know that I have . . . and, from time to time, still do.
There is good news, though - - such incredibly good news! Because of Jesus, and His finished work, NO ONE is hopelessly ruined. As long as there is breath in the body, there is the potential for God to turn things around, to redeem the broken. There is only one sin which cannot be forgiven2 , and that sin is a deliberate decision on the part of the person who willfully commits it. (If you don't know what that unforgivable sin is, click on Source 2 below, because it is a whole blog post, in itself.)
When we feel hopelessly, irrevocably ruined, the best thing we can do is to look at the Word of God and cling to His promises. Here's one of them, that the Lord brought to my mind just now. Perhaps it was meant not only for me today, but for you also.
12What do you think? If someone owns a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray? 13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost.
Matthew 18:12-14 (NET)
And, one more....
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1 Cor. 10:13 (NASB)