The Noahic covenant is an unconditional or unilateral covenant between God and man. It is a promise made by God to the human race never again to destroy the world with a flood. The promise was made to "every living creature" on the earth. Because the covenant is unilateral, responsibility to fulfill the covenant lies entirely upon one party, rather than both parties in the agreement. In this case, the only responsible party is God. God's promise in the Noahic covenant is sealed with the sign of the rainbow (Genesis 9:8-17).
Genesis chapter 6 records God's determination to destroy the earth, and all living creatures upon the earth, with a worldwide flood. In that time, God saw that men were evil; in fact, man was so evil that "every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). God regretted creating mankind and was "grieved to his heart" (Genesis 6:6). He decided to blot them out, all the people and animals, because He was sorry for making them (Genesis 6:7). But Noah found favor in God's eyes because he was righteous and "blameless in his generation" (Genesis 6:8-9; 7:1).
God saved Noah and his family, and two of each of the species of animals that existed during that time. Even though God was sorry for creating man, and meant to destroy them all, He preserved mankind through Noah. After the flood was over, God made the Noahic covenant, and promised never again to destroy the race with a flood. As a sign of His promise, He "set [the] rainbow in the clouds" (Genesis 9:12-13 NIV).
God will once again destroy the earth, as a judgment on sin, with fire (2 Peter 3:10-11; Revelation 20:9, 21:1) on the "day of the Lord." But there is a way out for those would believe—Jesus Christ is a shelter for any who will trust Him. Just as the animals came to the ark for salvation from the rising waters, we can come to Christ for salvation from spiritual death and destruction (Romans 8:1), and from the eventual judgment which will come to the earth (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
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