Editors Note: Jeremy Sanders writes about Enoch and walking with God. Something we all can learn from. The views of this author are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of his employers.
Enoch and the Biblical Precedent in a Lost World
Walking with God
“And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:21-24)
In a modern world filled with corruption and wickedness, it is easy for Christians to question our ability to walk with God. After all, there are so many temptations and tribulations in modern society. Whether it is the prevalence of temptations such as sexual sin, substance abuse, materialism, social justice, and ecumenicalism, or the tribulations of spiritual persecution, rejection by friends/ love ones, and ridiculed by the world, walking with God seems an impossible proposition. After all, compromise seems so easy, sin seems so appealing, and standing firm seems so hard. Yet, that is exactly the task to which we are called. Scripture is full of admonitions to walk with God and provides examples of individuals whose lives were marked by walking with the Lord.
It is also extremely easy to give into despair at the current state of our world. In politics, we elect godless rulers who openly defy God. The culture advertises sin with no shame, and we applaud the degenerates who we deify as “heroes”, “stars”, and “celebrities”. For the Christian, it is easy to wonder how to change the culture. Indeed, I have been thinking deeply about this very topic given the events of the last year. It all seems so overwhelming; how does one person do anything to stem the tide of wickedness rushing over our land? Does anything we do actually matter? How do we make a difference in a world gone mad?
Thankfully, Scripture provides a perfect example who we can emulate in our lives today. Enoch is perhaps the best example of someone whose life demonstrates how to walk with God, for his entire life is defined by this phrase. A little-known patriarch, he is only mentioned in four passages of Scripture, and is best known for not dying but being translated straight into heaven. When we are first introduced to Enoch in Genesis chapter five, we are presented with someone whose purpose in Scripture is literally to demonstrate how to walk with God. Such a life demands our attention, and not only provides an example for how to live our lives today but also demonstrates principles of God’s character and promises.
What Does it mean to walk with God?
There are four key words that best define walking with God: Reconciliation, Holiness, Fellowship, and Dedication. Each of these words are foundational attributes that give us a small but important glimpse of what it truly means to “Walk with God”. We must briefly examine each, as they will appear frequently in the life of Enoch. Furthermore, they are the foundation to the three principles Enoch displayed when following God.
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
We cannot walk with God unless we are reconciled to Him. The Greek word for “reconciled” is καταλλασσω (katallasso), which means “to change or to receives one into favor”. As sinners, we are walking at opposite purposes with God. Our ways are not His ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). To walk in agreement with God, we must be reconciled to Him through Christ. Reconciliation is the purpose of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. By doing so, he does not impute (hold to account) our sins against us. Being reconciled to Christ means to change our old evil ways, and agree with Christ. After all, you cannot walk together towards a goal unless you agree. This principle is true in human relationships as well as our relationship with God. Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Walking with God requires us to agree that we are sinners in need of His reconciliation through the death and resurrection of Christ.
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)
Since we know that walking with God requires us to be in agreement with Him, we must therefore attempt to shape our character to match His. God is holy, and as Peter clearly reminds us, we are therefore to be holy. Peter is quoting Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, and 20:7, where God’s Law says three distinct times for His people to be holy because He is holy. Holiness comes from God, and God alone; mankind is utterly incapable of achieving such status. The prophet Isaiah understands this dilemma during his vision of heaven in Isaiah 6:3-7 when he declares he is “a man of unclean lips.” The angels who have been glorifying God’s holiness, bring a lump of coal from the altar and cleanse Isaiah, symbolizing that holiness only comes from God.
Holiness means completely rejecting the ideas and actions of the world. The apostle Paul writes in 2nd Corinthians 6:14-17, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you”. While these verses are often used to demonstrate the wisdom of believers marrying only other Christians (a great principle) they are deeper than just this application. They are a warning that every area of our lives should be marked by holiness.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23)
Walking with God implies fellowshipping with God. And no, this is not the fellowship that is one of the three Baptist/evangelical distinctives (fun, food, and fellowship). This is an intimate fellowship between family. It is one of love. Indeed, if you are walking together with someone and you love them, you will fellowship with them on your journey. When you are hiking or driving with a spouse or close friend, you are simultaneously fellowshipping with them, learning more of their nature and character. In the same way, walking with God is defined by fellowshipping with Him.
“And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch” (Genesis 5:18)
The last word that defines walking with God is dedication. In Scripture, an individuals’ name is often descriptive of their character. Enoch means “Dedicated”, a wonderful name for someone whose life was defined by walking with God. When we walk with God, it is not a short experience that we can abandon on a whim when times get hard or temptation comes our way. That is not truly walking with God. No, it is staying the course. Galatians 6:9 reminds “let us not be weary in well doing”, while James tells us in chapter one, verse twelve, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
The Three Principles of Walking with God
By examining Enoch’s life, we will discover three principles to walking with God. Principle 1: Walking with God means pleasing God. As we shall see, pleasing God is directly tied with how we view who God is, and what He wants from man. Principle 2: Walking with God means Preaching God. As Christians who live in an ungodly world, we are called to preach both judgement and repentance. Principle 3: Walking with God is to prepare the next generation. God is not concerning with quantity but quality; it only takes preparing one individual to carry out God’s Sovereign plan. Taken together, these three principles will allow us to conclude our study of Enoch’s life by applying it to our society today. Doing so will provide the believer hope in the midst of a fallen world, as well as assurance that our labor is not in vain. Remember, none of these principles can be successful unless they are built on the four foundational keys we discussed previously, Reconciliation, Holiness, Fellowship, and Dedication.
Principle 1: Walking with God Means Pleasing God
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrew 11:5-6)
Hebrews chapter 11 is often described at the faith chapter or the “hall of faith” in Scripture. We see Enoch included in this chapter, demonstrating his importance as a character, despite the small number of words written concerning his life. He is included in the chapter because of his faith. Faith then is the requirement to please God, and by extension, what is required to walk with God. Indeed, the Hebrew phrase for “walk with God” can also be translated as “please God.” Yet, it is not just generic “faith” that pleases God, or God would be pleased by the faith of the idolatrous nations surrounding Israel, which He clearly condemned. No, it is a special type of faith, one whose object is eternal. It is a faith in God’s works, not our own, a faith in who God truly is, and a faith in a personal Savior. All three are required to have true faith that pleases God.
Faith in Christ’s Work, not our own works, pleases God
“But without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6)
The verse is clear and needs no further explanation other than that provided above. We already established that faith is not generic, but one rooted in Christ. All Scripture reinforces this point. Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” We see that our works are not what saves us, but the mercy of God through the renewing and regeneration of the Holy Spirit. This concept is not new, but part of the Old Testament as well. Too often, we have a misconception about God, believing Him to be a grouchy, angry figure in the Old Testament who demands sacrifices and works, and a God of love offering mercy in the New Testament. But His character is unchanging, and this description is inaccurate. We see in Isaiah 64:6 how our works cannot please Him. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags”. Our works are nothing then, it is faith that matters.
Notice, that it is all the work of Christ, we have nothing to do with the process. We cannot, our works cannot save us. The very act of belief is a work of God, and we cannot take credit for the process. When the crowd asks Jesus what they must do to “work the works of God”, Jesus replies in John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” The work is God’s work. The Greek phrase is Τοῠτό ἐστιν το ἐπγον τοῠ Θεοῠ. “Of God” translated τοῠ Θεοῠ is in the genitive case, indicating possession. Thus, the work “of God” means God possesses/owns/commits the work. What is the work? Believing on Christ. It is impossible to please God without faith in Christ, a faith we do not deserve, earn or deserve praise for in any manner. To do so would be to make it our work, not God’s work. And as it is not our works of righteousness but God’s redeeming work in us, we can only praise Him for the mercy through which He saved fallen man.
Believe that He Is
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is” (Hebrew 11:6)
As stated earlier, faith must have the proper object to be genuine. Ours is Jesus. And not just a superficial belief that he is the Christ and Lord. Even the demons have faith in one God, (James 2:19), but that does not make it genuine faith. The cults often reference Christ, take the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, and Christian Science to name a few. All reference Jesus, yet they do not “believe that he is”. The phrase hearkens back to God’s chosen name in Exodus 3:14, “I AM”. To believe in God means to believe in Him fully. He is both Savior and Lord. Friend and Master, Holy and Merciful. We cannot pick and choose God’s attributes to create a deity acceptable to our own desires. True faith submits to every aspect of God’s nature. True submission to God is the picture of genuine faith. Unless we believe in who He says He is, we cannot please God, we cannot walk with Him. Enoch believed God and had faith in the true character of God, not a made-up amalgamation of attributes to satisfy his own desires.
A quick side note. The fact we are to believe “that he is” and in the Great “I Am” is a wonderful promise concerning our faith. God is not the God of “I was” operating the in distant past, yet now unwilling to influence the earth today. Deists propagate such beliefs, but this idea is not found in Scripture. God is Sovereign, and executes His Sovereignty throughout time, including today. Furthermore, God is not the God of “I will be”. We do not worship a God of some distant hope, not grounded in past action or the present. We do not have to live this life downtrodden, because God promises to put us in heavenly places now! Salvation, a three-part process (Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification) is past, present, and future! “I AM” is continual, without beginning or end, constantly there to aid the believer. What a glorious promise put forth merely in the name of God.
Believe He Saves
“and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrew 11:6)
Pleasing God means having faith in a personal Savior. As stated earlier, you cannot walk with someone unless you have a relationship with that individual. God in the Old Testament was just as interested in knowing His children intimately as He was in the New Testament, and as He is today. Enoch pleased God because He had faith in the God that rewards those who seek Him. Once we are saved, we are to diligently seek to know God more, and the reward is our Sanctification. We become more like Him in character and desires. As mentioned previously, the definition of walking with God is Holiness and dedication. Diligently seeking God equals dedication to the task, the reward of which is a holier life.
This article will continue next week.
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