In the 1950s, Tennessee Ernie Ford popularized the old spiritual song, "Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord." The lyrics began like this:
The Lord looked down from His window in the sky;
He said, "I created man but I don't remember why;
"Nothin' but fightin' since creation day,
"I'll send a little water and I'll wash 'em all away."
The Lord came down and looked around a spell,
And there was Mr. Noah behavin' mighty well.
And that is the reason the scriptures record,
"Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."
That was a fun song but really lousy doctrine. The problem with it is that it insinuates that Noah was a good man and it perpetuates the myth that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell.
Look; regardless of what you have been told or what you would like to believe, God did NOT save Noah because he was a good man; God saved Noah because God showed mercy and grace to an undeserving, dirty rotton, low-life scumbag.
How do I know that? Look at the passage in Genesis 6:5-6. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the Lord said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them.'"
Did you see that? The blanket indictment about man (collectively) is that EVERY imagination of the thoughts of his heart was ONLY EVIL CONTINUALLY. All mankind was wicked; every one of them and Noah was no different. He was a sinner JUST LIKE THE REST OF THEM BECAUSE HE WAS ONE OF THEM.
Are things any different today? NO! After God destroyed all life in the flood, He made a promise (Gen. 8:21) "...and the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done."
So even though God destroyed everyone except Noah and his sons, God's assessment was still the same; "...for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." Why? Because Noah was still a man with a sin nature as were his sons. They were still dirty rotton, low-life scumbags who wasted no time returning to their wicked ways. Nevertheless, God promised that He would not destroy the world with a flood again for man's sake.
Noah was a sinner saved by God's grace. He didn't deserve it and there was nothing he could do to earn it. God looked on him with grace and verse 9 in chapter 6 goes on to say that "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God."
There is a consistent biblical order of events to note in those two verses regarding Noah's saving faith:
1. Verse 8 says that Noah found grace. In a great act of mercy, God sovereignly extended His grace toward Noah.
2. Noah was justified or declared to be righteous by God.
3. Thus, Noah was perfect (made complete) in so far as God's records are concerned.
4. Therefore he was able (enabled) to walk with God.
It was God's grace that made Noah aware of his dirty rotton sinful condition before a righteous, holy God. And it was God's grace that made him fear God enought to believe (faith) Him and obey (worship) Him.
Biblical salvation in any age is exactly this way; It is by God's sovereign grace, received through faith, that a believer is justified before God and declared to be complete in Him Then, only as a result of, and on the basis of this gft of Grace can one "walk" in fellowship with God, showing the genuiness of faith by (H)is works.
John Piper sums it up like this;
"This is the meaning of grace. We cannot obtain a right standing with God because of our works. It must be a free gift. We can only receive it by faith, cherishing it as our great treasure. This is why the Bible says, "By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Eph. 2:8-9). Christ suffered and died so that good works would be the effect, not the cause, of our acceptance. Not surprisingly, then, the next sentence says, "For we are...created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Eph. 2:10). That is we are saved for good works, not by good works."