To answer this question I would observe several things:
- The book of Genesis is naturally divided into 11 "toledoths" (see appendix 1 below) and Gen 6:8 is the last and concluding verse of the toldeoth of Adam. The thrust of Gen 6:8 is to contrast the righteous life and conduct of Noah compared to the wicked lives of his contemporaries. Note the text of Gen 6:5-8
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth,
and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was altogether
evil all the time. And the LORD regretted that He had made man on the
earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will
blot out man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—every
man and beast and crawling creature and bird of the air—for I am
grieved that I have made them.” Noah, however, found favor in the eyes
of the LORD.
- Thus, Noah finding grace was because he was prepared to find it and not repudiate divine favor by wicked conduct. Rom 1:18-22 discusses this same effect; specifically v18-20 says:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the
godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their
wickedness. For what may be known about God is plain to them, because
God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world
God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have
been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men
are without excuse.
- God's grace is extended to all people - see appendix 2 below. Thus, anyone can theoretically find God's grace because people are "without excuse" (Rom 1:20). However, if people are determined to be sinful, despite the pleadings of divine favor, then they will not "find grace".
- To "find favor in the eyes of God" is a quintessential Hebraism. Salvation and grace are the initiative of God alone (Phil 2:13, John 6:44, Rom 2:4) and our response is is due to the prompting of God because repentance is also a gift (Acts 5:31, 11:18, 2 Tim 2:25). Unfortunately, some reject this gracious gift which Jesus lamented (Matt 23:37, Acts 7:51, 1 Thess 5:19, Eph 4:30), and thus do not "find favor".
Note the text of Heb 4:16 -
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we
may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Note that we are encourage to "approach the throne" to receive mercy and find favor. James 4:8 tells us something similar -
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands,
you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Again, we come to God as we are but we must be will to be changed - we do not stay as we are and thus find favor.
APPENDIX 1 - Toledoths of Genesis
The book of Genesis is naturally divided into sections, each beginning with a "Toledoth" - a phrase that us usually translated by, "These are the generations of ..." Each appears to have been written by a different person with the editor of the book (Moses??) writing an introduction which is now Gen 1:1 - 2:3. These are:
- Gen 2:4 toledoth of Heavens and Earth
- Gen 5:1 toledoth of Adam
- Gen 6:9 toledoth of Noah
- Gen 10:1 toledoth of Shem Ham and Japheth
- Gen 11:10 toledoth of Shem
- Gen 11:27 toledoth of Terah
- Gen 25:12 toledoth of Ishmael
- Gen 25:19 toledoth of Isaac
- Gen 36:1 toledoth of Esau
- Gen 36:9 toledoth of Esau in Hill Country
- Gen 37:2 toledoth of Jacob
Each of these is a new section and Gen 6:8 ends and forms a conclusion to the toldeoth of Adam.
APPENDIX 2 - Divine Grace is Extended to ALL
Note the following which explicitly speak of universal salvation, and so divine grace, for ALL.
- John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
- John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave …”
- John 12:32, “I [Jesus] … will draw all people to myself.”
- John 12;47, “… for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
- Acts 17:30, “God … commands all people everywhere to repent.”
- Rom 3:23, 24, “… for all have sinned … and all are freely forgiven...”
- Rom 5:8, 10, “… while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … if, while were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him by the death of His Son, …”
- Rom 5:15, “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s [Adam’s] offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to the many.” [Note the same word, “many” applies to all people.]
- Rom 5:18, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all people, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all people, resulting in justification of life.”
- Rom 11:32, “For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.”
- 2 Cor 5:14, “…we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”
- 2 Cor 5:18, 19, “…God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ …”
- 1 Tim 2:3, 4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
- 1 Tim 2:6, “[Jesus Christ] gave Himself as a ransom for all people.”
- Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God appeared bringing salvation to all people.”
- Heb 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
- 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
- 1 John 2:2, “He Himself [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours [Christians to whom John writes] only but also for the whole world.”
- Isa 53:6, “We all like sheep have gone astray … and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”