Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation
Lot is an interesting character in the Bible, as is his story. When God called pre-Abraham (then called Abram) into Canaan, lot tagged along with him. History records,
So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there (Genesis 12:4-5).
And when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, he spared Lot and his family; for Scripture tells us,
With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them (Genesis 19:15-16).
One day, while pondering sin, Lot flashed across my mind; so I posed the question to the Holy Spirit: “Would God have spared me?”
Before I tell you the answer the Holy Spirit gave me, let’s take a look at Lot. When Abraham and Lot parted ways (due to being overly-blessed) Lot chose to go to Sodom, as the land was better (and certainly more interesting than the wasteland Abraham ended up getting). It is recorded,
Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom (Genesis 13:10-12).
Lot’s choice has led many pastors to call him the ultimate compromiser, as Sodom was noted as a pretty sinful place: “Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord” (Genesis 13:13). However, that’s not entirely true of Lot. According to 2 Peter 2:4-9, Lot wasn’t compromising at all about Sodom; nor was he cool with what was going on around him; for we read,
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)- if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment (2 Peter 2:4-9).
I don’t know about you, but considering how many times Peter calls him righteous, I’d say that Lot is getting a pretty unfair deal when pastors look down on him and call him a compromiser. Having said that though, Lot did try to hand over his daughters to be gang-raped by essentially every man in the city:
Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom- both young and old- surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Lot went outside to me them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection f my roof” (Genesis 19:4-8).
Aaaaaaaand he later got wasted and slept with both of his daughters and impregnated them:
That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I lay with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and lie with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went and lay with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down and when she got up (Genesis 19:33-35).
So it’s safe to say that Lot wasn’t perfect. Nevertheless, the Lord reminds us that he must have been righteous enough; because God saved him: “So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where lot had lived” (Genesis 19:29).
So, the question stands: Would God save you (or in the case of my original query, “Would God save me?”)? The answer the Holy Spirit gave me was probably clearer than anything else he’s told me: “Isn’t He already?” You see, we’re not perfect, nobody is. Even the Bible admits that “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). But, those who trust in Jesus gain the Holy Spirit, who hates sin:
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned (John 16:7-11).
And since believers have the sin-hating Holy Spirit living inside of them, sin becomes distasteful to them. Paul notes that
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might because heirs having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7).
Even though believers are marked as righteous (like Lot), they’re bound to make poor decisions and awful mistakes at time (also like Lot). Even one of the greatest apostles, Paul, wrote, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). Such is the life of a follower of Christ.
This world and all that is in it is marked for destruction. Jesus tells us,
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:36-39).
And yet, the destruction of our world is being delayed in order for the Lord to save as many people as possible from destruction. 2 Peter 3:7-9 explains,
By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand hears are like a day. 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.
This is similar to the situation that was present in Lot’s time. Before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Abraham negotiated with the Lord for the city, and the conclusion was that the Lord was totally ok holding off destruction for the sake of a few savable people:
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it” (Genesis 18:32).
The first dude speaking was Abraham, saying that it’d be messed up for God to destroy a city if there were at least ten righteous people there. The second guy was the Lord, and he agreed. As it turned out, only one person was really righteous (Lot) and by extension that guy’s family; so instead God just saved them and burned the rest to the ground. God’s plan for saving Lot is not unlike our own at the coming of the end of days; for when the end comes, those who are with Christ will be saved from the destruction; for it is written,
…That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:9-10).
So when the end comes and the world goes the way of Sodom; the Lord will grab his people by the hand and lead them to safety as he did Lot and his family. Even more, if you noticed, Lot’s righteousness and eventual salvation wasn’t even all on him (I mean, this is the dude who almost gave his girls away to be gang-raped); rather it was partly because of the Lord’s love of Abraham that he wouldn’t destroy Lot with the rest of the city. This holds true today, for when the end comes, God isn’t going to look to your righteousness (as we’ve already established, we’re not perfect) but to Jesus’ and your relationship with the Christ.
Will you be spared when the end comes? The better question might be, “Is Christ holding your hand to lead you through the gates?” If the answer is yes, great; rock on. If it is not, then let’s take care of that right now. Read the following prayer out loud and give your life to Jesus Christ, so that you may too be declared righteous through him when the world is judged:
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to be saved.
Forgive me for the life of sin I’ve led,
And the resistance I’ve given you in the past.
Today is a new day,
A new day in your light.
Fill me with your Holy Spirit,
Guide me in how to live,
Be the master of my life (and death I suppose too).
You are my Lord,
Now and forever.
In your name, Lord Jesus, I pray,
For more information, check out the Emergency Salvation Kit, there’s a prayer in there too and some information on starting your new life in Christ!