Firmly Settled In Sodom

“And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;” (Genesis 19:1)

The last time we saw Lot, he was being rescued by his Uncle Abraham from captivity under the forces of Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14). Now, we meet him again in Genesis 19: and this time he is firmly settled in Sodom. We are told here that he was sitting at the gate, and as we learn later in the Bible, this was a position of prominence in the cities of the day; a place where the elders of the community presided over the affairs of the people (e.g., Deuteronomy 25:7). Lot apparently had no intentions of just passing through Sodom, he was putting down some roots. As Lot sees the two angels approaching the city gates late in the day, he goes out to meet them and offer them a place to stay in his own home. He was keenly aware of the fate that would await these strangers if they did not have the refuge of his home to sleep in that night; we are told that he pressed them greatly, insisting that they stay with him after they suggested that they would remain in the streets after nightfall.

“And if [the Lord] rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);” (2 Peter 2:7-8 ESV)

Lot’s story is a very sad one. It is a tale of compromise and mixed devotion. Peter tells us that Lot was a righteous man, something we may have never really guessed by seeing the sordid details of his life. Lot believed God, he believed in God: Lot was a saved man. But Lot was certainly not a man who lived above all reproach, avoiding the very appearance of evil. It seems that he was more like those whom Jude describes as being pulled out of the fire, their garments spotted by the flesh (Jude 23). Lot’s troubles did not just come upon him suddenly. Like all who wander from the holy path that God intends for them to tread upon, it was the culmination of one bad decision, one undealt with sin after another. It all started way back when “he lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan” (Genesis 13:10). The seeds of our errors come when we look away from the things of God and set our eyes upon the things of the world.

There is so much talk and debate and argument today over whether or not we can lose Salvation. Can the child of God live any way he pleases and remain a saved believer? I once saw a little toddler with a T-shirt that said “How much can I get away with and still go to Heaven?” Sadly, there are many in the Church with just this attitude. So many have such little concern about living for God in this life; they seem to be only concerned with ending up in Hell or not. What a terrible state of affairs! Lot lived among the wicked in Sodom, and he did so by his own choice. But what was the cost to him in so doing? In a word: he lost everything. Yes, he remained saved, that much is true. But he lost his career, his home, his possessions, his friends, his wife, his sons-in-law, his status, his reputation, his witness for God, his testimony, and the virtue of his two daughters. But, yes, I will concede that he retained his Salvation.

In addition to all of this, Lot suffered the daily torment of living among the wickedness and evil of the people of Sodom. Peter tells us that this “righteous man” was tormented in his “righteous soul.” After we have come to faith in Christ, we simply cannot live like the rest of the world without paying a tremendous price in our own hearts. Just ask the believer who struggles with addiction, or remains bound by a habitual sin. If they have come to a genuine faith in Christ, then they are in agony! There is absolutely no peace for the back-slidden Christian. Let us learn from the unfortunate life of Lot and put away all sinfulness. Let us live for God today. May we put down our own roots, not in Sodom, not in the world, but in the place that God has prepared for us. This world is not our home; let us not be guilty of “firmly settling” here.

***English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

6 responses

  1. Loren,

    Only God knows all and is our final Judge….. I agree in many ways with what you are saying, and yet, think of Hebrews 10:26 — “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”

    That sounds pretty final and is something for us to consider in our own personal lives…. The lives of others we need to leave up to God.

    Margaret

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  2. Christians sin — there’s no doubt — and some more ‘grave’ sin than others. But this is how I view it. Does it prick the conscious of the Christian? Or does the person sin without really giving it any thought or bothering them? If a person can sin without it pricking their conscious like the unbelieving world and make excuses, then I wonder about the salvation. For it is recognizing our sinful nature and turning that brought us to salvation — if we did not see our sinful nature from God’s perspective, why on earth would we repent? By the same token, if we can sin and not have it even prick our conscious, what makes the person different than the non-believer?

    Yeah, Lot was saved because the Bible makes that clear.

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  3. Margaret,

    That we cannot know with certainty about the Salvation of others, I agree. We dare not presume to determine with any finality any other person’s position with God, save for those of whom we are specifically told of in Scripture. Lot was saved, we can be sure, because the Bible tells us that he was. I confess that, judging by outward appearance, I would never have reached such a conclusion on my own. As far as those who live their lives around us, I am certain that outward appearances often prove just as unreliable. There are those who belong to Him that we might not suspect, and we know by our Lord’s own words that there are those who appear to belong to Him that certainly do not (Matt. 7:21-23).

    As far as knowing whether we ourselves belong to Him: this I believe that we can know with absolute certainty. The Lord’s promise to us is that whosoever believes on Him is not condemned, has passed from death to everlasting life (John 3:18, 5:24). When we sin, we know that we have an advocate with the Father: Jesus Christ Who is faithful and just to forgive us of all sin, cleansing us from all unrighteousness when we confess our sin to Him (1 John 1:9-2:1). We also have the testimony of the Holy Spirit Who bears witness that we belong to Christ (Rom. 8:16).

    That being said, however, it is worth noting that the Bible offers no consolation to to those who are not truly trusting in Christ, and neither would I. How do we know if someone else is truly trusting in Christ? We do not. We can only know the reality or disillusion of our own faith, whether it be genuine or not. If we really belong to Jesus Christ, then we are going to be as Lot was when we depart from fellowship with the Lord and fall into sin: we will feel the torment of conviction. Those who do not belong to God will feel no shame in their wickedness, no, they are doing what comes naturally. They will be as the townspeople of Sodom who came “out from every quarter” and were so intent on fulfilling their wicked lusts that even blindness did not dissuade them!

    All that I can really tell anyone is that if they have fallen into sin and have not even the fervent desire to live righteously and walk holy before our holy God, if they are not under the conviction of God’s Spirit to depart from their sin and turn toward God, then they would do well to be sure that they have really ever trusted Christ indeed. For if God’s Spirit does not abide in them, then they are none of His (Rom. 8:9).

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  4. Dr. J. Vernon McGee used an analogy on his “Thru The Bible” radio broadcast that has stuck with me. He said simply this:

    “When the unsaved man goes out and paints the town red, he wakes up the next morning and says: Next time I am going to go out and use more paint and a bigger brush! When the child of God does so, he wakes up the next morning and woefully declares: I hate myself for what I have done!

    I agree, our attitude toward our sin is a tell-tale sign whether our faith be genuine or not.

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  5. What an excellent analogy. I confess that I have not listened to McGee’s “Thru the Bible” broadcast.

    I think that’s one of the distinguishing factors between a Christian & a non-Christian. Sometimes we look the same on the outside — that is both Christians and non-Christians are capable of very good and moral deeds (at least in our eyes) and both Christians & non-Christians are capable of sinning. Sometimes the difference is what is inside — and while I may look at something and wonder, it’s not up to me. God knows. Someone could fool me into believing they are really a Christian or vice-versa — but in the end, it doesn’t matter. God knows.

    It just seems that there just needs to be some pricking of a Christian’s conscious when they do something — that’s the Holy Spirit testifying to them.

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  6. [...] He had lived among them long enough to work his way up to a position of leadership in the city (as we looked at last time), and as Peter tells us in 2 Peter 2:7-8, Lot was tormented in his own soul daily by their wicked [...]

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