Brother Lot: Picture of the Corrupted Christian
If Lot, the patriarch Abraham’s famed nephew, was living in our day we would be hard pressed to find a reason to believe that he was truly converted. Even looking at God’s record of Lot’s life, it would be difficult to conclude that Lot knew the true God, except that God explicitly states that Lot was a just, or righteous, man. See 2 Peter 2:7-8:
…And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
The fact that Lot is called “just” and “righteous” is significant. Lot was not righteous in a practical sense. He started out right but his end was woeful. As is painfully obvious, Lot’s righteousness was not based upon his own merit, for he had little, if any. Lot’s righteousness was like that of Abraham, a judicial righteousness because of his faith, not by his works. This truth is clearly seen in the fourth chapter of Romans.
I am neither a Calvinist nor an Armenian (yes, it is possible to be neither). In the area that closely relates to Lot’s life, the Calvinist and Armenian are very similar. Based on various verses of Scripture the Calvinist and Armenian are “kissing cousins” in regards to what is called Perseverance of the Saints. Both the Calvinist and the Armenian believe that once a person is converted they must endure, hold out, keep the faith, not turn away (or a number of other terms) in order have final salvation. The key difference is that the Calvinist believes that God does this for the believer and the Armenian believes that this is up to the believer himself. Nevertheless, the requirement is the same, and the result is the same in case of failure. I know I am simplifying the matter, which annoys some to no end ☺.
Lot fits into neither case. As is plain in Scripture, he started in faith and is last seen drunken and passed out, among other things. Lot was a man who was vexed by the ungodly lifestyle of those around him: i.e. Sodomites. It rubbed off on him. Take a lesson from that. In the record of Genesis chapter 19, we see a number of pitiful times in which Lot displayed how he was in love with the world ( 19:7; 19:8; 19:16; 19:19). It is shown in his family as well. Lot was a man that did not “endure”, “persevere” or “hold out”. We do not know the man’s heart; however, nearly all the requirements that many Calvinists and Armenians put as conditions to Perseverance of the Saints were violated by Lot. Yet, reality stares the reader in the face when God specifically calls Lot “just” and “righteous”. Let me give another point of view. Take a look at Genesis 19:22.
Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
The angel explicitly tells Lot that he cannot do anything until Lot is safely in Zoar. Following the pattern, the destruction Sodom and the surrounding plain is a picture of God’s destruction of the wicked in hell fire. It is one of the most oft-used illustrations of damnation in hell in the Bible. The angel indicated that he was bound to not send the fire until Lot was outta Dodge. So, the preservation of Lot, picturing the preservation of the saint, was not a result of his doing anything. It was not the result of holding on, holding out, enduring or anything of the sort. Lot wanted to stay in the city of destruction. He made it out simply because the angel grabbed his hand and made it happen (19:16).
Lot was preserved from destruction by God’s promise. He was preserved by virtue of God’s faithfulness to His Word. It has nothing, either directly or indirectly, to do with Lot’s works. Lot was not holding out to keep his salvation. It was also not that God made him to hold out. He was not holding out at all! His works were not righteous. The reason that Lot was saved from destruction was simply because God was not going to break His promise. Take a look a the well-known John 5:24:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
It is plain. When a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, and He Who sent Him, they have a promise that they shall not come into condemnation. They have passed from death unto life already. This is the promise. The promise is the reason for the preservation from the damnation of hell, not our works. See also 1 Peter 1:5:
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Image courtesy the United States Marine Corps.