Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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November 6, 2014
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November 6, 2014
God's Mercy And Desire To Save Us And Not To Destroy Us, Free Will And Personal Choice, God's Divine Chastisements: Let It Rather Be Healed, Lights Shining In A Perverted World, God's Love For Lot's Wife, Danger Of Procrastination Indecisiveness And Looking Back, Don't Ignore God's Warning Signs And Go On Business As Usual, Noah And The Flood, Family Members Who Reject Jesus, God's Word Never Returns To Him Void, Did Lot's Wife Lose Her Salvation?, Dangerous Practice Of Twisting The Meaning Of The Scriptures, Blasphemy Against The Holy Ghost Is Only Unpardonable Sin, God Is Not Irrational Or Illogical, Destruction Of The Flesh To Save The Spirit, God Is Married To The Backslider And Won't Forsake Us, Demas Loved Present World, Don't Judge Other People's Salvation Or Walk Of Faith, Work Out Your Own Salvation With Fear And Trembling, The Lord Knoweth Them That Are His, Who Shall Stand?, God's Mercy Is The Bottom Line, Not Saved By Our Own Works, Our God Is Not A Respecter Of Persons, Closing Remarks, More Reading Resources
Aside from emphasizing the importance of avoiding any kind of procrastination when God says to move, the other main point I wish to stress here regarding the story of Lot and his family is God's great Mercy, and His desire to save all men. This is a topic which I likewise discuss in articles such as "God's Mercy, Judgment and Fallen Angels", "Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement", "All Are Given a Chance, But . . ." and "Is the Message of Salvation Meant for All Men?". Of course, one of my favorite Bible verses which clearly expresses God's desire to save us -- as opposed to destroying us -- is the following one:
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, KJV
Of course, by stating "not willing that any should perish" the previous verse leads right to another verse which we all know and love:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him SHOULD NOT PERISH, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16, KJV
God has made it so simple. All we have to do is believe in and accept the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the only means of Atonement for our sins. Following are a few more Bible verses which discuss God's desire for healing and repentance. These verses make it very clear that God is not a monster as some people erroneously assume. He does not willingly destroy us. He truly wants to save us. But as I have shared many times before -- such as in the articles "Free Will and Personal Choice" and "Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?" -- God will not force Himself upon us. He wants us to choose Him and His ways out of love, and not simply due to robotic obedience:
"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
Ezekiel 33:11, KJV
"For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men."
Lamentations 3:31-33, KJV
"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
Matthew 18:10-14, KJV
"And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."
Luke 9:51-56, KJV
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Luke 19:10, KJV
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."
Acts 3:19-21, KJV
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
1 Timothy 2:3-4, KJV
"And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but LET IT RATHER BE HEALED."
Hebrews 12:5-13, KJV
I suppose that the situation with Lot and his family living in the wicked city of Sodom is similar to Noah and his family living amongst the sinful world of their day, or maybe even us living amongst the perverted, sinful world today as well; and boy is it becoming more corrupt and ungodly as each year passes. This is particularly true in the United States of America with its increasingly liberal spirit. I am reminded of this verse:
"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
Philippians 2:15, KJV
One thing which is clear in my mind is that God loved Lot's wife, and He wanted to save her from destruction. Her awful mistake was that she looked back; either because her human curiosity got the best of her, or perhaps because she really didn't want to forsake Sodom. We really don't know her true motivation for looking back, because the Bible does not say. In the following verses, neither does Jesus say why Lot's wife actually looked back. All He does is use Noah and Lot as examples to reveal what the world would be like upon His return; and then He uses Lot's wife as an example to teach that when God says it is time to go, it is time to go, and there is no time to gather personal belongings, or to look back for any reason, because procrastination, vacillation and indecisiveness may very well mean the death of us:
"And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife."
Luke 17:26-32, KJV
Another important lesson which we can draw from the examples of Noah and his family and Lot and his family, and the wicked world in which they both lived, is that it is not wise to go on business as usual, ignoring God's warning signs. In the case of Noah and his family, God gave the wicked world one hundred and twenty years while Noah and his sons built the Ark, as we see here:
"And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years."
Genesis 6:3, KJV
Despite the fact that they watched Noah and his family build the Ark for so long a time, evidently, none of those people turned to the Lord and repented of their sins. As a result, they all perished in the Flood waters, as we see by these verses:
"And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die."
Genesis 6:17, KJV
"And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."
Genesis 7:21-23, KJV
"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."
1 Peter 3:20, KJV
As we also learned in part one, Lot pleaded with both of his sons-in-law to flee from Sodom, but they foolishly failed to take heed to his admonitions. Thus, they perished with all of the rest of the wicked people who dwelt in the cities of the plains. They rejected God's salvation through Lot when it was offered to them. It saddens me to think about how many of our own family members may perish today if they likewise fail to take heed to our Christian witness. However, we should never lose hope, because one never knows how God may be working in the life and heart of that mother, father, sister or brother. For the record, I have witnessed amazing changes in members of my own family; so I know that it happens, and your witness may be having more of an effect than you even realize. I am reminded of the following two verses:
"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:10-11, KJV
Returning to the original comment which motivated me to write this article, does this mean that Lot's wife was condemned to Hell because she disobeyed by turning around and looking as God destroyed Sodom? Does hesitancy and vacillation make one worthy of such a terrible fate? Personally, I am not so sure that this is true in every case. While Jesus used Lot's wife as an example that we should not procrastinate when He says to leave, this is not sufficient evidence, in my view, to adamantly state that she lost her Salvation as a result of her actions. As I noted earlier in this article, to make such a statement is personal opinion, conjecture, speculation and theory at best, because the Bible does not clarify the issue one way or the other.
Furthermore, to arrive at such a conclusion is really taking the previous verses out of context, in my opinion. Where the Lord talks about the days of Noah and Lot and his family, the subject of the discussion is not Salvation and Eternal Life. As such, to claim that Jesus' words regarding Lot's wife is clear proof that she lost her Salvation is merely seeing what we want to see, and twisting the meaning of the Scriptures. As I noted in part one, the danger of this practice is that it often leads to the propagation of false doctrines. Let me also remind you that the Lord clearly taught that the only unpardonable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, as we see by the following verses:
"Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."
Matthew 12:31-32, KJV
"Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit."
Mark 3:28-30, KJV
Please stop and ask yourself the following question. Would a merciful God who specifically wanted to save this very family turn around the next minute and damn one of them to Hell? In my mind, it does not make much sense. Furthermore, it paints a picture of a very irrational, illogical God, and this is not the God that I personally know. There is both rhyme and reason to everything that He does. He is not a hothead who changes His mind from one second to the next. I am likewise reminded of something that the Apostle Paul wrote regarding an incident of incest which occurred in the city of Corinth:
"To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
1 Corinthians 5:5, KJV
Ever since I discovered the previous verse years ago, I have pondered the possibility that God may in some unique cases destroy a person's flesh, just to prevent them from sinning further against Him. However, just because God chooses to destroy -- or allows Satan to destroy -- a person's flesh, does not necessarily mean that their soul has been lost; at least that seems to be what the Apostle Paul is saying. Does this apply to Lot's wife? Again, I really don't know, because the Bible does not provide us with a clear answer. While the Bible informs us that God abhors the backslider in heart and takes no pleasure in him, at the same time, it also teaches us that He is married to the backslider as well, and that He will never leave us or forsake us. Consider the following set of verses:
"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Luke 9:62, KJV
"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."
Hebrews 10:38, KJV
"Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:"
Jeremiah 3:14, KJV
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
John 10:28, KJV
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:37, KJV
". . . for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5b, KJV
"If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."
2 Timothy 2:13, KJV
To reiterate an earlier point, we don't know the condition of Lot's wife's heart. We don't know why she turned around. We don't know if she was really backslidden, and didn't want to leave Sodom because she loved it there -- I am reminded of Demas -- or if she just grew curious when she heard Sodom being destroyed behind her. Concerning Demas:
"For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia."
2 Timothy 4:10, KJV
Upon further reflection, my personal view is that we have a lot more important things to teach and preach today, other than the spiritual fate of Lot's wife, which is an unknowable thing. Why any pastor or minister would even broach such an esoteric subject, or teach it publicly as firm doctrine, is beyond me. As we are admonished in the Scriptures, instead of worrying about the spiritual fate of other people -- or more appropriately stated, trying to determine the status of their Salvation -- and judging and criticizing their personal walk with the Lord, we should all be more concerned with our own Salvation, and our personal standing before God. The Apostle Paul writes the following:
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
Philippians 2:12, KJV
"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:"
Colossians 2:16, KJV
Please notice how the previous verse comes right before the one that I shared with you earlier regarding how we should be "blameless and harmless" and "without rebuke". So as I said, we should be more concerned with our own walk of faith, and make sure that we are pleasing the Lord, instead of being such busybodies who pry into and criticize the lives of other Christians we know. Similarly, whether or not Lot's wife is in Heaven is really not our business to know. It's only God's business. To reiterate, Salvation is a very personal issue, and it is not for us to judge or to try to determine whether or not another person is truly saved.
I have heard certain proud Christians say "That person can't possibly be saved!" Really now? How do you know? Are you God? Do you have the mind of God? Do you know all of His plans and intentions? Have you read the Lamb's Book of Life? I realize that there are many Christians in the world who do not really act like Christians. We have all failed in that regard at one time or another, and probably more than once. We've all been selfish, and we have all made some serious mistakes in our lives. I know that I have. If you personally deny this, then in my opinion, you're simply being proud, self-righteous and dishonest with yourself. The Lord knows each of our hearts. He also knows who belongs to Him, and who doesn't, as we see by the following verse:
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, THE LORD KNOWETH THEM THAT ARE HIS. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
2 Timothy 2:19, KJV
Before concluding this article, let me leave you with a final thought, and some final verses, for your consideration. If Lot's wife lost her Salvation simply because she disobeyed the Angels by turning around and looking behind her, what does that say about the rest of us? What does that say about Adam and Eve who are responsible for bringing sin and death into the world? What does that tell us regarding King David who committed both adultery and murder? What about Job's wife who told her afflicted husband to curse God and die? If Lot's wife lost her Salvation merely for turning around, then how do we justify Peter's Salvation in light of the fact that he denied the Lord three times? Or how do we explain the Apostle Paul who persecuted, incarcerated and killed Christians? And on and on the list of great sinners goes. As we read in the Scriptures:
"If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"
Psalms 130:3, KJV
"But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:"
Malachi 3:2, KJV
The bottom line is that it is all about God's Mercy, because our own works -- no matter how good we may think they are -- will never be enough to save us, and much less to keep us saved. This is a topic which I discuss in quite a few of my articles, but allow me to share a few more key verses with you:
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
Isaiah 64:6, KJV
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one . . . But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:10, 21-23, KJV
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
Titus 3:5, KJV
While I obviously cannot prove this point one way or the other, logic seems to dictate that if all of the previously named people were saved despite their personal flaws and sins, then in order to be righteous and fair, God would also have to admit Lot's wife into Heaven as well. After all, the Bible clearly teach us that He is no respecter of persons, as we clearly see by the following verses:
"Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts."
2 Chronicles 19:7, KJV
"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:"
Acts 10:34, KJV
"For there is no respect of persons with God."
Romans 2:11, KJV
"And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him."
Ephesians 6:9, KJV
"But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons."
Colossians 3:25, KJV
"And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:"
1 Peter 1:17, KJV
With these thoughts I will bring this article to a close. If you have enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing its URL with your online friends. If you happen to have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would also appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thank you so much! May God bless you abundantly!
For additional information and further study, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which are related to the topics which were discussed in this article. All of them are also found on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
All Are Given a Chance, But . . .
Chariots of Fire: A Voluntary Voyage to Heaven?
Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?
Five Foolish Virgins: Don't Procrastinate!
Free Will and Personal Choice
God's Mercy, Judgment and Fallen Angels
Is the Message of Salvation Meant for All Men?
Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement
Noah's Ark and the Genesis Flood
Noah's Flood: The Urantia Book Exposed Again!
Not Everyone is a Child of God
Oh Israel, Why Will Ye Die?
OSAS: Are We Once Saved, Always Saved?
OSAS: The Hebrews 10:26-27 Controversy
Striving for Perfection: Are You a Sinless Saint?
The Fruits of Disobedience
The Great Tribulation and the Rapture