But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26)
This is an anti-climax. It is a sad ending for a good narrative. A sorrowful ending for a merciful deliverance. We have already seen in Genesis 19 how God mercifully delivered Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom which is a picture of the world of sin (vv.15-22). After the deliverance or escape, verses 23-25 shows us the judgement of God over sin. But then in the verse 26, we see a sad turn of events. Lot’s wife didn’t make it after escaping Sodom and Gomorrah. She looked back and turned into a pillar of Salt. Jesus Christ commenting on this event in light of his second coming and final judgement issued a reminder to his hearers: Remember Lot’s Wife (Luke 17:32). And that will be our title for this morning, “Remember Lot’s Wife.” Of all the virtuous women in the Bible, Jesus chose to use this unnamed woman for a sermon illustration. And that means we must take this serious. This statement by Jesus is clearly a warning. And in the broader picture of biblical revelation, this event points to a greater event in redemptive history, that is the second coming of Christ and final judgement. So the event is significant for our learning. And I will say this can serve as a pattern for Christian living. So what are we to Remember About Lot’s Wife? Three things: Her Disobedience. I will phrase this as A Call To Obedience. Then Her Worldliness. I will also phrase this as A Call To Separation From The World. Then finally Her Backsliding which I will also phrase as A Call To Persevere.
What we see in the action of Lot’s wife is a disobedience and disregard for God’s command. By looking back, she disobeyed a clear command of God. In their escape from Sodom and Gomorrah, the angel was unambiguous. He was clear without doubt ( v.17). The verse 17 clearly explains what happened in v.26: She looked back, she disobeyed, she disregarded the commands of the angel. And just as the angels warned, she received judgement. Disobedience to God’s commands comes with consequences. Disobedience is unbelief. Disobedience is sin. And the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Now you and I live in a world of sin, suffering and separation from God because of the sin of one man, Adam. In the Garden of Eden, they were given clear commands and they disobeyed God. After that they received the penalty of that disobedience, sin and death entered the human race. Adam stood as a representative of the whole human race. So his sin passed on to the whole human race and every human being is declared guilty before God. Every single one of us is guilty of disobeying God’s commands. None of us can escape. The judgement on Lot’s wife is a judgement awaiting everyone living in disobedience to God. And this is where the mercies of God come in. Oh consider your life. How in many ways you have disobeyed God. Spurned his grace and disregarded his laws. I believe we can count numerous times in our lives where this is true
You and I are all law breakers of God. People who have rebelled against God. We deserve the judgement of God. But there is one who has fully obeyed all of God’s commands for us. He lived a perfect and righteous life and died in our place to satisfy the judgement of God. And we are called upon to put our trust and faith in this one man for the salvation of our souls. So to obey the commands of God, firstly is to have faith in this man Jesus. There is no way you and I can obey God’s commands without putting our faith in Jesus.
So her disobedience is A Call To Obedience For The Christian
Now it is not only Jesus who spoke of an OT event to warn his hearers, but in the epistles, we are reminded of examples from the OT which should serve as a pattern for how we are to live our lives as Christians. How are we to live our lives? We are to live our lives in obedience to the truth. In obedience to God. The Christian life then is A Call To Obedience. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, Paul speaks about the disobedience of the Israelites after they have been delivered from Egypt. And pointing out the consequences of that disobedience, Paul states that it was written for our example. Dear friends, you and I have been called to live our lives in obedience to God. Our obedience is a proof of our devotion, love and commitment to Christ. If you love me, you will keep my commandments Jesus said (John 14:15). Indeed if you are saved, then God himself is working out his will in you.
Sodom and Gomorrah as we have already seen is a picture of the world and sin. And this was the problem of Lot’s wife. She loved the world. She was worldly. She wasn’t separated from the world. When the text says “she looked back…” that phrase is not just a casual turning back to observe what was going on. No, it goes beyond that. It is a picture of a deep rooted attachment to Sodom that she couldn’t just let go. It is a deep attachment to the world. It is a deep attachment to sin. She loved Sodom. She was in love with the world.
When the time for separation arrived Lot’s wife could not tear herself away from the world. She had always been in it, and had loved it, and delighted in it (Charles Spurgeon)
The word “looked” in the original language means to regard with favour or care. To fix a gaze intently. That was the problem. Lot’s wife was consumed with the world and couldn’t break free from it. Let’s examine our own lives. Are there areas of worldliness in us? What things excite you? What things do you set your affection on? What things occupy your attention most? All these points to whether we are truly living for Christ or we are living for ourselves.
And for the Christian, a worldliness is A Call To Separation From The World for us. This doesn’t mean we detach ourselves from the world. It doesn’t mean we don’t engage in any activity in the world. But it means there should be a clear distinction between Christians and unbelievers. The church and the world. We live in the world but we are not of the world. We do not order our lives according to the sinful pattern of the world. We are to influence the world, rather than the world influencing us. If we cannot tell the difference between you and your unbelieving friends or neighbours in how you live your life, then there is a problem. Christians are those who have been separated from the world of sin, into the world of God’s light. And whenever God has called a people to himself, he has called them to separate themselves from the world of sin (1 John 2:15-17)
Lot’s wife didn’t make it. She backslided. She fell back. She didn’t make it to the final destination. She received the judgment of God. And this danger awaits anyone who plays with their faith ( Luke 9:62, Hebrews 10:36-39). Now these are warnings in Scripture to ensure people don’t presume on the grace of God and take things for granted in the faith. As a church, we believe in the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints or what is commonly called Once Saved For Ever Saved. We believe that those God saves from sin will never lose their salvation. Listen to this.
They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace but shall certainly perservere therein to the end, and be eternally saved (Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 17 section 1) But Lot’s wife appeared a saved person who lost their salvation. Someone would then point to this and say there you have it. Someone can be saved and lose their salvation. No! That cannot happen. Okay, so what do we make of this verse? Lot’s wife clearly lost it, after she was saved.
Being part of the visible people of God is no guarantee of eternal security if it is not combined with a living, personal ongoing trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (Alistair Begg)
What Begg is saying is that, belonging to a saved community or being a member of a Christian family doesn’t necessarily guarantee you eternal security. And this is a perfect picture of Lot’s Wife. She was Lot’s wife. She was the wife of a righteous man. She shared the same bed with a righteous man, yet she was not saved. What a tragedy. She was like Judas, who was a disciple of Jesus, yet was lost. Children, listen to me. You are not saved because you have Christian parents. You need a personal faith in Christ. You have to believe in Jesus for your salvation.
Lot’s wife was saved from Sodom and Gomorrah physically because of her association with Lot. But she later proves in the verse that she was not saved at all. Brethren, a mere profession of faith is not enough. There must be evidence, fruit to indeed prove we are saved. There must be a clear evidence of repentance. Are you saved I must ask? Are you sure you are saved? Have you truly believed in the Lord Jesus for the pardon of sin?
See, no one who has truly been saved will lose their salvation. But this also is not a licence for us to live our lives anyhow. Often when you speak about the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, people tend to think then you can live your life anyhow and still be saved. No, that is a false understanding. No one truly saved will live their lives anyhow. And the greater comfort is that it is actually God who causes us to persevere. And so some have called it the Preservation of the Saints, that is God himself preserves his own. We will persevere as God preserves us and we can take comfort in this (John10:27-28, Philippians 1:6).