Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But some of us at some time in our lives, or maybe even now, have been to a point where sin had seemingly overtaken us, making the phrase “fall short” an extreme understatement. We got so deep into our sin that not only could we not experience God’s glory, we couldn’t feel his presence or hear his voice. Our sin separated us from God so much so that we were in another world. Isolated from the Father, we couldn’t hear him calling us back to hum. We couldn’t hear the outcry against us. That’s what happened in this passage in Genesis. The people were so wicked and entrenched in their sin that God was trying to save them. We love God because he is so merciful, but he is also faithful and just. When we have accepted God’s call to salvation those attributes are beneficial to us, however that is not the case when we choose to live outside of God’s grace. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death and the people of Sodom were soon approaching their payday.
God is a gracious and merciful God, but we cannot live our lives in sin thinking he will tolerate our disobedience forever. We love to rest on the promises of God when we hear that he will supply all our needs according to his riches in glory or when we hear he’s going to pour us out a blessing we won’t have room enough to receive but there is a flip side. The bible clearly tells us in Galatians 5 that we cannot live any way we want to on earth and expect to live with God forever in heaven. “Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and things like these; they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
But I am so thankful to God that when we find ourselves stuck in the center of a sin situation, he doesn’t slam heaven’s doors in our faces. He provides us a way out of our sin. Lot was a righteous man surrounded by sin, but he wasn’t a slave to it. Because we are human, we are bound to sin. This doesn’t give us a free pass to sin and nor is that an excuse to stay in sin. In Genesis 19, God sent his angels to deliver Lot and his family from the destruction that was facing Sodom as a consequence of their sin. Before the angels came, Lot didn’t know what was about to happen. Someone reading this today, may not realize that God us faithful to his word in every respect. The wages of sin is death and if you let sin reign over your life, the end you face will be death. But in the same way God sent his angels to save Lot and his family, God sent Jesus Christ to save us. We don’t have to stay in our sin because Jesus died on the cross taking our sin with him. Meaning that we no longer have to accept the death we deserve, but we cab accept the gift of God which is eternal life.
The bible tells us that through Jesus’ death and resurrection we are free from sin which means we don’t have to live in sin any longer. But like many things in life, that is much easier said than done. When you are ready to leave your sin situation, everyone around you may not be ready or willing to leave with you. Some may even ridicule you for choosing to change. They may even question your ability to change believing that you really can’t. But you can’t let others hold you back. Leaving a life of sin may be a journey you have to take without the company of friends, family, or loved ones, but it certainly isn’t a journey you have to take alone. Just as the angels took Lot’s hands, Jesus will take our hands and guide us every step of the way. And when we feel like we can’t make it any further, he will even carry us. All we have to do is stay close to him, follow him, and trust him.
When the angels were leading Lot and his family out of Sodom, they gave them a vital piece of instruction and that was, “Don’t look back.” The path to righteousness isn’t one filled with roses and daisies and everyday of the journey the sky won’t always be blue and clear. In our own strength, attaining righteousness isn’t an easy task. It takes time and effort. It is not impossible to live a godly life on this earth but the only way to do it is to keep moving forward.
When we face hardships in our Christian walk we are tempted to think about how easy we had it or how much fun we had in our old sinful lives. I’m reminded of how the Israelites complained about the food they had while in the desert because they thought about how well they ate when they were back in Egypt. But it seems they forgot one major part about their past lives in Egypt, they were slaves. We only tend to remember the fun of sin but never seem to remember the pain, the hurt, or the emptiness we felt at the same time. The message for today is that although it may be hard, don’t look back.
When Lot’s wife looked back, she turned into a pillar of salt. She was frozen where she was. She was worse off than she was in Sodom and she never reached the freedom from destruction that her family would soon enjoy. We have to take on the mind of Paul who said in Philippians 3:12-13, “I do not count myself to have taken possession, but one thing I do, forgetting the things behind and reaching forward to the things before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” No runner has ever won a race by focusing on what’s going on behind them. The victory is always ahead of us. Let us claim our prize of eternal life by pressing forward and remembering not to look back.