and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men2 Peter 2:7(NASB)
Almost every New Testament epistle gives grave warnings about false teachings and their erroneous doctrines, which can cause havoc in the life of an ill-equipped believer. And much in Peter's second letter talks about the characteristics of apostates, the consequence of following dangerous dogmas, the conduct of such dissenters, and their final down-fall and condemnation.
The whole of 2 Peter 2 is devoted to exposing the perilous destruction that follows in the wake of apostates, and the elderly apostle uses examples from the Old Testament to demonstrate the ramifications of making wrong choices in life. He talked about the fallen angels who sinned by leaving their first estate, (v4). He spoke of the wicked people of Noah's day who rejected his call to righteousness, (v6). And he identified the homosexuals and sexually perverted people of Sodom and Gomorrah in his teaching, (v8).
Peter then uses a series of conditional statements if..... then.. OR more accurately, since..... then.. in quick succession to justify his conclusion, which is the same for each example: 1) IF God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.....then... AND 2) SINCE God did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.....then... AND 3) IF God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter.....then... AND 4) SINCE God rescued righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men.....THEN... the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.
The first three conditional statements refer to the unsaved, the ungodly, and the unrighteous - condemned sinners who are under punishment for the day of judgment. The final conditional statements relates to LOT, a believer, "and if He rescued righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men.....THEN..."
Lot presents as the supreme example of a carnal believer. When he accompanied Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees, he probably hoped that he would reap the benefits of Abraham's promise from God. He greedily chose the best of the land and the most fertile plain when he and Abraham parted company. While he was living in the corrupt city of Sodom, Lot seemed more interested in accumulating earthly wealth than storing up treasures in heaven and preaching the good news to lost sinners.
This verse makes it clear that the degradation and debauchery that surrounded Lot in Sodom distressed this man. We read, "Righteous Lot was oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men." He was overwhelmed by the filthy conduct of the citizens. His heart was tortured and tormented in his inner being by the gross behaviour of his neighbours, yet he made no attempt to move away or teach them how to live godly lives.
His wife was a very materialistic woman and no doubt her unspiritual attitude and selfish behaviour had a demoralising effect on Lot, but his suggestion to give his virgin daughters to the marauding crown of sexually perverted men, is a testimony to the depth of ungodliness to which this wretched and unprincipled believer had fallen.
There are certain theologians that consider Lot was never saved because it was not stated in the Scripture, and his life was far from godly. There are others who teach that Lot was saved, but lost his salvation because of his ungodly behaviour, but this is not what Peter teaches. Lot is labelled as "righteous", despite his unprincipled behaviour and selfish lifestyle. "Righteous Lot was oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men."
Like Abraham, Lot believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. His salvation may not be stated in Scripture, but this passage identifies Lot as a believer who made many mistakes in his life. "Saved" as Paul puts it, "saved, yet as though by fire".
It may not be evident that Lot was a righteous man in Genesis, nor that He was "oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men in Sodom," but the Holy Spirit, speaking through Peter, declares it to be so - for our righteousness does NOT depend on what we DO, but on what Christ has done for us. Our salvation does not depend on what we ARE or how we LIVE but on what we BELIEVE.
Lot's salvation is secure, for Scripture declares it to be so. But unlike his uncle, he did not translate his faith into good works for the honour of God. He chose to live his life to please himself and was adversely influenced by his materialistic wife and debauched neighbours, rather than seeking to please God. What a lesson for all of us, who are saved by grace through faith in Christ, to LIVE by faith and to do only those things that honour our God.
In the ages to come, Lot will receive his free gift of salvation, because he was SAVED by faith... but he will have forfeited any reward because he did not LIVE by faith. May we live by faith and store up for ourselves treasure in heaven - gold, silver, precious stones. Ane may we be ready to be presented to Christ as a chaste virgin, with white robes, which are the good works of the saints, done in the power of the Spirit for the glory of God... when we stand before Christ at the Bema judgement seat.
Heavenly Father, thank You for my great salvation and thank You that my salvation does not depend on what I have done, but on what Christ has done on my account. Thank You for the example of Lot, who was credited with righteousness by grace, through faith, but who lived an ungodly life that will cause him to suffer loss in the eternal ages to come. I pray that my relationships with others and the choices I make throughout this earthly life, will honour Your holy name, and not cause me to stand naked before You or without saintly white robes of righteousness. Teach me the lessons You would have me learn, and may I walk in the path of righteousness for His name's sake. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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