14 November 2011

Friend of the World; Enemy of God

"Remember Lot's Wife"—Luke 17:32
by Phil Johnson

ot began his career as a tent-dweller like Abraham. But after he parted from his uncle, Genesis 13:12 says "he pitched his tent toward Sodom." Soon he moved into the city and became comfortable there.

In fact, Lot apparently became a man of some importance in the community, because Genesis 19:1 says "Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom"—which tells us that he ultimately became a kind of civic official there. To have a claim on that place, you had to be someone of importance, recognized by everyone in the city.

He may have initially sought prominence in Sodom out of a belief that such status would better enable him to "engage the culture." But in the end Lot had absolutely no influence for good there.

As much as Lot may have enjoyed the comforts of city life, he never felt at home in Sodom. Peter tells us Lot's righteous soul was vexed every day by the wickedness of that city's rampant perversions. No matter how settled Lot became in Sodom, his heart was never at home in that city. He never came to love the debauchery and evil indulgences that characterized that place.

Mrs. Lot was different. She was attached to Sodom. If that city was not her home when Lot married her, it became her home in every sense. She grew to love to the place. No matter how evil it was, she did not want to leave. She probably loved being the wife of a prominent person in such a sophisticated, morally liberated city. There is no suggestion that her soul was vexed by the wickedness there.

First John 2:15 says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." That was precisely the thing that caused Mrs. Lot's downfall. She loved Sodom.

Why did she love that evil place so much? Because the love of the Father was not in her. Her values were worldly values. The things she loved were worldly things. She was a friend of the world, and therefore she was an enemy of God. And when faced with the necessity of fleeing a world that was perishing, with the way of divine deliverance open before her, she could not tear herself away from what she really loved.

In front of her lay safety. In front of her were her own husband and her children. In front of her was a new life of freedom from the perversions of Sodom, a new life under the hand of God's protection. But with all of that in front of her, Mrs. Lot could not resist the urge to turn back.

Behind her was divine judgment. Behind her lay nothing but danger and certain doom. Behind her the entire wicked city of Sodom lay in total ruins, and those ruins were still being bombarded from heaven with fireballs of divine wrath. But, sadly, that mass of worthless corruption represented everything Lot's wife loved most.

Here is the danger of such a wayward love: First John 2 goes on to say, "For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever."

"Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt" (Genesis 19:26).

Lot's wife was destroyed along with the lusts of this world. Instead of setting her affections on things above, she had fixed her heart on the things of this earth—even devilish things that were doomed to a fiery destruction. And she perished right along with everything she truly loved.

You can think about it like this: you will spend eternity with whatever you truly love the most. If your heart is fixed on the things of the Lord; if you love righteousness; if you find your sweetest joy in fellowship with Him, that's where you will be throughout eternity. But if your affections are set on the things of this world, if what really delights you the most is the things that are passing away—if your life is characterized by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life—then like Lot's wife you will perish in the destruction of all that you truly love.

Phil's signature


donsands said...

Excellent word. Always good to think deep as honest as you can and see what your heart loves the most.

My sermon today was from John 5 where the Jews wanted to find a way to kill Jesus. Why? Because He called Himself God. No man can do this and live.
But Jesus was God; the Son of God. He clearly would have been know to the Jews if they loved the Father, which they obviously didn't, though they would say they loved God, and maybe some even thought they did love the Father.

Jesus brings the truth to them in way that is beyond doubt who He is, and yet they loved the religious world more.

Thanks for the good and even goading word. I shall not kick against the goads by His grace.

Have a great week in our Savior's love and power. And I pray this is the week He will return for His Bride; nevertheless His will be done. Amen and amen.

Chris Nelson said...

Haven't even read it yet but I'm just amazed at a Sunday evening post! Working overtime, but that is why Phil is paid like A Rod! Or, maybe, like TD Jakes.

Chris Nelson said...

Yeah, I read the post, it was excellent. You deserve a raise.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Awesome, Phil!!!

Didn't this happen to Israel, too? When Israel was in Egypt for many years, they absorbed so much Egyptian culture, that they forgot God's laws, and lived in disobedience to them. They were even ignorant of the Sabbath day.

God had to call Israel out of Egypt and teach them His laws all over again. He also forbade them to have anything to do with pagan customs.

"According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances (Lev 18:3)."

God was doing away with a pagan, worldy culture and making a culture for His people to live in, so they could walk in His ways and follow His statutes.

GiftsandGiggles said...
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dac said...


It is a major theme of the gospel from Genesis to Revelation, and hasn't gotten any better in the past 2000 years.

Mark B. Hanson said...

"Remember Lot's wife." (Luke 17:32) Jesus speaks these words in the context of the coming of the Kingdom. He would not remind us if there were no danger in his age - and in ours.

Cathy said...

"You can think about it like this: you will spend eternity with whatever you truly love the most."

That's a statement that should just stop you dead in your tracks - no pun intended :-/

Talk about exposing your idols.

Sonja said...

A reminder to us all when we get desensitized to the world and all it has to offer.

donsands said...

Amen Sonja.
And especially the worldly "Christian" religion, in it's many forms.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
(James 1:22-25 ESV)

Anonymous said...

"You will spend eternity with what you truly love the most"

I'm with Cathy...that statement stopped me dead in my tracks this morning

Solameanie said...


The Bible Christian said...

Unfortunately most of the church has bought into the disease.

We need to be like Job

"I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.Job 23:12

jmb said...

It occurs to me that every time we sin we are imitating Lot's wife because we are behaving as if we were not believers. And we have less excuse because we know better, or should.

donsands said...

I have to disagree with you jmb.

My sin as an unregenerate sinner as Lot's wife, is quite different as a quickened soul and saint of Christ when I sin, which is daily of course.

I love Christ, and feel sorrow when i sin against Him. Before I had a new heart, I had sorrow I got caught, and sorry for others to a point, but I didn't love Jesus, nor the Father as yet.

OI said...

I agree, Phil.

slave4Christ said...

It is not with an increase of corn, and wine, and oil, but with the shining of the countenance of God upon us, that he comforts our souls (Ps. 4:6–7). “The world hates me,” may such a soul as has the Spirit say; “but my Father loves me. Men despise me as a hypocrite; but my Father loves me as a child. I am poor in this world; but I have a rich inheritance in the love of my Father. I am straitened in all things; but there is bread enough in my Father’s house. I mourn in secret under the power of my lusts and sin, where no eyes see me; but the Father sees me, and is full of compassion. With a sense of his kindness, which is better than life, I rejoice in tribulation, glory in affliction, triumph as a conqueror. Though I am killed all the day long, all my sorrows have a bottom that may be fathomed—my trials, bounds that may be compassed; but the breadth, and depth, and height of the love of the Father, who can express?” I might render glorious this way of the Spirit’s comforting us with the love of the Father, by comparing it with all other causes and means of joy and consolation whatever; and so discover their emptiness, its fullness—their nothingness, its being all;

~John Owen~

brianonpyromaniacs said...
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Milton said...

Absolutely true. Reminds me of an H. L. Mencken quote, "Hell is where you must do what you want to do."

Anonymous said...

Those are some great thoughts. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. There are only two choices--either you're for Christ or you're against Christ.