Originally published February 26, 2013
Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.
The story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah would make an epic movie. You’ve got your good guys: Abraham, Lot, and the angels. Your bad guys: everybody else in town. Violence, dramatic tension, a narrow escape, major pyrotechnics, and the good guys take the day. Epic, I tell you.
But that’s just what’s happening on the surface.
If you look closely, you can see the light of the gospel casting a shadow over Sodom. A shadow that’s the size and shape of a cross.
The city of Sodom was so wicked that God personally came down to deal with it. Judgment was coming. There was hell to pay—quite literally.
God revealed His plan of destruction to Lot, His only follower in Sodom. But God didn’t stop there. Did Lot have anyone in town that needed to be rescued from the coming devastation? Hurry! Go get them and urge them to flee!
“My sons-in-law!” thought Lot. Perhaps he raced out the back door, slipped carefully past any of the blinded mob left on his front porch, and scurried surreptitiously through town to avoid other hostile neighbors. Arriving at the respective homes of the two men betrothed to his daughters, he must have pleaded with them to drop everything and come with him. It was the only way they could be saved.
But they wouldn’t go with him. They didn’t believe him.
The next morning, judgment came. And that handful of people—righteous Lot, and those who believed with him that God would save them if they left everything behind and followed Him—were the only ones spared.
Is that shadow becoming clearer?
This world is a frightfully wicked place. And, one day, God is going to come down personally to deal with it. Judgment is coming. It will be swift, it will be terrible, and it will be final. God has revealed this to us in His word. He has also revealed to us, His followers, the plan of escape: Jesus.
But God doesn’t stop there. Do we have friends and loved ones who need to be rescued from the very real and eternal hellfire and brimstone that await them if they stay in the Sodom of their sin?
Jesus tells us to “go out and…compel them to come in” (Luke 14:23), and that they “must be born again” (John 3:7).
This isn’t some kind of “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” game we’re playing here. It’s urgent, a matter of life and death.
Eternal life. Eternal death.
And God’s way is the only way out.
God didn’t offer Lot’s sons-in-law the option of having their cake and eating it, too, by remaining in Sodom and being saved from His wrath. And it doesn’t work that way for us either. We don’t get to have Jesus and continue to rebel against Him by remaining in our sin.
Just as Lot’s sons-in-law could not survive God’s judgment any other way than fleeing the sin of Sodom and following God’s escape route, there is only one way we may escape. We must flee from our sin and into the forgiving arms of our crucified and risen Savior.
This is the gospel with which we must compel them. It is the only gospel that saves.
“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for. – C.H. Spurgeon.