Today, the Spirit of God captivated my attention with a phrase in a very familiar passage of Scripture. I have read about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah many times in chapter 19 of Genesis and usually the same main points keep my attention:
- the wickedness of the men of Sodom who demand Lot’s guests be released so they can sexually abuse them
- the power of the angels who caused all those men to become blind instantly
- Lot’s wife turning into salt because she turns to look at the city as it is destroyed
But for the first time as I read, a different point became painstakingly clear to me: God’s compassion is often forceful. And I am so thankful that it is!
When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying “Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the Lord was up on him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. – Genesis 19:15-16
Leave, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.
DANGER DANGER! Lot is clearly warned that he is standing in the direct path of the impending doom. God is about to pour out His wrath on these wicked cities, and in His great kindness (and due to the prayers of Lot’s uncle Abraham, Gen 18:22-33) He warns Lot to leave immediately before He is swept away with the rest of the city.
Likewise, God has warned us as well of impending doom. Through His Word He makes clear the wrath stored up for all. “The wages of sin is death.” And then in His kindness tells us the way out. “But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 6:23)
I think of the way Jesus sought to convince us of how dangerous sin is: “If your right eye makes you sin, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you sin, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” Matt 5:29-30. It’s better to lose parts of our body than to continue in sin. This is a warning of the dangers of sin for the human soul.
The warning given to us isn’t once and for all either. Even for the adopted children of God, those who have trusted in Jesus to pay the penalty of sin, there is still a warning not to continue in sin. True, for those who believe there is no more wrath left from God and we safe in the grace of God. But we live in the already and not yet. Our sins already covered, yet their presence not entirely gone. There is still a warning for us.