I’ve been reading in Genesis again during my quiet times, and the past few days have reminded me how much I dislike Abraham’s nephew Lot. I’m pretty well convinced if Lot lived today he’d be some hotshot Christian celebrity living in Hollywood and being universally admired for maintaining his integrity in the face of such temptation.
But eventually the press or bloggers would uncover sordid details of Lot’s life that would discredit his testimony and, naturally, his fellow Christians. Pundits would remind us of the hypocrisy of Christian leaders who have similarly fallen in an attempt to point out the farcical nature of our faith.
We first witness Lot’s true colors in Genesis 13, when friction arises between Lot’s and Abraham’s herdsmen, who are competing for limited pasture. Lot greedily chooses the ground that was “well-watered everywhere like the Lord’s garden and the land of Egypt” (Genesis 13:10).
Honestly, we all would want to do that, but few of us would have the hutzpah to follow through. We’d probably say something like, “You know, why don’t I head over to that barren land over there, and you take that really lush land over that way?” in hopes Abraham would insist otherwise. But not Lot.
Oh, and did I mention Lot chose the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, a modern metaphor for everything abhorrent? Just one chapter later, his choice puts him in the pitiable position of having to be rescued by his gracious uncle. Then, in Genesis Chapter 19, we see Lot at his best (trying to protect the angelic visitors from the violent crowd outside his house) and his worst (offering his daughters to the men outside and then allowing himself to impregnate both his daughters while in a drunken stupor). Yeah, this guy deserved the Worst Father of the Year Award.
But Peter writes something remarkable about Lot.
And if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.—2 Peter 2:7-9
Lot, a righteous man? Who knew? Well, God did. Here’s a lesson we learn from Lot’s Uncle Abraham.
Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he [Abraham] did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.—Romans 4:20-25
Our righteousness is grounded in our faith, a faith that is not yet perfect but is being perfected.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.—2 Corinthians 5:21
This is the miracle of righteousness. This is the greatness of grace. It is beyond our ability to fathom, but it is well within our reach thanks to the One who died to clothe us in His righteousness.