“Rightly Dividing the Word: What About Lot?”
Vol: 94 Issue: 29 Wednesday, July 29, 2009
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” (2nd Timothy 2:15)
Understanding the different Dispensations of God is critical to understanding the Word of God. If the Word is not divided by the different Dispensations, then what does that verse mean? How does one ‘rightly divide’ the Word if it isn’t divided already?
It should come as no surprise that those who dispute the Dispensations are also somewhat confused about other doctrines, such as grace and eternal security. They pay lip service to ‘grace’ but deny that faith stands independent of works.
To make that work, one has to tear out almost as much of the Bible as one does to argue the validity of replacement theology. The entire ‘faith’ chapter of Hebrews, for example.
Let’s list some of the great heroes of faith named there: Samson, the oath-breaker, Moses the murderer, Noah the Drunk, David the adulterer and murderer, Jacob the liar and cheat, Jonah the Disobedient Prophet . . . what about Lot?
The Apostle James is often quoted by those who prefer salvation plus works over salvation by grace through faith. “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
“And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” (2nd Peter 2:7-8)
Here, the Holy Spirit calls Lot both “just” and “righteous.” Was God unaware that, given the choice, Lot chose the world over Him?
The Bible says Lot disobeyed God when set up his tent towards Sodom. Eventually, he moved his family INTO the city of sin.
He refused to leave until God sent two angels to drag the reluctant sinner and his family from the place of judgment before He would allow judgment to fall.
Later, Lot got drunk and had sex with his two daughters. If Lot had works to commend his righteousness, they are not recorded in Scripture. The profile given by Scripture shows Lot was unjust, unrighteous, ungodly and should have been lost for all eternity.
But while man looks on the outward appearance, what God sees what is in the heart. What man cannot see God sees, and whether we see it or not, God sees Lot as just and righteous.
David’s sin was probably greater than the worst thing you ever did. (Unless you murdered a man to steal his wife.) But the Bible calls David a man after his own heart. God saw David as righteous and just.
But based on their works, none of these men would be in heaven today. They believed God, and God counted it unto them as righteousness. It doesn’t say that their works counted — they weren’t saved because of their works, but in spite of them.
Just as we are today.
If salvation were a product of faith plus works, then it would mean God owed them their salvation — because they had earned it. There is no Scripture obligating God to be anything except a Righteous Judge.
They believed God, and put their faith in the revelation that God gave to them in that particular dispensation. That was all they were responsible for, and that simple faith placed in whatever God revealed to them was counted unto them for righteousness.
There are those that will argue that they believe in salvation by grace through faith, but still claim that eternal security is a false doctrine that grants a ‘license to sin.’
The simple fact is this. To deny eternal security is to claim we must maintain our own salvation by our own good works and efforts.
To claim that we must obey God’s Word or live a godly life to maintain our salvation is saying that Jesus’ death was not sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins. One can argue to the contrary until they turn blue in the face, but things that are different cannot be the same.
God says, “for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
Opponents of Dispensationalism do greatly err when they attempt to substitute their ways for God’s.
In the beginning, God created man in His Image. God is an eternal Spirit, and we have an eternal spiritual component.
God created the angels in the same way, although they had a created beginning, they were designed to last eternally. So, we have the two eternal creations of God — the angels, and man.
The angels rebelled and were cast out of heaven (Jude 1:6, Job 2:2 Isaiah 14:12). Then Adam and Eve rebelled, and they were cast out of Eden. (Genesis 3:23)
After the Flood, God sought out Abraham, with whom He made a covenant. Through Moses, God established the Law, which in essence, subdivided spiritual mankind and created a new spiritual entity in the Jew.
All mankind was now subdivided into either Jew or Gentile. Are you still with me? To this point, there are three distinct eternal entities; angels and mankind, with mankind subdivided into Jews and Gentiles.
Spiritually, they are distinctly different with the only common characteristic being that they are created with an eternal spiritual existence.
Don’t let me lose you now. Here’s the good part.
The Bible teaches that, at the Cross, a fourth spiritual creation came into existence. It is distinct from either Jew or Gentile, but is related to both.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Notice this is a unconditional “IF-THEN” statement. IF a man is in Christ, THEN he is a new creature. He can’t be the first without becoming the second.
Think of the caterpillar and the butterfly. Or, better yet, a pickle and a cucumber. Your choice.
You start life spiritually, as a caterpillar (or a cucumber). Should you get squashed (or eaten) before the transformation takes place, then that is how you remain.
On the other hand, once the caterpillar BECOMES a butterfly (or the cucumber becomes a pickle), that is what it is. It isn’t what it WILL be, it IS what it IS. It isn’t what it WAS.
And no matter what you do, you can’t turn a butterfly back into a caterpillar (or a pickle back into a cucumber). That is why it is called TRANSFORMATION. It is permanent and irrevocable.
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)
Becoming a ‘new creature’ in Christ is NOT a future event — it CANNOT be, since it takes place at the moment of salvation.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18 )
We already HAVE that power of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit as a birthright procured on our behalf by the Savior.
Let’s pull it all together now. Among the most divisive doctrines in the Body of Christ is the doctrine of eternal security.
At various times, we’ve examined it from the perspective of ‘this is what the context of this verse is’ and, ‘the original Greek says’ and so on, but the fact remains that when a Jew or a Gentile is saved by the Blood of Christ, he becomes a new creature, no longer a spiritual caterpillar, (or a pickle), but something else.
The transformation is complete at that moment. The rest is up to Jesus.
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” ( Philippians 1:6 )
Whether ‘once saved, always saved’ is a slogan or a doctrine is debated endlessly.
But the simple truth of God is that the truth of God is simple.
You can’t turn a butterfly into a caterpillar. And you can’t turn a pickle into a cucumber.
I believe God’s promise that, “whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29)
“For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: ” (Romans 4:14)
God called Lot a “hero of the faith” although from my perspective, Lot was pretty much a sell-out to the world. But Lot believed God, and God counted unto him for righteousness.
If Lot was a ‘hero of the faith,’ then what does that make you?