God finds ways to save the righteous.
Sin is the destroyer, not God.
God sought out a way to legally save and deliver the righteous from destruction. Destruction came, but God got the credit for it in Genesis 19:29 even though the overwhelming practice of sin by the inhabitants of the cities brought about their own destruction.
Genesis 19:29 (ERV)
God destroyed the cities in the valley, but he remembered what Abraham had said. So God sent Lot away from those cities before destroying them.
Abraham, God’s covenant partner, determined the conditions. God made provision in his mercy, through the intercession of Abraham, to save the righteous. This was the reason that Abraham even began on his tenuous negotiation with God.
Abraham was not on a campaign to save the cities. He sought to save the righteous. He knew that there was decadence in the city. His goal was not to allow the destruction of sin to come upon the righteous as well as the sinners. His bargaining with God was to that end. He believed that there were at least eight righteous in the city because those eight people were his family. He obviously thought that there would be at least two more who Lot and his family would have influenced toward righteousness. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of the cities, Abraham was wrong.
God agreed to every position Abraham took, and the outcome might have been far different had Abraham bargained down to four righteous persons, instead of stopping at ten. Sodom and Gomorrah might still be with us today! This in no way indicts Abraham for the actual destruction. It was just that he set the threshold through his words. Such is the power of words spoken with covenant authority in the earth realm. Abraham missed the actual number of righteous in the city, but God still found a way to bring the righteous out to safety and away from the destruction that was to come upon the sin.
God’s character is further revealed in this account as He is not depicted as a vindictive God, looking for ways to punish or destroy. He is shown to be a merciful and gracious God, willing to let His covenant partner exercise his rightful authority in the earth. It is not a big stretch to see that the permission for the destruction was actually established by Abraham through his bargaining with God.
God gave Adam and Eve the lease to the planet in the beginning. As we saw in the garden, their faith-filled words agreed with the deception of Satan, and they brought about destruction and catastrophe on the world. Conversely, faith-filled words can agree with the guidance of God, through His mercy and grace, and reap great benefits and success. By his faith, this is what Abraham was trying to accomplish, but the sin had gone beyond the point of no return for the cities. However, Lot was saved.
Faith is the power upon which God has built His kingdom, and faith is what is being spoken of in the following passage in Mark.
Mark 4:26-29 (GNT)
26 Jesus went on to say, “The Kingdom of God is like this. A man scatters seed in his field. 27 He sleeps at night, is up and about during the day, and all the while the seeds are sprouting and growing. Yet he does not know how it happens. 28 The soil itself makes the plants grow and bear fruit; first the tender stalk appears, then the head, and finally the head full of grain. 29 When the grain is ripe, the man starts cutting it with his sickle, because harvest time has come.”
This parable is an eloquent description of how the physical and spiritual worlds operate. By faith, man sows or plants a physical seed, believing that a crop will grow. In the spiritual world, seeds of faith are planted by words. The choice as to where faith seeds are planted is up to each man or woman. They can plant seeds in God, or in deceptions that are against God. Either way, he or she will receive a harvest!
Abraham invested his faith in God through his acceptance of the covenant that God offered. He was then vested with the restored authority that Adam and Eve had at the beginning. The activities that occur in the earth realm are determined according to that restored authority. The descendants of Abraham exercise the power of judgment and justice within the earth realm. This power is a result of their inheritance of his covenant, either through blood line or through faith. Man is the one that calls for and executes judgment. He can either choose to forgive, restore, and save, or to pronounce the parameters of when and how to apply penalties and punishments.
Ultimately, sin will be dealt with, either through having it exacted upon the sinner or applied to Jesus on the cross. The choice of where his bargaining with God takes him is up to man. He can bargain with God to receive the free gifts of grace and mercy, accepting by faith what Jesus did for him, or he can choose to pay the penalty for his own sins himself. The choice is man’s alone since he has not only the authority to call for judgment, justice, and penalty, but he also has the privilege to submit to God and accept Jesus by faith. This can be a heavy burden on a person that does not understand or acknowledge this level of personal responsibility.
Life happens to us if we don’t take the authority that God has invested in us.
I invite you to explore with me in more depth through my book,
Ideolatry, God Is Not Your Problem - The Character and Nature of God.
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