Monday, January 7, 2013

Sovereign Saving!

Some Thoughts About Genesis 19:16


Pastor Stephen Feinstein

In my daily Bible reading today, I came across something that caught my attention in Genesis 19:16. The context is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the angels had already told Lot to hurry up and get out of there. Yet, he hesitated. So now in verse 16 the angels snatch him by force and pull him out of the city before it is destroyed. Look closely how verse 16 describes this: 

"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 upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city." 

God told this man of the upcoming disaster, yet the man's own choice was to hesitate. God overrode this man's "free choice" in order to physically save him and his family. And God's own Word states clearly that this was because "the compassion of the LORD was upon him." In other words, God saving a man against his own will was compassionate on the part of God. 

Let me now apply this to a much larger issue. Lot was saved physically, and we see God's action as compassionate. Yet, when we apply this same exact principle to the salvation of someone's soul, many people get up at arms. They say, "How dare God override someone's free will! Love demands a choice!" So wait a minute! It is acceptable for God to override someone's will to save their fleeting physical life, and yet it is somehow wrong for God to do so when it comes to a far more important matter, such as someone's eternal life? Perish the thought. Any good ancient rabbi would use the lesser to greater argument to say if God is willing to do such a thing for something of less value, then how much more so would He do this for something of greater value. 

And so my point in this whole post is that we consistently see God saving those He chooses all throughout the Scriptures. We see Him do this apart from their "free will," and the Bible describes this as compassionate. All throughout the New Testament, we have scripture after scripture that states this is how salvation works as well (e.g. John 6:44, 65; Romans 9; Ephesians 2:1-10; and many others). We were dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1), corrupt in our nature (Ecclesiastes 7:20), and unable to please God (Romans 8:5-9). Yet, God in His love regenerated us (Titus 3:5), gave us grace and faith as a gift (Ephesians 2:8), and then justified us by that faith (Romans 3:28). And all of this was against our natural and sinful will. Praise God for His mercy and grace! May all Christians everywhere agree with God! May they agree with Him that His method of saving sinners is compassionate. May they not blaspheme God by saying that He is not permitted to save our souls in the same manner that He saved Lot's life. 

Feel free to share this with anyone you know of who struggles with the doctrines of grace. Perhaps this well help. God bless.