Q. In the case of Lot’s wife, I assumed that when she was pulled out of Sodom and Gomorrah with Lot and the family they were saved because they were found righteous to be spared. If that’s so, why would she be turned to the pillar of salt just for looking behind. I realize she didn’t follow the directions to not look back, but I don’t understand why she was punished like that. It’s like how we’re saved and we still disobey on occasion but we’re still saved from the wrath. So why wasn’t she?
A. Remember, God’s only promise to Abraham was that He would withhold the judgment for the sake of 10 righteous people (Genesis 18:32). Beyond that, He wasn’t obligated to save anyone. From 2 Peter 2:7 we learn that only Lot was considered righteous among the people of Sodom. God remembered His conversation with Abraham and brought Lot out of the city even though He hadn’t promised that He would (Genesis 19:29). His family was allowed to accompany him as an act of God’s mercy (Genesis 19:16).
The problem with Lot’s wife wasn’t just that she disobeyed the angel’s instructions. By looking back she revealed her regret at having to leave Sodom even though she knew God had scheduled it for destruction (Luke 17:32-33).
Sad to say, many believers feel this way today. They are more excited about what’s going on in their current life than they are about what will soon be going on in their next life. Therefore, they are not longing for the rapture of the Church even though they know God has scheduled this world for destruction.
The difference between Lot’s wife and today’s reluctant believers is that Jesus died for this sin as well as all their others, and even though they really don’t want to leave, when He comes for the Church He will take them along with the rest of us. That’s the difference the cross has made.
When they get to the Bema Seat judgment in Heaven they will discover they’ve disqualified themselves from receiving the crown of righteousness which the Lord will award to those who have longed for His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8). But unlike Lot’s wife, at least they’ll be there.