Scripture is pretty clear that the ideal example of being a just man or good man is one who is generally not thought of as being a shallow and opportunistic kind of fellow (1 John 2:16). And in light of Scriptures stern warnings It seems like a bad idea to point to the righteousness of a horrible husband (Ephesians 5:25-30) and even worse… the righteousness of a poor father (Proverbs 22:6). Am I Right?
How is then that we find Lot, of all people, being described as a righteous man in 2 Peter 2:7? Come on… Really? Everyone knows the story of Lot. His life plays our like a scene from hillbilly horror movie.
Lot was Abraham’s nephew. It’s clear from what we know of Lot in Genesis that Abraham loved him. It’s clear that the love of Abraham is probably the only reason Lot survived. But, how on earth then could Lot be considered “…a righteous man…”? Lucky? Sure, I’ll give him that but righteousness? That’s not something even his uncle Abraham can do for him.
Here is Lot’s unrighteous life in a nutshell. He takes advantage of his uncle’s generosity. He moves his family to the worst place ever based on looks alone. Some crazy gangs raid the place and take Lot, his family and everything he owns as trophies. After Abraham rescues Lot, his family and everything he owns from the crazy thug life Lot seems to think it’s a good idea to continue living in crazy town aka Sodom. Lots favorite neighborhood is so bad that it’s literally ground zero for God’s judgment. Some angels come to check it out before D-Day. These angels stop by Abraham’s tent before going to Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham begs them to consider the righteous before judging the cities. That plea by his uncle saves Lot again. The Angels send lot and his family away to the hills right before they WMD the place. Lot decides to take his family to another city rather than the hills, as God’s wrecking crew had told him, in the process Lot’s wife disobeys orders too and is turned into a pillar of salt. At this point Lot seems to be finally getting the picture and takes his remaining daughters to the hills rather than the city. But somehow gets really drunk “livin’ the cave life” and impregnates both his daughters. How is it that someone like this can be called righteous? How could Lot be considered a “just man”? Here’s the thing only the unrighteous can become righteous.
Let me explain. There is some kind of myth that the great hero’s of the Bible are perfect people with perfect families. But this is simply not true. There is really only one way a guy like Lot could be considered righteous. He would have to have some kind of advocate or some kind of intercessor. Lot needed someone like his uncle Abraham who could plead for him, stand in his place and constantly rescue him. Lot needed the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, Jacob and Moses. Lot needed the God who was “in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.” Lot needed the God who, because of Christ, was “no longer counting people’s sins against them…” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
This righteous and sinless man Jesus who was sent by God himself became an offering for Lot’s sin so that he could be made right with God through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is how Peter is able to redeemingly look back on the life of Lot and call him righteous. It’s not because of Lot’s great resume or even Lot’s loving uncle Abraham. Lot was righteous because of the God of Abraham. And praise God it is the same for me.