August 22, 2017

Never Looking Back

By Jon Quinn

"Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built,- but on the day that Lot went out to Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. . . Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to save his life shall lose it, and whoever loses his life shall preserve it" (Lk. 17:28-33).

Jesus tells us that there are lessons to remember from the account of the destruction of the cities of the plains found in Genesis 19. As his disciples, we consider his words and seek to discover what application of these ancient events might have in our lives today.

What Signs Will Tell Us That The Final Judgment Is Upon Us?

There will be none! It is true that Jesus told his disciples that there would be signs to precede the destruction of Jerusalem back in the first century. Some have mistakenly applied these signs to Jesus' final coming, but a reading of Jesus' words shows that he was talking about first century events that were to transpire. He begins by telling how the buildings of Jerusalem will be torn down (Matt. 24:1,2) and these things were a fulfillment of what Daniel had prophesied when he had talked about Jerusalem's destruction (Matt. 24:15-16). Finally, Jesus explains that the things of which he spoke would occur in that generation (Matt. 24:34).

The first evidence of Jesus' second coming will be trumpets blowing, the dead in Christ rising from their graves and those who are alive being changed from corruptible to incorruptible and rising to meet Christ in the air. All this will take place in a twinkling of an eye as the physical heavens and earth are destroyed with intense heat. We then proceed to judgment, so do not wait for some sign before you become what you already ought to be (1 Cor. 15:50-57; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Pet. 3:10-13).

What Is Meant By "Not Looking Back"?

Lot's wife had a longing for that which she had left. Consequently, she was overtaken and consumed. Her trust was not in her God but in the things of the world. She could not bring herself to let go. Jesus warns his disciples to remember and learn. The same thing happens to disciples all the time. After fleeing to Jesus for salvation, one will become entangled again in that which he had left. "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Lk. 9:62).

We must be careful to consider something else just here. We do not "look back" only by partaking in some wickedness. We may also be "looking back" simply by filling our lives up with "good" things to the degree that we cannot render our God what is due him. In fact that is the point that Jesus made in Luke 9:62! Brethren, by the tender mercies of God do not let it happen to you! Don't look back. There is really nothing there which is worth forfeiting your soul, and perhaps the souls of your loved ones.

Where Should We Be Looking?

Lot's wife should have felt as if she were in a footrace away from Sodom. We ought to feel the same way; that we are in a race. You cannot run as well if you are looking back. Sometimes it is difficult to keep one's eyes ahead as he hears the sound of running feet behind him, but still it will only hurt to look back. "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1,2).

Discipleship has a positive side. It consists not only of "do not look back" but also "run with endurance" and "look to Jesus." We must fill our lives with God's purpose realizing that everything we do as we follow Jesus is another step in our race to our eternal victory.

". . . but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me . . . forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:12-14).

The point is this: we need to remember Lot's wife. We need to remember her when we feel enticed by the world. We certainly need to remember her as we seek to be entertained by the media as it glorifies the things of Sodom. It's time to turn around and begin running your race in the right direction when those things no longer shock and dismay you!

We need to remember her when we are urged to partake in that which "sparkles in the cup " and "goes down smoothly" but at the last "bites like a serpent" and "stings like a viper. " Who came up with the idea that those who drink "socially" are immune from the "bite of the serpent"?

It is not the time to look back. It is the time to run the race. The choices we make each day will determine whether we perish with Sodom or receive the prize which the Lord will award to "all that have loved his appearing.

Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 9, p. 265
May 3, 1990

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