Last Sunday we considered the fascinating account in Gen. 18 of Abraham inquiring of God if God would spare the evil town of Sodom if a certain number of righteous people could be found there. Abraham asked God, “What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?” God said He would spare the city for the sake of the righteous. In the conversation, Abraham keeps counting down until he reaches ten people, and again God said He would not destroy the city for the sake of the righteous.
When God said He would spare the city for the sake of the righteous, the word “spare” literally means “forgive.” So, what we have here is really a foreshadowing of the Gospel. In ancient times, it was often viewed as acceptable for a whole family, clan, or town to be punished if one person committed an evil or unjust act. If a person committed murder, their whole family might be slain in response.
Abraham was asking God if the opposite could be true. Could a large group of people be “spared,” or “forgiven” because of the goodness or righteousness of a few. Amazingly, God said “Yes!” Of course, there was not even one righteous person in Sodom, so the city was judged for the evil and cruel ways.
But we see here God offering Abraham a glimpse of the Gospel. The fact is, there has only been one righteous person who ever lived, and that was Christ. Because of His righteousness, including His death on the cross, God now sees us as righteous in Christ. As II Cor. 5:21 states, “God made Him (Christ) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
What this means is that we don’t have to depend on our own track record as we stand before God. As we trust in Christ and His righteousness, even to the point of dying for us, we are spared, we are forgiven. This was God’s plan along. What could not be found in Sodom – a righteous person – was found on Mt. Calvary, and we are eternally blessed because of that! Praise be to our God!
(For the next several months, the blog posts will be written by our elders so I can devote more time to my required German studies.)
Grace and peace,