Thank God for salt
Heaven is looking better all the time. Do you know what I mean? The weirder this world gets and the more it is marked by lies, corruption, murder, selfishness and other sundry sins, the more I long to leave it. Not that I’m in any hurry, you understand. But doesn’t all the nastiness, ignorance, immorality, hatred and violence stir up in you an inescapable certainty that it’s not supposed to be like this? Or, if you’re a believer, an accentuated longing for the day when all will be made right?
Death is a blessing. I don’t mean that it’s a blessing to the loved ones left behind. It is not…I know that. But what I mean is, it is the mercy of God that takes us out of this sin-sick world into his presence where there is only goodness and light. Can you imagine living hundreds or thousands of years through one trial after another, never far removed from evil and its effects?
As you can probably tell, I haven’t exactly been a ray of sunshine lately. I feel sometimes like Lot (you know, the husband of Lot’s wife) who the Apostle Peter said was “greatly distressed” and tormented by the wicked and “lawless deeds that he saw and heard” as he struggled to enjoy an existence in the little kingdom of Sodom before it was reduced to ashes by God’s judgment, and his wife reduced to a human salt lick.
Lot and his family were saved from incineration by God’s mercy in sending angels, in the form of men, who told him of the coming judgment and even grabbed them all by their hands to get them out of there when they hesitated. And it is his mercy that saves all who believe in him from the eternal judgment to come. But while we’re still in a world that is marked by all the sins of Sodom and more, we are greatly distressed and tormented.
And some of us are distressed enough to wish God would rain fire and brimstone on some kingdoms today. Why doesn’t he if this world is worse than Sodom and Gomorrah? Perhaps for the same reason that would have spared them from destruction if it were true for them. When Abraham dared to question God’s justice asking, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?” God answered that if there were even 10 righteous people there he would spare the cities. And I believe if Abraham had continued his questioning down to one righteous person, God would have answered that if there were even one he would not destroy them.
So surely because in every kingdom, town and country there are at least a few who are counted righteous by God, he withholds destruction. And who are the righteous? Not the perfectly blameless because apart from Jesus there are none. But instead, those who believe in and have surrendered to him, with all our faults and sins.
In an odd throwback and contrast to Sodom and Gomorrah then, what constituted a judgment on Lot’s wife because of her apparent unbelief and concern for her home and possessions, is the God-decreed identify of the believer. Salt. Jesus said that his disciples are “the salt of the earth” and one of salt’s most important uses is as a preservative.
Someday God will take all of his children to be where he is, but until then we are what staves off decay and ultimate destruction, giving the rest of humanity time and opportunity to turn to him and be saved and counted among the righteous. To be removed from the presence of sin and be with Christ will be a blessing for us. But despite our failures and foibles, and sometimes downright ugliness, our existence in this vexing world is a blessing for others.