Why was Lot considered righteous even though he made a wrong decision?

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Lot – a rightouss man

Some find it difficult to accept the fact that though Lot did a wrong decision in the Old Testament (Genesis 13:12-13; Genesis 19:5-8), he was still declared righteous in the New Testament. The apostle Peter wrote, “and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds” (2 Peter 2:7-8). Even the evil inhabitants of Sodom themselves spoke of Lot’s righteousness when they said, that he “keeps acting as a judge” (Genesis 19:9).

Lot’s wrong decision

Lot made a rash decision when he offered his virgin daughters to the mob. We read about this in the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). God sent two angels in the form of two visitors to the city to urge Lot and his family to leave the wicked cities that were sentenced to be destroyed by fire. Lot took the visitors to his house (Verses 1-3). But that same evening all the men of Sodom came and surrounded Lot’s house shouting, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!” (verse 5). 

Lot pleaded with these evil men, “don’t do such a wicked thing.  Look, I have two virgin daughters. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do with them as you wish. But please, leave these men alone, for they are my guests and are under my protection” (verse 7,8).

Lot made this extreme offer in order to save his visitors from a deadly end. To the Orientals, the duty of a host to protect his guests seemed to, at least, excuse Lot’s action but not justify it. Lot’s wrong decision was made only after he tried every way possible to stop the wicked plans of wicked men. For he clearly saw the evil of his people (2 Peter 2:7, 8). 

But the men responded to his pleas, “We’ll treat you far worse than those other men!” And they lunged toward Lot to break down the door” (verse 9). At this point, the two angels reached out, pulled Lot into the house, and bolted the door. Then, they blinded all the men who were at the door of the house, so they gave up trying to get inside (verse 10,11).

Does the word rightouss mean sinless?

The Bible teaches that Noah, Abraham and Moses, for example, were counted righteous (Hebrews 11:7-29) even though they did at some point commit some sins (Genesis 9:21; 12:12-20; 20:1-18; Numbers 20:1-12). God never blessed their unfaithfulness, only their faithfulness.

King David made some terrible mistakes but, he repented from them sincerely and with great sorrow he cried to God saying, “…Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1,2). God accepted David’s repentance and erased his sins but the king had to suffer the consequences of his sins.

Just because God saved these righteous men, it does not mean that God condoned their sins. In the same sense, just because Peter called Lot righteous. it does not mean that Lot was without sins. Lot was a righteous man, who at some point made serious bad choices.

To all sinners, Jesus declared, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). The Lord is in the business of healing and restoration of humans to God’s perfect image.  The Bible declares, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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