Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Beware of Lot's choice!

J. C. Ryle (1816-1900) was the evangelical Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, England. Ryle wrote the spiritual classic Holiness (read the book online here). One essay in that work is titled "Lot – a beacon." At one point, Ryle examines Lot’s poor decision to settle in the well-watered plain of Jordan, near the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (see Genesis 13:10). While Abraham settled in Canaan, "Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom" (v. 12). Ryle observes: "Make a wrong choice in life, an unscriptural choice, and settle yourself down unnecessarily in the midst of wordly people, and I know no surer way to damage your own spirituality, and to go backward about your eternal concerns." He warns, "Beware of Lot’s choice!" then makes application to several key decisions in life:

a. Remember this in choosing a dwelling place or residence. It is not enough that the house is comfortable, the situation good, the air fine, the neighborhood pleasant, the rent or price small, the living cheap. There are other things yet to be considered. You must think of your immortal soul. Will the house you think of help you toward heaven or hell? Is the gospel preached within an easy distance? Is Christ crucified within reach of your door? Is there a real man of God near, who will watch over your soul? I charge you, if you love life, not to overlook this. Beware of Lot’s choice.

b. Remember this in choosing a calling, a place, or profession in life. It is not enough that the salary is high, the wages good, the work light, the advantages numerous, the prospects of getting on most favorable. Think of your soul, your immortal soul. Will it be fed or starved? Will it be prospered or drawn back? Will you have your Sundays free and be able to have one day in the week for your spiritual business? I beseech you, by the mercies of God, to take heed what you do. Make no rash decision. Look at the place in every light, the light of God as well as the light of the world. Gold may be bought too dear. Beware of Lot’s choice.

c. Remember this in choosing a husband or wife, if you are unmarried. It is not enough that your eye is pleased, that your tastes are met, that your mind finds congeniality, that there is amiability and affection, that there is a comfortable home for life. There needs something more than this. There is a life yet to come. Think of your soul, your immortal soul. Will it be helped upwards or dragged downwards by the union you are planning? Will it be made more heavenly or more earthly, drawn nearer to Christ or to the world? Will its religion grow in vigor, or will it decay? I pray you, by all your hopes of glory, allow this to enter into your calculations. "Think," as old Baxter said, and "think, and think again," before you commit yourself. "Be not unequally yoked" (2 Cor. 6:14). Matrimony is nowhere named among the means of conversion. Remember Lot’s choice.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

(Evangel article 2/20/07)

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