As we have already pointed out, there is no doubt that Lot’s wife was saved from destruction. This is so definitely and clearly revealed that no one can argue with it. But, as we have seen, she looked back from behind her husband and became a pillar of salt. That she walked behind her husband indicates that she was even less willing than her husband to leave Sodom and that she was not happy to follow him out of the city. If she had been happy to flee Sodom, she would have walked side by side with her husband. Even before she looked back and became a pillar of salt, she was already behind her husband. At this point, let me say a word to the wives. In committing sin, it is good for a wife to be reluctant to follow her husband, but concerning the things of God, it is not good for her to be slow in following him. Concerning the things of God, the best thing for a wife to do is to go along with and walk together with her husband. Wives, in the things with God, do not go behind your husbands. If you do, you, like Lot’s wife, may suffer and become a pillar of salt. This is a warning to us all.
That Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt signifies that she had lost her function and had become a sign of shame. When salt is in the form of powder, it is very useful. The more that salt is ground into fine powder, the better it functions. But no one uses salt in the form of a pillar. The Lord Jesus said that we, the saved and regenerated ones, are the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13). Our function is to kill the germs of this corrupted world. However, if we become tasteless (Luke 14:34), it means that we, like Lot’s wife, have lost our function. As one of the people of God, Lot’s wife should have been filled with the salty taste and been able to kill the germs of corruption around her, but she lost her taste and became functionless. She was a sign of shame.
In writing the book of Genesis, the Spirit of God was unwilling to give the name of Lot’s wife. Although the name of Abraham’s wife, Sarah, is mentioned many times, there is no mention of the name of Lot’s wife. It is unworthy of mention. That poor saint walked behind her husband and looked back toward the city of Sodom. She might have looked back for her children, her house, and her other belongings. All her goods were left there in Sodom. Her interests, heart, desire, and soul were still there, though her body had been pulled out of that city. Hence, at her looking back to that place, the Lord caused her to become a pillar of salt as a warning example to us all.
In Luke 17, the Lord used Lot‘s wife as a warning example for His disciples. However, not many Christians today live under this warning. Nevertheless, we must heed the warning that a truly saved person faces the possibility of being put to shame at the Lord’s appearing. I certainly do not want to become a pillar of salt. Do you? To become a pillar of salt is not a glory; it is a shame. What a shame for a believer to become a lifeless pillar of salt standing in the open air for nothing but suffering!
PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ABSOLUTE IN FOLLOWING THE LORD
Luke 14:25-33 speaks of absoluteness in following the Lord. We must follow the Lord in an absolute way. Although the Bible teaches us to love others, here Luke 14:26, a holy word out of the mouth of the Lord Jesus, says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and moreover, his own soul life also, he cannot be My disciple.” It is impossible for anyone to follow the Lord in a proper way without being absolute. Our parents, wives, children, brothers, sisters, and our own soul life should all be secondary. Only the Lord Himself must be the first, and we must follow Him in an absolute way. When the Lord speaks of hating our relatives for His sake, He does not mean a real hatred but a loving hatred.
In this portion of the word out of the mouth of the Lord, we see that we must follow Him in the way of absoluteness. It is not a matter of worshipping God on Sundays nor of having a home Bible study according to our pleasure. Such a home Bible study may be another type of hobby or entertainment. In the eyes of God, your home Bible study may be no different from a basketball game. You play your Bible ball in your Bible study, using your living room as your playground. You are not absolute in following the Lord. I am not joking; I am speaking the truth. I am not only saying this to others but also to myself. The Lord can testify for me that as I was preparing for this message, the Lord asked me, “How about you? I have charged you to give this message, but are you absolute in following Me?” May the Lord have mercy on me that I would not preach to others and myself become a castaway. May He also have mercy on all His dear saints. How we need a sobering word that we would no longer be befuddled! If we believe John 3:16, we must also believe Luke 14:26-35. Many messages have been given and booklets published on John 3:16, but where are the messages and booklets on Luke 14:26-35? In the Lord’s recovery we should not hide any truth from His people.
Those who are not absolute in following the Lord become useless. Tell me, how many Christians today are truly useful in the Lord’s hand for God’s economy? Most Christians have become useless as far as God’s economy is concerned. They are like salt that is tasteless (Luke 14:34).
Such Christians are not only tasteless, but according to Luke 14:35, they are “fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile,” but to be cast out. The land here is the field which grows things for God that He might accomplish His purpose. The dunghill in the universe is the lake of fire, where every dirty thing will be piled up. Luke 14:35 mainly refers to the coming age of the kingdom. In the kingdom age there will be the earth, the land for the fulfillment of God’s purpose, and there will also be the lake of fire, the dunghill. Christianity always tells people that there are only two places—heaven or hell. But in this verse the Lord Jesus speaks of the third place, saying that tasteless salt, being fit for neither the land nor for the dunghill, is cast out. Where was the pillar of salt which Lot’s wife became? Was it in heaven or in Sodom? It was in neither place, but in the third place. Although you have read through the Gospel of Luke, have you ever seen that in this chapter there are three places? Where will you be—in the land, in the dunghill, or cast out to the third place?
In Matthew 25:30 the Lord said that the unprofitable servant would be cast into outer darkness. The outer darkness must also be the third place. What this will be and where it will be, the Bible does not say. Nevertheless, the Bible does say that if you are a slothful servant, at the Lord’s coming back you will be fit neither for the land because you were unprofitable, nor for the dunghill because you have been saved. Where then will you be? In the third place, a place outside both the glorious kingdom and the lake of fire. Few Christians have ever seen that in the Bible there is a third place prepared for the defeated saved ones. This is a sobering word.
We need to be deeply impressed that in the full revelation regarding man in the divine Word there are three places—a place for salvation, a place for perdition, and a place for shame. Where was Lot’s wife? Although she was saved, she was in the third place, the place of shame. This is the teaching of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. Do not try to argue with it.
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)