Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[e] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
I cannot tell you how many times I have read this passage over the years. I have listened to sermons, Bible studies, Sunday School lessons about Abraham bargaining with God. And my perception of this passage has always been that God is just. He will not treat the wicked and the righteous alike. He will spare the lives of the righteous.
But I read it new this time. I read that God would spare the wicked for the sake of the righteous. God said He would not destroy the city on behalf of the righteous. The wicked benefit on their behalf.
We know this is congruent with God’s character. God told Abraham He would bless the world through him. The world that rejected God would be blessed by the nation that followed God. Of course, the world would be blessed ultimately through the righteousness of Christ. And, while we were still sinners, rejecting God, avoiding God, Christ died for us.
Yet, I have never thought of transferring this passage to my life today. Have I considered, have you considered, that your faithfulness might save the city? Have I considered that walking in righteousness with God may benefit the one who rejects Him? Might God hold back His judgment for our sake and give the unrighteous a little more time?
It gives me a desire to walk more diligently in faith. It gives me strength to know my desire to walk in holiness is not simply for my benefit or my relationship with Christ. Rather, my faith can bless the unbeliever. My faith, my righteousness that came through Christ, is a blessing to others long before they ever believe.
Stay faithful and keep fighting the good fight of faith! You are giving someone another chance to believe.