One who has decided to leave the world and obey the Gospel must remember the account of Lot’s wife in Genesis 19 and not look back. As God said He would, He rained fire and brimstone on Sodom after Lot, his wife, and two daughters fled the sinful city. Contrary to God’s instruction in verse 17, Lot’s wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. As Lot’s wife should not have, the newborn babe in Christ must not look back to the life from which he came. Be it understood, the same warning applies to any child of God.
One must not turn back to old priorities. The person of the world puts the things of the world ahead of God. Some of those things may not be sins unless placed ahead of God. Even those, if placed ahead of the kingdom of God and His righteousness in importance, become sin. The first phrase of Matthew 6:33 is, “But seek ye first.” That is a command. Why is that the Lord’s instruction? For one thing, if one does not seek the spiritual above the carnal, he places himself in the perilous possibility of deserting the Lord and His church altogether. As did the church at Ephesus, he will leave his first love (Rev. 2:4).
The newborn babe in Christ and every other Christian must not look back to sinful companionships. Jesus said in Luke 6:22: “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.”
Why would the Lord say such a thing? One reason is if one remained in the company of such men, they could pull him back into sin. Paul instructed the Corinthians to come out from among idolaters (2 Cor.6:17). Paul set the backdrop for that instruction in the first letter when he told them evil companionships corrupt good morals (1 Cor. 15:33 ASV).
The Christian is not to look back to the old way of life. How sad it is when one is deliv‐ ered from the grasp of sin only to return to missing it and eventually return to commit‐ ting the sin itself. Paul gives a powerful recipe for avoiding such in Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If one thinks upon that which is good, he will do that which is good. If he thinks upon the evil, he will likely return to practicing it. In Jesus’ prayer to the Father on behalf of His apostles, He prayed not that they would be taken out of the world but kept from evil (John 17:15). How would it be accomplished? Verse 17 says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Why else would David say he loved the law of the Lord, and it was his meditation all day? (Psa. 119:97). Because it kept his mind on righteousness rather than wickedness. By keeping one’s mind on that which is of God, including God’s promises, he will not return to the life of sin.
One must not look back and return to religious error. While many man-made doctrines are easy, they are just as false as they are easy. It is easy for the ill-informed to believe the doctrine of salvation by grace alone and its cohort, once saved always saved. It is easy for one to believe the falsehood of the perseverance of saints while he partakes in drunkenness, fornication, and other lusts of the flesh while believing he is still saved. Growing in the knowledge of God’s Word will keep him from man’s errors, making it impossible for false teachers to deceive him.
After reminding the Hebrews of the great people of faith in chapter 11 of that epistle, the apostle then wrote in Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
If we keep our eyes upon Jesus and the cross, knowing the joy set before Paul is also awaiting us, we will not be like Lot’s wife and look back. We will be as Paul who pressed toward the mark for the prize set before him (Phi. 3:14).