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Communion Meditations (2014)

Sodom and Gomorrah

Genesis 18:23-32

Originally scheduled for May 25

God announces to Abraham that he intends to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah; Abraham begins to plead with him not to do it.  You’ve probably heard the story often enough; frequently, it is cited as an example of the mercy of God.  But it’s not.

Abraham begins his plea by appealing to the righteous nature of God.  “Far be it from you…” to destroy the innocent along with the wicked.  He begins asking for the sake of a hypothetical group of 50 righteous.  God concedes that if he can find that many, he won’t destroy the cities.  So Abraham asks for 45; then 40; then 20; and finally ten.  But on each revision the appeal is not to God’s mercy but his righteousness. 

There is a good lesson in prayer in all this.  Appeal to one or more of the attributes of God; it shows you know him and may have perceived his will.  Note what Abraham didn’t do:

·         He didn’t argue the fitness of the death penalty with God.  You might think that the death penalty is too severe for homosexuality (which was, in fact, their sin).  But to argue the point with God is to tell him that you know better than he does.

·         He didn’t tell God this was an “alternate lifestyle.”  Look at it from their point of view!  To do that is tell God that righteousness is self-defined, not God given.

In fact, Abraham does not plead for the unrepentant wicked at all.  He pleads for the righteous not to be swept away with the wicked.  That’s not asking for mercy; it’s asking for justice.

But then consider our advocate with the Father:  Jesus Christ.  He too pleads for us, just as Abraham did – and on the exact same basis.  The Christian is one who has already received mercy, saving grace.  We are “washed in the blood of the Lamb.”  So when Christ pleads for us before the Father, he does so on the basis that we are the righteous, covered by grace.

But that plea comes at a price:  Calvary.  For this to be true Christ had to suffer and die as our atonement sacrifice.  He asks that you remember the price paid that you might appear as righteous before the throne of grace.  The cup is his blood; the bread, his body.  Remember this today:  your righteousness before God came at his expense.

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