"The Lord said . . . the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and . . . their sin is very grievous" (Genesis 18:20). We all love to hear about God’s mercy, grace and longsuffering. But we do not want to face the fact that someday soon He will come against everything that is of Sodom.
God revealed His nature to Moses this way:
"The Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin" (Exodus 34:6-7).
Yet in the very next phrase, God added:
"[I] will by no means clear the guilty" (verse 7).
The Lord was saying, "I will not wink at sin! Yes, I am merciful and longsuffering, but the time is coming when my patience with your sin will end. And that is when Sodom will burn!"
Two angels came to Lot and warned,
"Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city" (Genesis 19:15).
Apparently Lot did not take this warning seriously because he slept in the next morning and the angels had to rouse him. His sons-in-law must have thought, "If he really believed the warning, he’d be on his way out of here right now. He doesn’t believe it, so why should we?" This should be a lesson to us all. We need to live as if Christ is about to return so that others will listen to our witness.
I believe in what are called "divine ultimatums"—times when the Holy Spirit knows your sin is about to bring you to ruin. The Lord comes to you and says,
"I am the God of grace, and I want to deliver you out of this. Now, turn from your sin. Obey My Word!"
These ultimatums are found throughout the Bible. For instance, Acts tells us Ananias and Sapphira were warned not to grieve the Holy Ghost by lying to Him. But they disobeyed and lied—and instantly dropped dead (see Acts 5).
It does not matter how much you pray or fast, or how faithful you are in doing God’s work; if you do not believe God will deal seriously with your sin, you are deceived!