The promise of the covenant with Abraham is sealed with the sign of circumcision. This may not seem that important to us as Christians in the 21st century, but the link between circumcision in the OT and baptism in the NT is fundamental to understand. The covenant with God was seen between God and his people in the sign of circumcision, which obviously was only applicable to the Jewish males. Today, our sign and seal with God and his covenant is baptism, which has taken the place of circumcision for the follower of Jesus, allowing the covenant to extend to male and female alike. This is crucial, no longer is the sign of God’s promises seen in circumcision, but it is in baptism that the sign and seal of God is witnessed and carried into our Christian faith.
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah has peaked the interest of many especially in light of the debate surrounding homosexuality. Let’s put this to bed once and forever. Sodom and Gomorrah was not destroyed because of the homosexual tendencies of its people, we don’t serve a God that is that small, but rather because of its evil that was clearly manifested in how they treated each other and all people who came into their presence, especially guests that were sacred. The sacredness of the guest in Jewish culture is known to the degree that you are to welcome them in a way that is unconditional. But their evil tendencies in all walks of life are clearly seen. This leads to their destruction, not just one sin, or one category of evil that sparks outrage. Let’s stop using this Scripture as a proof text for something it doesn’t prove.
This brings us to the very disturbing scene of incest with Lot and his daughters. Scripture doesn’t justify it, but it does record it. I kind of wish it hadn’t, but I guess it goes back to what they had experienced in Sodom and Gomorrah and so as a result they act according to what they know and were exposed to. Keep in mind that just because it is recorded in Scripture no place do we see this as being okay in God’s eyes.
Finally in John we find one of the most powerful Scriptures that defines who Jesus was in the story of the raising of Lazarus. Look at 11:25 where Jesus professes to all who would hear that he is: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will life, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” Jesus then asks Martha the question that he asks us of this truth: “Do you believe this?” We need to believe the divinity of Christ and his desire to bring all of humanity, including us, to him.