Genesis 18–19; Romans 7

18 And the Lord appeared to him by the ooaks1 of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. pWhen he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, O Lord,2 if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a qlittle water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that ryou may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass onssince you have come to your servant. So they said, Do as you have said. And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, Quick! Three seahs3 of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes. And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, Where is Sarah your wife? And he said, She is tin the tent. 10 The Lord said, I will surely return to you uabout this time next year, and vSarah your wife shall have a son. And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11 Now wAbraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. 12 xSo Sarah laughed to herself, saying, yAfter I am worn out, and zmy lord is old, shall I have pleasure? 13 The Lord said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh and say, Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old? 14 aIs anything too hard4 for the Lord? bAt the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 But Sarah denied it,5 saying, I did not laugh, for she was afraid. He said, No, but you did laugh.

16 Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 17 The Lord said, cShall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18 seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be dblessed in him? 19 For I have echosen6 him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him. 20 Then the Lord said, Because fthe outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 gI will go down to see whether they have done altogether7 according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, hI will know.

Abraham Intercedes for Sodom

22 iSo the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham jstill stood before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham drew near and said, kWill you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, lso that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! mShall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just? 26 And the Lord said, nIf I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.

27 Abraham answered and said, oBehold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five? And he said, I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there. 29 Again he spoke to him and said, Suppose forty are found there. He answered, For the sake of forty I will not do it. 30 Then he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there. He answered, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31 He said, Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there. He answered, For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it. 32 Then he said, pOh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there. He answered, For the sake of ten I will not destroy it. 33 And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

God Rescues Lot

19 The qtwo angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, My lords, rplease turn aside to your servant's house and spend the night sand wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way. They said, tNo; we will spend the night in the town square. But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. uAnd they called to Lot, Where are the men who came to you tonight? vBring them out to us, that we wmay know them. Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. xBehold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof. But they said, Stand back! And they said, This fellow ycame to sojourn, and zhe has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them. Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11 And they struck with ablindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.

12 Then the men said to Lot, Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bbring them out of the place. 13 For we are about to destroy this place, cbecause the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it. 14 So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, dUp! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city. But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

15 As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city. 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, ethe Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 And as they brought them out, one said, Escape for your life. fDo not look back or stop anywhere in the gvalley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away. 18 And Lot said to them, Oh, no, my lords. 19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape thereis it not a little one?and my life will be saved! 21 He said to him, Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22 Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there. Therefore the name of the city was called hZoar.8

God Destroys Sodom

23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then ithe Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became ja pillar of salt.

27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had kstood before the Lord. 28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God lremembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.

Lot and His Daughters

30 Now Lot went up out of Zoar and mlived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said to the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father. 33 So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

34 The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father. 35 So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab.9 nHe is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi.10 oHe is the father of the Ammonites to this day.


Released from the Law

Or do you not know, brothers1for I am speaking to those who know the lawthat the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For ea married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.2 Accordingly, fshe will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Likewise, my brothers, gyou also have died hto the law ithrough the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, jin order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work kin our members lto bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the mnew way of nthe Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.3

The Law and Sin

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, oI would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if pthe law had not said, You shall not covet. But sin, qseizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. rFor apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment sthat promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, tseizing an opportunity through the commandment, udeceived me and through it killed me. 12 So vthe law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, wsold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For xI do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with ythe law, that it is good. 17 So now zit is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells ain me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 bFor I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, cit is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For dI delight in the law of God, ein my inner being, 23 but I see in my members fanother law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from gthis body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.