These are very good questions and hopefully the scriptures will shed light on them and give us the answers. First of all, as you read the whole history of Lot in the Old Testament you would probably conclude that he was NOT a righteous man. He seemed to simply follow his uncle Abram, first to the land of Canaan, then into Egypt, and then back again into Canaan (see Genesis 12:5, 10; 13:1) without any real spiritual convictions and eventually they parted company with Lot choosing to live near Sodom and then in Sodom (Genesis 13:5-13; 14:12). When the angels came to Sodom to announce God’s impending judgment Lot himself was reluctant to leave and the angels had to literally drag him out of the city (Genesis 19:1-3, 12-16). His choice to live in such a wicked city and wanting to stay there would make us think he too was a wicked man, yet when we read of God’s judgment upon Sodom in the New Testament we learn that Lot was indeed a RIGHTEOUS MAN: “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and DELIVERED RIGHTEOUS LOT, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that RIGHTEOUS MAN, dwelling among them, tormented his RIGHTEOUS SOUL from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds—then the Lord knows how to deliver THE GODLY out of temptation and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2nd Peter 2:6-9). I think it is safe to say that we never would have known Lot to be a righteous man if God had not revealed this to us in this portion of Scripture. God saw Lot’s heart (which man could not see) and he detected a true faith that led to Lot being a “just man”; which means he was justified by God because of his faith. Men have always been “justified by faith” (see Romans 4:1-3; 5:1a; 10:10a) and thus Lot was a just man in spite of his lack of separation from the world.

We saw in this passage that all the while Lot lived in Sodom his soul was tormented by the wickedness all around him, which will be true of every believer in such circumstances. In Genesis 19:1 it says that “Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom,” which means he was a “judge in the city.” Perhaps he thought he could bring about real moral changes in the city by legislation, but these attempts were all in vain. Again, Lot is an example of a “worldly believer” who wanted to live in this world with the comforts of home and enjoy the culture of a big city, but he had absolutely no testimony for God and his Word while living there. When he was forced to leave the city, he tried to persuade his sons-in-law to leave, but in their mind “he seemed to be joking” (see verses 12-14). This is sad and tragic, for his “love for the world” resulted in his loved ones “loving the world” and suffering the judgment of God.

Regarding Lot’s wife, we have no scripture giving us hope that she was a “righteous woman.” She too, along with her two daughters, had to be dragged out of Sodom (verse 16). After they were brought outside of the city the angels charged them, “Escape for your life! DO NOT LOOK BEHIND YOU nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed” (verse 22). Yet we read the solemn response by Lot’s wife in verse 26, “But his wife LOOKED BACK behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” It is obvious that her heart was so filled with love for Sodom that she couldn’t resist looking at the object of her love as it was being destroyed. Again, without any scriptures telling us she was actually righteous, we would have to conclude that she not saved and thus she too was judged by God. There are THREE WORDS in the New Testament that seem to confirm that she was an ungodly, unrighteous woman; they are “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). They were spoken by the Lord as He reminded His disciples of Sodom’s utter destruction and how all the wicked were destroyed, including Lot’s wife. It was also a warning to the ungodly in a future day that will be told to escape God’s judgment yet Jesus says to those escaping, “Let him not turn back” (verse 31).  (DO)  (494.5)