"and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard)." (2 Peter 2:7-8)Lot's righteousness is certainly not displayed in an experiential or observable manner. He in the Genesis narrative is not said to be a practically righteous man. If we were to go only by the witness of the Old Testament, then it would have been hard to conclude that he was actually a righteous man. Thus, the emphasis on him being "righteous" most naturally would mean a status that he has in God. John MacArthur, in the MacArthur Bible Commentary, writes in regard to 2 Peter 2:7-8:
"There was spiritual weakness in Lot (Gen. 19:6), e.g., immorality (Gen. 19:8) and drunkenness (Gen. 19:33–35). His heart was in Sodom (Gen. 19:16), yet he did hate the sins of his culture and strongly sought ways to protect God’s angels from harm. He obeyed the Lord in not looking back at Sodom (Gen. 19). In both of the illustrations where God rendered a wholesale judgment on all living people (once on the whole earth, and once in the whole region of the plain S of the Dead Sea), Peter pointed out that God’s people were rescued (v. 5; cf. v. 9). The Gr. word for “oppressed” implies that Lot was troubled deeply and tortured (the meaning of “tormented”) with the immoral, outrageous behavior of the people living in and around Sodom and Gomorrah. Tragically, it is ordinary for believers today no longer to be shocked by the rampant sin in their society."
The "righteous" position or standing of Lot may best be explained as being an imputed righteousness, since his character is never exemplified as righteous in Scripture. An exception would be in him reproving the mob in Genesis 19. 2 Peter 2:7-8 can be used as a supporting passage for the doctrine of imputed righteousness. He had the same righteousness as Abraham which comes by faith (Genesis 15:6).
Interesting points. I never really saw it this way.