The context of the verse is either speaking of the day in which the world will be judged by the words of Christ (John 12:48) and be divided up based upon their actions and obedience, or lack thereof, to the commands of God Almighty (Matthew 25:33, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9) or the day in which Jerusalem would be utterly destroyed by the hand of the Roman military as an extension of the punishment of God for murdering the Christ on the cross of Calvary (Matthew 24:1-35). However, the reference to an unnamed woman living over 1,500 years before the time of Jesus' speaking in Luke 17 brings to light something which might crush the toes of those who understand His statement!
Three short words are recorded, and yet they bring to the surface so many thoughts and actions that pop into the minds and lives of the Christian today.
If you remember the occasion that led to this woman's demise, you'll remember that she was immediately turned into a pillar of... salt, because of her looking back when fleeing the city of Sodom while it was being destroyed by God (click here for a great article on why this city was destroyed) (Genesis 19:26). Why did this happen? Why would God punish Mrs. Lot with death by salting? Wasn't she just looking back to see the awesome power of God?
I don't think so. You see, if it wasn't enough that they had already been told not to look back (Genesis 19:17), there is a deeper reason for the punishment inflicted upon this woman. She wasn't ready to let go of the past!
In another place in the New Testament, Jesus stated, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62)." That's the reason why Lot's wife's name will forever be remembered as "Morton" (you know, the salt company). Not because she wanted to see the destructive power of Creator, but because she wasn't ready to let go of her past life.
Don't we often do the same? We go about living faithfully to our Father in Heaven, but something triggers the memories which we have fought so hard to suppress. The "fun" we thought we were having, the old friends that might have forsaken us because of our forsaking the world, the way things used to be. They can all cause us to "look back" and yet the reason for our doing so is very simple, although difficult to admit at times, it's because we miss it.
And just as Lot's wife was turned into a pile of salt, our new Christian lives then become nothing more than a pile ready to be blown away at the next slight gust of wind.
Let me encourage all of us, including myself (I used to have a lot of "fun," or what I thought was fun, back in the day too), to never look back! Even though to the superficial lusts of our physical bodies those times might have been a blast if we are truly honest with ourselves we know that the real, fulfilling, absolutely fun life is found only in righteous living for our Lord. Not because we have bogged down by all of His commands, because we aren't (1 John 5:3), but because we have the wonderful blessings found in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), the ability to be part of the only divinely purchased institution the world has ever seen (Acts 20:28, Ephesians 3:8-13) and the wonderful hope of being accepted into very dwelling place of God when this life is over (2 Corinthians 5:9).
That is the reason that Jesus wanted His disciples to "Remember Lot's wife." Not because she was a pillar of salt, but because of why she became that.