GOD is NOT PLEASED with the DEATH of the WICKED
August 31 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 16-18
"Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord God. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord God. "Therefore turn and live!" (Ezek 18:30-32)
In this passage, God clarifies His views on individual responsibility to prophet Ezekiel. Everyone is judged equitably and individually. God never enjoys condemning a person, but is just and righteous in dispensing His judgments. Sin can never be taken lightly in one’s relationship with God, and repentance is the way to life. The people continued to accuse God of injustice, but He shows that there is no injustice because even a wicked man can be saved by turning from his sins, and that is what the Lord wants them to do.
The problem is not God’s unwillingness to save man, but rather man’s refusal to be saved. This is God’s passionate call to repentance, and displays God’s mercy and man’s choice. God’s burden for His people is that they have life, not death. But life will not be forced upon anyone who wishes to remain in his sin. The individual must personally respond and repent to have life. Each individual is judged separately, so the only way for each person to live is to ‘repent and turn’.
God is not pleased in the death of the wicked or in judging them (vv. 23, 32). God will gladly forgive sinners if they would only repent. The supreme need is for a “new heart and a new spirit” (v. 31), which can come only through faith in Christ as the gift of God (36:26) and is not the product of human effort (Eph. 2:8, 9). Ezekiel exhorts his audience to seek these not through their own merit but by repentance (v. 32).