Turn From Your Wicked Ways

When a watchman saw the enemy approaching, he sounded an alarm to warn his people. God made Ezekiel a watchman with a mandate to warn His people to turn from their wicked ways.

As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?  Ezekiel 33:11

God doesn’t want people to die. But unless they turn from their wicked ways by continuing in their sin, they will. God also warned Ezekiel, His watchman, not to shun his responsibility.

If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. Ezekiel 33:8

Love of God
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God then told Ezekiel about when he warned them and they didn’t turn from their wicked ways and repent. They would die in their sins but he would have saved himself.

The people during the time of the Prophet Ezekiel were well aware of the sin that plagued their lives. But they didn’t know what to do about it. So God addressed that.

Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ Ezekiel 33:10

Presence of God

Message Given to the Son of Man

Today’s verse says that God takes no pleasure in the death of wicked people. Therefore, He wanted them to understand the source of life and death. He began by saying the following.

Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin. Ezekiel 33:12

Then He flipped the coin. He spoke about when they would change their behavior and turn from their wicked ways.

. . . nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. Ezekiel 33:12

The next verse may be hard for some people to swallow. But remember, God asked Ezekiel to speak this message to His own people, to His chosen ones.

When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. Ezekiel 33:13

By no means am I trying to come against or change anyone’s doctrine. I’m sure as some of you read this, maybe your first thought goes to, this is the Old Testament.

My thoughts, however, go to when a person receives Christ early in their life. Then as they grow older, they live in open sin and give absolutely no thought to God at all. But God gave a warning.

A Valid Warning

In my mind that borders on taking too much of a chance, especially with one of our loved ones. We think they are safe because they accepted Christ as a child.

When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them. Then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. Ezekiel 33:14

Let’s turn this conversation away from those involved in wicked ways and focus it on us. Just like God called Ezekiel to become a watchman, we too have the same calling.

Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. Ezekiel 33:7

God also made us watchmen to tell the world of the forgiveness offered to them through Christ. If people refuse that message then they have placed their fate in their own hands.

Nowhere in the Bible are we told to be religious. The New Testament does tell us several times to live in obedience to God. Why? Because He doesn’t want anyone to miss heaven.

At present, He is giving people time to repent. And He’s also giving us time to sound the alarm to alert them to turn from their wicked ways.

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 1 Peter 3:9

Turn from Wicked Ways

A Burden for People to Turn from Their Wicked Ways

But those who turn away from Him to once again indulge in their wicked ways will be lost. James though, in his epistle gave us a similar mandate as given to the watchman in Ezekiel.

My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. James 5:19-20

The Apostle Paul likewise encouraged us in Galatians to help those who had strayed away from God.

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Galatians 6:1

The Bible contains the command to sound the alarm many times. We can do that as we present the light of Christ. Which gives the unsaved a chance to turn from their wicked ways.

And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. John 3:19-20

Lord, like you we don’t want any to perish either. Help us to effectively fulfill the job of the watchman to sound the alarm.

Check out these other posts related to the wicked.

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