“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.”
There is a bumper sticker I see around town now and then that reads: “Jesus is coming! Look busy!” I have to chuckle a bit, because as irreverent as that is, it still acknowledges at least one truth: Jesus IS coming. He may come tomorrow or the next day or a hundred or a thousand years from now, but it is inevitable that He will come. And when He comes, “then He will sit on the throne of His glory” and judge the everyone according to their works, which are the fruit of our hearts. (Matthew 25:31-46)
That bumper sticker makes fun of the idea that we need to be constantly doing the Lord’s work. The irony, of course, is that when Jesus comes, He will know if we are just looking busy or we are truly laboring for His kingdom.
In today’s passage from the prophecies of Ezekiel, we get a stern warning from God just what He expects from us. Yes, of course, God wants all people to repent, to change their ways:
16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
17 “Learn to do good;
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.”
But there is also a greater message here in Ezekiel for those of us who DO change our ways, and it is the same as the final message Jesus imparted to His disciples.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
We who have heard the gospel and believe are told to SHARE the gospel. When people repent and believe in the gospel, then they are baptized in the Spirit, and the blood of Christ covers all their sins, redeeming them on the day of judgment. If people hear the gospel and do not repent, then their sins are their own, and their own blood will never redeem them from God’s wrath.
But there’s a particular condition we see in today’s verse, a condition that gives some urgency to Christ’s final words. You see, if we have the opportunity to pull someone back from the fire by sharing the gospel and we do NOT share it, then WE will be required to answer for that person’s life, just as surely as if we had killed them ourselves.
“Wait a minute!” someone might say. “I am covered by the blood of Christ. I can’t be called to task for something I did NOT do.” How can it be a sin to NOT do something? We already know (from Matthew 25:31-46) that Christ will turn away those who failed to care for the oppressed and imprisoned, but there is another thing we must not forget:
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
33 “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
When we have heard the gospel and believe it, then we must share the gospel, for God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) But if we profess faith in Christ among believers and then keep silent among the unsaved, then that is the same as denying Christ. Just as surely as the blood of Christ covers our own sins, if we fail to speak the gospel and at least OFFER God’s grace to others, then the blood of that person’s death will stain us again, and we WILL answer for denying Christ with our silence.
46 The LORD lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
47 It is God who avenges me,
And subdues the peoples under me;
48 He delivers me from my enemies.
You also lift me up above those who rise against me;
You have delivered me from the violent man.
49 Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles,
And sing praises to Your name.
We have to overcome our worldly fears and loudly proclaim the gospel of Jesus, Prince of Peace and King of Kings. We must not be silent in sharing the gospel, not deny we ever knew Him. We must declare the day of the Lord, and give others the opportunity to accept the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. Let us give thanks and praise to Him among the unbelievers, not just living a good life but declaring WHY we live a good life. Yes, be a living witness, but don’t forget to witness while you live.
Father God, thank You for Your Holy Bible, Your very words given to us as reminder and guide and solace and promise. Teach me the words I must speak, and give me courage to speak them. Let me not be meek but be bold in Your name, which alone is worthy to be praised. Amen.