Ezekiel was an Israelite priest who came of age to be a priest during the Babylonian exile. Even in Babylon, the Lord gave him visions that he recorded in Ezekiel.
God is saying here that it’s our job to warn people. The rest is up to them and to Him. Verse 11 goes on to say that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Chapter 33 is heavy. It is the Lord speaking. Verses 15-16 say “if they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live.”
Lawlessness will abound and the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12) Immoral lifestyles, lifestyles of compromise and sin, contrary to the word of God are commonplace in the body of Christ. Many of Christians have bought into the lie of distorted grace doctrine. This says because of God’s grace, we can maintain our relationship with God while actively engaging in lifestyles of sin. This is not true. According to Romans 6, God’s grace doesn’t give us freedom to sin but freedom from sin. It is impossible to maintain a right standing with God and to simultaneously pursue a lifestyle of sin.
We are to declare war on that issue of sin. We shouldn’t make a peace treaty with it, compromise, etc. Declare war. Agree with God, call it sin, confess it, renounce and repent. Determine in your heart that you’re going to get set free not by might, not by power, but by His spirit. He’s given us more than enough grace & mercy. Don’t just tolerate, compromise, negotiate. We are to respond to His word.
The enemy is seeking to devour: to seek, kill, and destroy anyone who will let him. But Christ was raised from the dead so that we could all have eternal life by the shedding of His blood and by the power of His resurrection.
“For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” (Jude 1:4)
“For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” (1 Thes 4:7-8)
“It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” (2 Peter 2:21)
There are two applications to Ezekiel 33.
1. Respond to the sounding of the alarm. Choose to obey Him. Allow the grace of God to set you free so that you may live in obedience. We may stumble and fall, but we are not to settle into a life of compromise. You don’t have to live in guilt and shame when you stumble. We aren’t trying to earn our salvation; we are just trying to respond to what He has given us and live in obedience, according to His Word. Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
2. We are called to be watchmen on the wall. A watchman sounds an alarm for the Bible. Those who hear the alarm are to take action. This isn’t just for professional ministers. This is a collective calling as the local church. We have a calling to be a watchman where we work, where we go to school, to our families, to our communities, etc. We are also to be a watchman to our nation, to call our nation to repentance. There’s a mandate on our lives and a commissioning that we be watchmen. If we neglect that calling, He will hold us responsible for their eternity. He commands us to tell others the truth. Many times, we say nothing even to people that we claim to love. According to Ezekiel 33, their blood is on our hands if we don’t tell them the Truth.
Many times we think “I didn’t want to hurt them” or “I didn’t want them to feel afraid”. But it’s okay to hurt someone’s feelings if you’re saving someone’s life. It’s okay for our little ones to feel afraid if it’s the fear of the Lord. Many parents think we have to be constantly positive about the love of Christ but the Scriptures say until we come to the cross, we are under the Wrath of God. It’s up to us to lead our children in the truth. The responsibility isn’t on the children’s church worker but it’s on the parents and the grandparents.
Jesus embodied this in Luke 13:3: “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” He wasn’t saying this because He was angry. He was saying this because He loved them and wanted them with Him for all of eternity. He didn’t mince words or candy-coat it. 2 Peter 3 says He is not willing that anyone perish but that all experience eternal life.
The Three-Fold Responsibility of a Watchmen:
1. Keep Watch (Stay alert)
2. See (Discern)
3. Warn (Speak the truth in love)
Our binoculars are the discernment from the Holy Spirit. The night is dark and the seas are calm and that’s when we are most prone to destruction. We need grace and truth. Be kind and loving but be clear. True biblical love is speaking the truth and encouraging them to follow the Lord.
“On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent.
You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves;
And give Him no rest until He establishes
And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6-7)
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