08 February, 2017

Rev. Herman Hoeksema on Ezekiel 18:23


Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? (Ezekiel 18:23 KJV)



(I)


Ezekiel 18:23 does not speak of a general offer; the text simply speaks of what God wills. The text does not say that God offers something to the sinner—it merely says what God wants. It indicates simply wherein God delights. He has no pleasure in the death of the sinner. Now do not read this in its context. Do not read it in the context of the whole of Scripture. Do not limit it in a single respect. Read here that God has no delight in the death of any sinner, that He wills to save all without distinction. And what do you have then? A general offer of salvation? Not at all! Then you simply have the doctrine of Arminius: that God wills that all men shall be saved. For God does not say here that He offers something; He says simply what He wills.

[…]

“[Both] parts of this text must be read and understood in connection with one another. And nothing general remains in it. Of an offer of grace there is no mention whatsoever. But besides, if we read the text in its entirety, then it simply teaches that the Lord has pleasure in the life of the sinner who repents. He has pleasure in the life of the sinner even as He has pleasure in his conversion. And since only he who is equipped unto this by almighty grace repents and turns to the Lord, and only the elect receive that grace, also this Scripture passage does not speak of any general grace, nor of any general offer of grace.”


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(II)

Rev. Herman Hoeksema

[Source: The Rock Whence We Are Hewn (RFPA, 2015, pp. 386-387)

In these verses [Ezek. 18:23 and 33:11] God speaks and swears by himself, and his word is absolutely true and unchangeable. The content of God’s oath is that he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked and that he has pleasure in the conversion and life of the ungodly. It is unnecessary to add anything more. Although it might be answered from the context, the question whether the verses refer to elect or reprobate can be left out of the discussion. God has pleasure in conversion and life. No one denies this. He has no pleasure in impenitence and death and is terribly displeased with the impenitent state of the wicked. No one objects to this. In the same sense that God has no pleasure in the impenitence of the wicked, he has no pleasure in his death. Conversion and life are inseparably connected.

These passages do not speak of the preaching of the gospel at all. They surely contain no offer of salvation nor declare the purpose of God in the preaching of the gospel with respect to elect and reprobate. That it is God’s purpose through the preaching of the gospel to bestow the grace of conversion on all who hear is certainly not implied in the passages. If synod imagines that a general offer of grace is in these passages, it is most certainly mistaken, for there is no offer whatever.


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(III)

More to come! (DV)




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