08 February, 2017

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635-1711) on Ezekiel 33:11

Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezek. 33:11)


[The Christian’s Reasonable Service, trans. Bartel Elshout, vol. 1 (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 1992), pp. 224-226; emphasis added]

To propose that there is a universal will to save all men implies that God wills contrary to His will. He who truly, sincerely, and fervently wishes to accomplish a task, will execute it if at all possible. God is able to actually save all men, but it is not according to His will. This is confirmed by the outcome of events. If, however, it is God’s desire to save all men, then He necessarily has willed to do so, which is also true for the reverse argument ... Then God would fervently and earnestly desire something which He simultaneously knows with certainty will never come to pass. If God were to universally will the salvation of all men, He would fail in His purpose and would be deprived from accomplishing His will, since He wills something which does not occur. He wills the salvation of all men; and nevertheless, they are not all saved. It is quite different, however, when God commands something and declares that obedience to it would be pleasing to Him ...
 Objection #1: ‘As I live, saith the LORD God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live’ (Ezek. 33:11). Answer: The decree of God, which most certainly will be executed and whereby God always accomplishes His purpose, is not discussed in this text. It speaks rather of God’s delight in the conversion of man whereby man is again restored in the image and likeness of God; also that God, by virtue of the fact that man is His creature, is displeased with both man’s failure to repent as well as His damnation.

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