08 February, 2017

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635-1711) 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? (Ezek. 18:23 KJV).


(I)

[Source: The Christian’s Reasonable Service, trans. Bartel Elshout, vol. 1 [Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 1992], p. 117.]

When God is said to desire something which does not occur, such as when He states, ‘O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear Me ... that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!’ (Deu. 5:29), or, ‘O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river’ (Isa. 48:18), He is speaking in the manner of men. Strictly speaking, such can never be said concerning the omniscient, omnipotent, immovable, and most perfect God. Rather, it indicates God’s displeasure against sin and how He delights in holiness. It indicates that sin is the reason why those blessings are withheld from them—blessings which they, according to His promise, would have received as a reward upon godliness. The promises are made upon condition of obedience which is granted to the elect according to God’s immutable purpose. When God says, ‘Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should turn from his ways and live?’ (Ezek. 18:23), this does not suggest that God’s will is impotent. Rather, it indicates that God has no pleasure in the destruction of men, inasmuch as they are His creatures. He has pleasure in the exercise of righteousness and godliness, and in blessing the godly.


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(II)

More to come! (DV)





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