21 May, 2016

Ezekiel 18:23—“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?”


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)

David J. Engelsma

[Source: Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, vol. 47, no. 2 (April 2014), p. 69]

The correct, orthodox explanation of Ezekiel 18:23 and of Ezekiel 33:11 . . . is that God is not the kind of God who takes pleasure in death, not even the death of impenitent sinners that He justly inflicts, and that He has eternally decreed. God is the God who has delight in life, life that is given by Him in the way of the sinner’s turning from sin back to God in true repentance. That God is the God who is pleased with the life of sinners in the way of repentance, and not a god who takes delight in the death of sinners, is the truth that provides needful assurance to sinners whose turning to God is hindered by the notion that God, after all, delights in the death of sinners and, therefore, will not forgive and save the sinner regardless of the sinner’s turning.


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(II)

Rev. Herman Hoeksema

[Source: A Power of God Unto Salvation, p. 20, 29-30]

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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(III)

More to come! (DV)


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