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Ezekiel 18:23

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? - No! That is foreign to him whose name is love, and whose nature is mercy. On the contrary he "wills that he should return from his evil ways and live."

And if God can have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, he cannot have made a decree to abandon him to the evil of his nature, and then damn him for what he could not avoid: for as God can do nothing with which he is not pleased, so he can decree nothing with which he is not pleased. But he is "not pleased with the death of a sinner," therefore he cannot have made a decree to bring him to this death.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The wicked man would be saved, if he turned from his evil ways. The true penitent is a true believer. None of his former transgressions shall be mentioned unto him, but in the righteousness which he has done, as the fruit of faith and the effect of conversion, he shall surely live. The question is not whether the truly righteous ever become apostates. It is certain that many who for a time were thought to be righteous, do so, while ver. 26,27 speaks the fulness of pardoning mercy: when sin is forgiven, it is blotted out, it is remembered no more. In their righteousness they shall live; not for their righteousness, as if that were an atonement for their sins, but in their righteousness, which is one of the blessings purchased by the Mediator. What encouragement a repenting, returning sinner has to hope for pardon and life according to this promise! In verse 28 is the beginning and progress of repentance. True believers watch and pray, and continue to the end, and they are saved. In all our disputes with God, he is in the right, and we are in the wrong.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 127

The second year of famine passed, and still the pitiless heavens gave no sign of rain. Drought and famine continued their devastation throughout the kingdom. Fathers and mothers, powerless to relieve the sufferings of their children, were forced to see them die. Yet still apostate Israel refused to humble their hearts before God and continued to murmur against the man by whose word these terrible judgments had been brought upon them. They seemed unable to discern in their suffering and distress a call to repentance, a divine interposition to save them from taking the fatal step beyond the boundary of Heaven's forgiveness. PK 127.1

The apostasy of Israel was an evil more dreadful than all the multiplied horrors of famine. God was seeking to free the people from their delusion and lead them to understand their accountability to the One to whom they owed their life and all things. He was trying to help them to recover their lost faith, and He must needs bring upon them great affliction. PK 127.2

“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?” “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” “Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 18:23, 31, 32; 33:11. PK 127.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 631

Here the Lord has plainly revealed His will concerning the salvation of the sinner. And the attitude which many assume in expressing doubts and unbelief as to whether the Lord will save them is a reflection upon the character of God. Those who complain of His severity are virtually saying: “The way of the Lord is not equal.” But He distinctly throws back the imputation upon the sinner: “‘Are not your ways unequal?’ Can I pardon your transgressions when you do not repent and turn from your sins?” The character of God is fully vindicated in the words of Scripture I have placed before you. The Lord will receive the sinner when he repents and forsakes his sins so that God can work with his efforts in seeking perfection of character. The promises are not yea and nay, but if man complies with the conditions, they are, in Christ, “yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” The whole purpose in giving His Son for the sins of the world is that man may be saved, not in transgression and unrighteousness, but in forsaking sin, washing his robes of character, and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. He proposes to remove from man the offensive thing that He hates, but man must co-operate with God in the work. Sin must be given up, hated, and the righteousness of Christ must be accepted by faith. Thus will the divine co-operate with the human. 5T 631.1

We should beware that we do not give place to doubt and unbelief, and in our attitude of despair complain of God and misrepresent Him to the world. This is placing ourselves on Satan's side of the question. “Poor souls,” he says, “I pity you, mourning under sin; but God has no pity. You long for some ray of hope; but God leaves you to perish, and finds satisfaction in your misery.” This is a terrible deception. Do not give ear to the tempter, but say: “Jesus has died that I might live. He loves me, and wills not that I should perish. I have a compassionate heavenly Father; and although I have abused His love, though the blessings He has graciously given me have been squandered, I will arise, and go to my Father, and say: ‘I have sinned, ... and am no more worthy to be called Thy son: make me as one of Thy hired servants.”’ The parable tells you how the wanderer will be received. “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Thus the Bible represents God's willingness to receive the repentant, returning sinner. 5T 632.1

But even this parable, tender and touching as it is, comes short of expressing the infinite compassion of the heavenly Father. The Lord declares by the prophet: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” While the sinner is yet far from his Father's house, wasting his substance in a strange country, the Father's heart is yearning over him; and every longing awakened in the soul to return to God is but the tender pleading of His Spirit, wooing, entreating, drawing the wanderer to his Father's heart of love. 5T 632.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1114

The gospel message is far from being opposed to true knowledge and intellectual attainments. It is itself true science, true intellectual knowledge. True wisdom is infinitely above the comprehension of the worldly wise. The hidden wisdom, which is Christ formed within, the hope of glory, is a wisdom high as heaven. The deep principles of godliness are sublime and eternal. A Christian experience alone can help us to understand this problem, and obtain the treasures of knowledge which have been hidden in the counsels of God, but are now made known to all who have a vital connection with Christ. All who will may know of the doctrine (The Review and Herald, July 18, 1899). 6BC 1114.1

4. See EGW on 2 Peter 1:10. 6BC 1114.2

4, 5, 11 (Romans 8:29, 30; 1 Peter 1:2). God's Predestination—The Father sets His love upon His elect people who live in the midst of men. These are the people whom Christ has redeemed by the price of His own blood; and because they respond to the drawing of Christ, through the sovereign mercy of God, they are elected to be saved as His obedient children. Upon them is manifested the free grace of God, the love wherewith He hath loved them. Everyone who will humble himself as a little child, who will receive and obey the Word of God with a child's simplicity, will be among the elect of God.... 6BC 1114.3

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