“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!” (Ezekiel 18:30-32)
God Has No Pleasure In What Sin Does
There is no joy in the sorrow of wickedness. Sin is rebellion against the holiness of a righteous God and a repudiation of His character. Man was created for the glory of God and he took his glory turning it from the righteousness of a faithful Creator to use for selfish pleasures. There has always been a choice for man to choose good or evil from the trees in the midst of Eden or a place called Golgotha where sin killed the Son of God. The world was formed by the hand of a divine architect with a purpose to show the eternal wisdom of the Almighty Father among His people. It did not take long for Satan to destroy Eden, drive Cain to commit murder and destroy every living being save eight in the days of Noah. The nation of Israel was the apple of God’s eye but the devil wormed his evil pleasures into their hearts and destroyed the nation of the Lord. Ezekiel was burdened with preaching to the captives in the land of Babylon with the same message their fathers had heard. Sin has consequences. Israel as a nation was destroyed by sin with the ten northern tribes long before vanishing across the fields of Assyrian domination and now Babylon was finishing the work of God against Judah. The people needed to understand they were responsible for their own plight but the Lord had not forgotten them. There was still the mercy and love of God to take back those who would turn to Him and restore righteousness to the land.
Judgment came from the will of God as the Babylonians oppressed Judah. This was all done by the hand of the Lord because He was bringing judgment upon a rebellious nation. It was not a coincidence these things were happening. God wanted Judah to know their misery was punishment for their rebellion. The age old message of redemption was given to Judah once again – repent and turn. There was no reason they should continue in this useless exercise of wickedness. No matter how far down the road they had gone, the Lord offers a way of escape if only they would change their hearts and turn back to Him. Who can understand the infinite mercy of a loving God committed to removing all sin if only the heart would change and turn to Him? What man has never quite grasped about the character of sin is that God hates it. He hates what it has done to His glorious creation. It was not the plan of God to destroy man but to save him. Sin brings death. God gives life. The Lord hates what sin has done to man and He has no desire to punish man pleading with him to cast away rebellion. If only the love of God could be clearly seen by sinful man. God’s grace would usher the contrite heart back into the love of a compassionate and forgiving Father.
Man must make a decision. Ezekiel exhorts the people to cast away their sins and get a new heart and a new spirit. The road to recovery begins with removing the shackles of sin seeking a heart renewed in the Lord with a new spirit to serve the Father. This is how sin is dealt with. Man cannot overcome sin until he removes it from his presence. Satan is a powerful foe and without resisting, putting away, eradicating sin man is helpless. A major downfall to defeating sin is refusing to rid self of the transgressor. It must be taken away. The alcoholic will never recover with a glass in his hand. Overcoming the lust of pornography can never be accomplished without the removal of temptation. Speaking the truth can be the only language of the one seeking renewal. Getting rid of the offense is the first step. Then a new heart and new spirit must be developed. The incredible mercy of God tells all men that nothing is hopeless if the heart is changed and renewed. There is no reason to die because God is willing to forgive if only the heart returns. Remember the prodigal son came home to a loving father. The Lord has no pleasure in the death of those who destroy themselves with sin. It was not His plan; He does not desire it and He will forgive if one repents. What does God want? Turn and live. Anyone can do it if they are willing. The forgiveness of God is so great that He will forgive. Turn and live – you can do this!