“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself. Son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”‘ Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’”
Turn and Live
I have failed in many ways. The word of God from Ezekiel chapter 33 brings to mind one particular way: there have been times when I failed to say what needed to be said. Maybe a word of warning. Maybe a word of compassion. And if I am not flippantly dismissive of these failures, they weigh me down.
What is it that weighs you down? Whatever it is—whether it is your failure to speak needed words or some other sin—there is a very real temptation to marginalize it or explain it away. That, however, never ends well—not from a spiritual and eternal perspective.
For my failure to speak needed words, for my sin, there is no personal justification. There is no circumstantial rationalization. There is no condoning explanation. There is only offense and guilt and wasting away.
Unless there is forgiveness. And there is forgiveness, in Christ alone. Together with forgiveness there is life. So it is that the Sovereign LORD, who takes no pleasure in death, gives life—a present life free from guilt and a future life filled with glory. In Christ Jesus, God declares sinners—me and you—forgiven, not guilty, truly justified. This same God urges us and all people to turn from evil and live.
In forgiveness and new life, with the weight of sin removed, watch for opportunities to share this message with others who need to hear it. Seize the opportunities to say what needs to be said.
Lord God, renew and strengthen me by your grace today. In that grace empower me to watch, to speak, to love. Amen.
Source: WELS Devotions