Within the context of the "watchman on the wall", there is a very important verse that is very relevant to our times. In Ezekiel 33:11 it states in the New King James Version:
"Say to them; ‘As I live,' says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?"
Far too many times I think that we, as conservative Christians, fall into the trap of thinking God takes pleasure in punishing sinners for their sin. To the contrary, it pains God deeply when due to His righteousness; He must extract justice and punish the evildoer. What God wants is the same thing which He demands which is repentance. GOD IS NOT SADISTIC. God does not derive any pleasure in inflicting pain and suffering and even death upon wayward sinners.
The picture most people have of God being a old man with a white beard flinging lightning bolts down upon sinners is not right. Yes, God has been very angry with His creation and has punished them greatly for their stubborn unbelief. But, there is nothing to indicate God ever took pleasure in having to dish out His justice.
Whether Old Testament of New; God says the same thing to His people: Why should you die? The wicked can live if they turn from their evil ways. Eternal life is available to those who are willing to TURN from their wickedness. "But I don't want to" is the refrain heard over and over by God. Since God gave freedom of choice, He must abide by the decisions made by His people even if it pains Him to do so.
From the moment God first created angels, He gave them freedom of will. Some, such as Lucifer, chose to rebel against God. The resulting war in heaven caused one third of those angels to be cast out of their heavenly abode along with their ringleader Satan. God gave Adam and Eve freedom of will in the Garden to either choose to obey His commands or not. Of course they chose to buy into the serpent's lies and the results were catastrophic for all mankind.
When man, by his freedom of will, decides to forsake God's Word and do things "his way"; there will always be a consequence to that sin. Whether the consequence is swift and cataclysmic or awaits the person at the final judgment; there will always be consequences for sin.
God does not want to see anyone perish, yet many will through their stubborn resistance to His Word. God does not derive any pleasure from inflicting punishment upon the wicked. God does not smile as he causes a hurricane to swamp a whole city. It is simply part of the reckoning of justice.
Those who willingly turn away from the truth after coming to know it by experience face the most uncertain of futures. God will have infinite patience and manifests the utmost of longsuffering towards those who out of ignorance break His Word. But those who hear, believe and live the truth but then decide to throw it all away to fulfill the lusts of the flesh and of the mind in this life will, no doubt, have to deal with the wrath of God in one form or another.
Think of it this way. If you caught your son and his friend in the very act of butchering a person to death with an axe, which one would suffer your wrath as the father? Obviously you son would, for he is your son and not only did he mess up the rest of his life, he gave you and the family a bad name. His friend must be dealt with by his father or guardian.
When God's people end up doing the same horrible things the world does, God is going to be more disappointed and upset with His children than the unbeliever in the world. When one of God's children hardens his heart and expresses no remorse for blatantly breaking God's Word, what is a loving God to do? Almighty God cannot sit in the heavens and say; "Kids, they do the darndest things." He cannot simply turn his head and pretend nothing ever happened. God must fulfill who He is and what He is, and that includes being just and righteous.
It pains God to chasten His own children. It pains God to watch His own child have to suffer the consequences of disobedience. As God, figuratively, takes the belt or paddle to the rear end of one of His children, it has to pain Him to do what He must do to get our attention. When God chastens us, it is not so much punishment, but the ultimate attention getter. When the Bible speaks of "spare the rod and spoil the child", it is not so much punishing the child as getting his attention.
Until we stop and realize we have done something wrong, we will just keep on doing it. Punishment alone does not help a person change. Change (repentance) is brought about by first being made known of the problem and then having the humility to accept responsibility for one's actions and ask for forgiveness. Honestly, if a person simply did this, there would be no need for punishment or spankings.
Many times people stumble into sin while spiritually sleep walking. These people need to be awakened. Those who stumble into sin need a different approach than those who deliberately open the door and walk into the sin with their eyes wide open.
Please remember that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. What God wants is change which it summed up in the word "turn". Those who "turn" away from God and His Word need to turn back to Him and then receive His forgiveness.
Well said - great blog Brother!
"As God, figuratively, takes the belt or paddle to the rear end of one of His children, it has to pain Him to do what He must do to get our attention. When God chastens us, it is not so much punishment, but the ultimate attention getter."
From hense comes the parental saying -" this hurts me much more than it hurts you" If disaplining our children is painful to us - how much more painful is it for our heavenly Father to disapline his creation and expecialy his children.
how right you are! God is NOT sadistic! Unrepentant sinners though, are not known for wanting to be corrected! Somme are hostile to the word of Truth, and unwilling to accept that we are eternally accountable for our actions! This is the painful part of spreading the Gospel. Somehow we human beings have been decieed into believing that to be loved is to be free from accountability and responsibility for our actions!