“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezekiel 3:17-19 KJV)
Some Christians are taking this verse of Scripture and making it something it is not. Some are saying that if believers in Christ do not tell others about their specific sins that such believers will be judged and lose Salvation. Others take this verse from the Old Testament and say that God will judge harshly a person that does not tell others who are sinning to warn them of judgement in hell for their sins. Is that what this verse of Scripture is really about?
First look at the context I have highlighted. It says that God “made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel”. This warning is specifically for Ezekiel and not today’s body of Christ in the church age. There is of course a certain truth that we should be sharing the Gospel with the unsaved and warning them that there is a choice to be made for Christ or they will perish. However, beyond that this passage warning does not apply to us with such consequence of God requiring our blood because another person sins and unbelief.
Who Was Ezekiel? What Was He To Warn People About?
Ezekiel was a prophet and a priest living in exile in the city of Babylon between 593 and 571 BC. In Judaism and Christianity, he is also viewed as the 6th-century author of the Book of Ezekiel in the Bible that reveals prophecies regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, the restoration to the land of Israel, and what some call the Millennial Temple visions, or the Third Temple. (Source: Wikipedia, Details, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Ezekiel#Life_and_times_of_Ezekiel)
Ezekiel was called by God to warn the people of Israel for their sin of unbelief. The majority of the Nation of Israel had turned away and we instead rebellious against God, and worshiping idols instead. God gave Ezekiel a specific task to warning the nation. This role as a watchman was specifically for Ezekiel as we see above in Ezekiel 3. The question is does this warning, and the consequence of not fulfilling the role, apply today for Christians and the sharing of the Gospel?
I am sure we all, as believers in Christ, understand that we should witness about the Gospel message to the unsaved. However, using this passage from Ezekiel 3 along with the consequence, to guilt us into sharing our faith is a misuse of the text. The notion that believers will have blood on their hands because they failed to tell every person they come in contact with does not really fit the truth of the Gospel and how Jesus tells us a person comes to the knowledge of the faith and realizing who Jesus really is; The Christ, God In The Flesh, the Saviour from our sins.
Who Really Draws People To The Knowledge Of Truth?
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-17 KJV)
The disciples just came back from being sent out to spread the message of the Gospel and were all excited about the things that they witnessed and the powers and works the Holy Spirit performed through them. Jesus kind of stops their excited and asks them all directly, Who Do The People Think I am. And then the key question, Who do you think that I am? Peter answered correctly that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied to come and save the people.
Now Peter seen the works of Jesus during His ministry on Earth. After all the disciples walked with Jesus and lived with Him 24/7. Peter left his home and family to go with Jesus on His three year ministry. Surely Peter had realized that Jesus was definitely a great prophet sent by God to do such a thing in faith. However, is that what revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Messiah and Christ? The other disciples did not know Jesus was the Christ and Messiah, otherwise they would have spoke up right? So how did Peter know?
Jesus Himself answered clearly when He said, “flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.“. Then Jesus reveals that this is how HE will build HIS church!
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.“
Ultimately it is only God who draws a person to the knowledge of Salvation through Christ. God reveals to a person who Jesus The Christ really is.
Do We Have Our Part To Play In The Salvation Of Others?
Absolutely! Although it is God orchestrating and bringing a person to the knowledge of the faith, the amazing thing is that God chose to do so, not only the Word Of God, the Bible; but through believers! This truth always amazes me. I mean that God would use a sinner like me to help others be saved. That He would use my weaknesses and somehow help others come to Salvation. Well that is just amazing isn’t it? And He uses you as well as a believer! I would say that God, in His sovereignty, uses you and I, as believers, more than we even know! Beyond just approaching a person and sharing the Gospel, even how we live as believers is seen by others.
Just before Jesus ascended to Heaven He prayed for you and me. And what did He pray? We read this in John 17,
“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” (John 17:15-19 KJV)
That is why Apostle Paul wrote,
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 KJV)
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2 KJV)
The question is, Prove to who? Prove to yourself and also to other unbelievers that are watching. And if you are a Christian, a Bible believer, saved by the Grace Of God, others know it and believe me, the unsaved are watching what you do and how you behave and live for God. The Apostle Paul also wrote,
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 KJV)
These good works are not works required for our Salvation nor justification with God because Salvation is not of works; Salvation is a FREE GIFT to be received in belief (Ephesians 2:8-9). These good works are the works we do AFTER Salvation. After the Holy Spirit has come indwelling in us. It is these good works from our Salvation that can make Christ real to others as they can see a change in you, or something in you that is different and it is something tangible and something they would like to have in their life. Without even speaking a word to them, they can see and understand something is very different about you as a believer.
It is absolutely true that we have our part to play. Jesus commanded us to,
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 KJV)
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. “ (Luke 6:31 KJV)
“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” (Luke 6:35 KJV)
I truly believe that God uses us in the Salvation of others more than we can even image. Think back to how you became saved. I know that for me, it was not just one person told me the knowledge of the Gospel and then I was instantly saved. Instead, God used experiences and circumstances in my life that led me to certain people. And one person dropped me a little crumb of knowledge here and another there and then one day, I just got on my knees in belief of Christ and understanding why He had to die for me and I was saved eternally from that very moment. And now the Holy Spirit resides in me and works through me in helping others come to Christ. It is all God doing this work through us and nothing for us to boast about! (Ephesians 2:8-9).
That is a very different belief than God will require blood at my hands because I did not warn an unbeliever. I see hundreds of people everyday just in daily activities. Am I going to be punished if they are ignoring God? It is God who draws people to the truth of the Gospel Of Grace, NOT ME. If God chooses to use me in that endeavor, here I am. I walk in weakness and meekness to the fact that it is ONLY GOD that can save people. Believe me, no believer can force a person to believe and accept Christ. Each person makes their own eternal decision about Christ and each person will be judged individually if they reject such a great FREE GIFT of eternal life from God.
Is God Requiring Our Blood For Unbelievers Who Reject The Truth At The Bema Judgement Of Believers?
After the Rapture of the Bride of Christ believers will find themselves at a ceremony called the Bema Seat of Christ.
At the Bema Seat Rewards Judgement (1 Corinthians 3) of believers by Christ Himself, you can see that believers may lose rewards and gain rewards by their good works for Christ. However, understand that this Bema judgement is similar to an athletic competition ceremony. It is not punitive against sins committed because those at this judgement are already Raptured and have new immortal bodies without the fleshly sinful mind present.
In fact, the words “sin or sins” is not even found regarding this judgement of believers. Their sins on Earth were already judged on the cross in Jesus Christ. The Bema Seat is where Christ will have us give an account of our lives after our moment of salvation and is based on our MOTIVES for the works we do for God.
God always looks at a persons motives. Those works that were done in the flesh (that is by us attempting to do them for the wrong human reasons) will mean a loss of reward. Those works done with the right motives for God and by the Holy Spirit through us will receive reward. That is, by what we do and why we did the works. So yes, it is important to want to please God and be involved in His work. Yet, even a person who accepted Christ with no works will still be saved and in heaven yet with little or no reward. (1 Corinthians 3:13) Everyone will suffer some loss of rewards and gain of rewards. Some may not receive a reward and feel some shame about it. But overall the feeling is like that of school graduation or an Olympic rewards ceremony. It is a positive event and all at this Bema Seat event are all in Heaven where joy abounds in ways that we cannot yet even comprehend fully right now here on Earth.
I find no where in Scriptures at the judgement of believers that God is requiring the blood of the redeemed for unbelievers that you did not warn about sins they are comitting. In fact, in the Book Of Revelation we see that we will cast these crowns of reward at Christ’s feet because ultimately it is God that has done the works through us.
Like Jesus aid in John 15,
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth IN ME, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING. If a man abide NOT in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is WITHERED; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be MY DISCIPLES.” (John 15:5-8 KJV)
So should we be warning unbelievers of their sins? In a loving way, helping them to understand that God is real and Jesus can save us from sins, sure. Being condescending toward an unbeliever as if we are less sinful then they are, absolutely not. We as believers have NOTHING to boast about but Christ Crucified just as the Apostle Paul did.
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14 KJV)