"If I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul."- Ezekiel 3:18-19 (repeated in Ezekiel 33:8-9)
As noted in my previous entry, Puritan Peter Bulkeley warned of the greater judgment that will come on the one who has access to news of the mercy of Christ, yet rejects it. He personifies that mercy as a witness against the sinner, testifying of his opportunity to repent, an opportunity which he despised. Then Bulkeley continues: "There is in this sin [refusing to heed the call of the Gospel] a speciall indignity offered unto Christ himself, the Son is despised in it, which the Father wil not suffer. It is one great part of the Fathers counsell to honour and advance his Son; for the Father loveth the Son, and will have all men to honour the Son, as they honour the Father... This contempt therefore which is offered unto Christ, when he is offered in the Gospel, and is set light[ly] by, God the Father will avenge to the full. As the bloud of Abel cryed to God for vengeance against Cain, so doth the contempt done to the bloud of Christ cry to heaven against the despisers of it much more. Christs bloud hath a double cry, and it will prevail both ways. First, to prevail for mercy towards those that count it precious, and trust in it; for them it saith, 'Father forgive them.' But it cryes also for judgement against the despisers of it, that God would avenge the contempt of it upon them; and this bloud will be heard, whatsoever it calls for, whither for mercy or for judgement." [spelling and punctuation in the original, except for my bracketed insertions, for the sake of comprehension]
Bulkeley is referring to the words of Scripture, for example, in Psalm 2:12, "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him." And again, in the Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33ff), Jesus refers to his own coming execution by rebels, v. 39, then his audience predicts his Father's revenge, verse 42, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death..." And in the Parable of the Ten Minas (Luke 19:11-27), he predicts his own judgment on the rebels against him, verse 27, "As for those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me."
For those pagans who have never heard of Jesus, we lament that they will die in their sins. Our compassion, and the command of God in, for example, the Ezekiel passage above, inspire us to send missionaries, print Bibles and other literature, use television, radio, and the internet, so that by every means we may warn them of the judgment, and the mercy that can be found in Christ. But for the one who hears the warning, yet despises it, he doesn't merely die in his sins; he is killed in his sins.
39 Articles—Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude (4)
2 days ago