Text.-- Ezek. 18:23, 32 : " Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his way and live? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore, turn yourselves, and live ye ."
Text.-- Ezek. 33:11 : " Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil way, for why will ye die, O house of Israel? "
In speaking upon these texts, I am to show,
I. What this death is not;
II. What it is;
III. Why God has no pleasure in it;
IV. Why He does not prevent it;
V. The only way in which He can prevent it.
I. What this death is not.
1. The death spoken of in our texts cannot be that of the body. "It is appointed to all men once to die, and after this the judgment." I need not say that men die a physical death none the less surely because they turn to God and live.
2. This cannot mean spiritual death either, for this death is nothing else than a sinful state of mind -- a fixed habit and condition of sinning. If this had been the sense of the term death in these passages, they should have read --Why are ye already dead! -- not, Why will ye die? The death referred to is manifestly an event yet future.
II. What it is.
Positively, this death must be the opposite of that life which they would have if they would turn from their evil ways. Throughout the Bible we are given to understand that this is eternal life -- life in the sense of real blessedness. By the terms, death, and life, when used of the final rewards of the wicked and of the righteous, the Bible does not mean annihilation and existence. It does not teach that one class shall cease to exist and the other shall simply continue to exist; but most obviously implies that both alike have an immortal existence, which existence, however, is, in the one case, infinite misery; in the other, infinite blessedness.
III. Why God has no pleasure in it.