13 Jul 2014

God Wants You to Choose Life

Religious 59 Comments

I was reading an issue of The American Conservative that was complimentary at FreedomFest, and saw this passage from Ezekiel quoted in an ad in the beginning:

21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

I thought it was important for some of you to see this.

59 Responses to “God Wants You to Choose Life”

  1. Harold says:

    You have to rad on to v32 for the answer in case anyone was wondering. “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies.”

    Out of interest, what is the “eaten on the mountains” reference just before “defiled his neighbours wife”?

    The next passage is “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.”

    It seems that the good and bad you do is not written up and balanced one against the other. You do not need to do lots of good to balance a bad life, nor do you need to do lots of bad to balance a good life. So if you have lived a blameless life of piety but unfortunately lost if at the last minute and coveted you neighbours wife just as a truck struck you, does that mean you die?

    • Innocent says:

      Harold,

      One of the great things about God is that he is attempting in these versus to explain that he is not ‘fair’ in the way that Israel is complaining about Him. He is saying basically I care about your heart not about your past.

      Hence to God he does not care if you lived your entire life abiding by his rules if you decide that it is all in vain and do not wish to live that life anymore. God does not say, ‘Okay you did a lot of good in your life so it is okay if you hate me now.’

      Likewise God does not say, ‘Well you have to earn my love since you were a bad boy before’ He cares what YOU with all of your heart desire. If it turns to Him then he could care less about what you did before. He knows that you are imperfect and need time to learn, grow, etc.

      God is saying ‘I will judge you everyone according to His ways’ this was meant to be a rebuke to those who would take judgement onto themselves and declare a person good or bad. That is left to God who knows not those in power who believe they know. It is sort of a rebuke to the Jews who were attempting to excuse bad behavior of those who had done good but now did evil, and to help them see that people CAN change their hearts both to come unto Him and to fall away from Him.

      At least that is how I read it.

      • Harold says:

        I agree pretty much with how you read it. I just have an image in my head (possibly from Tom and Jerry cartoons – not perhaps a good theological source) of a post-mortem balancing or weighing of good acts vs bad ones.

        • Innocent says:

          Lol the little angle and devil on the left and right? Okay see how badly kids entertainment can influence us in our old age?

        • Anonymous says:

          What you’re imagining is actually what the Hindu view of the afterlife. When you die, Yama the god of death judges your actions in life, weighing your good deeds and bad deeds against each other, and then you go to either Devaloka or Asuraloka (heaven or the other place) based on whether your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds or vice versa. Of course Hinduism also contains the additional element of reincarnation: after you spend some time in one of those places, you get reborn on earth as either a human or some other animal, and then the process repeats, at least until you attain Moksha or salvation.

          • Innocent says:

            Of course that is what I am imagining. What else do you think is the purpose of life but to bring oneself into Harmony with God? Regardless of the religions source the ultimate end result is the same. To obtain a state of oneness with the universe.

            However my view of the Afterlife is still a little different than the Hindu version. Mainly due to the fact that nothing in my experience with God ( The Creator ) has lead me to see reincarnation as part of the cycle of life. According to all inquires I have made to date you get one shot at this life on Earth.

            This would place a spoke so to speak in the wheel of Hinduism where the concept is you have multiple attempts to vanquish the self.

            So I ask you only what if you only have one shot at the attempt at fixing yourself and placing yourself in Harmony with God? (At least while on this Earth ).

            How do you know there are more lives to live? Is it simply something you have been told? Has the Creator divulged that you have had and will have more lives to you? Just interested to know if you know this or simply believe it. Can you communicate with the ‘Creator”? If so what does His voice sound like?

            Please also understand I mean no disrespect when asking these questions. Hinduism was one of the religions I actually found a great deal of truth in but also found there was lacking some real fundamentals that when I went to God and asked for myself was told was not 100% correct and that it had been corrupted by the influence of Man from what it was originally taught to those who gave it to the people as ( call them prophets )

            From my own musings with God it was on the very subject of reincarnation that God said was a deviation from the truth that he had originally handed out. So again I am simply interested in how you came to your own conclusions that Hinduism is correct? I would also suggest that if you adhere to the precepts of Hinduism there is little ‘wrong’ that will occur, hence I hope you see this this as little else than a friendly inquiry, and a couple of thought provoking questions.

            • Harold says:

              “How do you know there are more lives to live? Is it simply something you have been told? Has the Creator divulged that you have had and will have more lives to you? Just interested to know if you know this or simply believe it. Can you communicate with the ‘Creator”? If so what does His voice sound like?”

              One could ask exactly the same questions of you – referring to the afterlife. particularly given this line “when I went to God and asked for myself was told was not 100% correct.” What does Gods voice sound like?

  2. Cody S says:

    Bob, do you think Ezekiel was implying that bad men who turned from sin could expect to:

    a) Live as immortals on Earth,

    or

    b) Find an immortal reward in a further life after an Earthly death?

    It sure seems to me the second is more likely; in that case, when he says God would take no pleasure in the man ‘dying’, my interpretation is that God is not about snuffing out immortal souls, but rather wants as many as possible, and will not judge against the repentant.

    Otherwise, if death is an outward sign of unrepentant sinfulness, our outlook is pretty bleak. How many people in history have not died?

    • Innocent says:

      a ) No Ezekiel knew he others would die eventually and was not talking about living on Earth forever.

      b ) In a way. In this case Ezekiel is relaying that there is a spiritual death, which death is us choosing to not be with God. God has no interest in the destruction of his childrens souls ( He already knows we will all die ) instead he is interested in whether we will choose to be like Him or not.

      Please note that it is a choice either way. God is interested in the willing heart. This is ‘shown’ by how we choose to live our lives. The irony here is that as you follow Gods precepts He will teach them too you line upon line, here a little and there a little. Just a child learns math not by starting out in calculus but learning how and why 2 + 2 = 4 and then graduating onto more difficult and concepts.

      So if you choose to do evil ‘not follow what God teaches’ you are left on your own and suffer the ‘spiritual’ death of being cut off from God. If you choose to follow what God teaches ‘do good’ then you are his Disciple and entitled to all privileges thereof. Is society any different? Do we not all have to follow social norms or be left out and ostracized from society? With God it is no different. Then if you say, never mind I really do not want to be like God anyway, God obliges and you are cut off again.

      What is God’s Purpose? I suppose if you understand that then the scripture from Ezekiel is a bit more clear.

  3. Harold says:

    “How many people in history have not died?”
    About 7 billion. But I guess they all will. I presume we must use the second of your interpretations or it makes no sense.

  4. Matt M says:

    “I thought it was important for some of you to see this.”

    Bob passive-aggressively calling all of us wicked?

  5. Ivan Jankovic says:

    “None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”

    So, as long as guys like Uncle Joe Stalin or Mr Shicklegruber repent on their sins that would be ok with God. As Ivan Karamazov said in a similar context: ” if that’s the case I return my ticket”.

    • Harold says:

      They have to be genuine – no use just saying the words if they don’t really believe they were wrong and genuinely regret their deeds. Deathbed repentances probably aren’t as easy as you might think if there were an all knowing god to judge.

      • Major.Freedom says:

        Good point, but for me it makes no difference.

        • JNCU says:

          It does to the Creator . that’s what matters.

          • Major.Freedom says:

            Not to me on Earth it doesn’t.

            • JNCU says:

              I knew it did not matter to you. You did not provided new information nor clarification.

              • Major.Freedom says:

                What more clarification is needed in your judgment?

            • JNCU says:

              The discussion is not about what matters personallly. That would be subjective. Your entitled to your opinion.

              The discussion is about objective importance. God is the Creator of the Universe, so the Universe’ purpose is God’s glory, objectively.

              By denying God’s purpose you comit an inmoral act. But it would punish at the end time. Not by government now.

              In the mean time you can deny God’s purpose with no immediate consequence. God wants it that way on this side of salvation history.

              • Major.Freedom says:

                I’d rather incur the risk of suffering an eternity in an unproved hell in the afterlife, and live as a selfish, materialistic, peaceful atheist on Earth.

                Take that however you want, but I hope you choose wisely.

              • JNCU says:

                Be my and Christ guest.

  6. Major.Freedom says:

    Those passages do not suggest that God wants us to choose life.

    They suggest God wants us to choose to live for the sake of God’s cause.

    “Wicked”, “transgressions”, “righteousness”…these terms make it clear that God wants us to live not for ourselves, but for Him.

    But God’s cause is not my cause, and my cause is not His cause.

    • JNCU says:

      Bingo! He is the purpose and meaning of the Universe. So you would be doing moral good. The highest moral good.

      • Major.Freedom says:

        JNCU…

        The highest moral good is an Egoist cause, i.e. God’s cause?

        • JNCU says:

          Egoist?

          Are you assuming humans are equal with God and that is why he suppose to accept human choices regardless of wether they match God’s will?

          • Major.Freedom says:

            Oh not at all. The ego is unique. God’s ego is not like anything else.

            You said the highest moral good is God’s cause. Well, that is an egoist cause, is it not?

        • JNCU says:

          Egoist would be to choose a personal goal above a greater goal. There is no greater goal than God’s glory. He is the greatest being, his goals are more important than ours.

          Among humans since we are all equal our personal goals cannot be greater than other humans. That is why libertarianism is true. Ontological human equality.

          God is not equal with human, he is greater. So his goals are the greatest moral good. To act different from his goal is the definition of immorality.  

          • Major.Freedom says:

            JCNU,

            Right, that’s what I mean. If there is no greater goal than God’s glory, then isn’t that saying God’s ego is the highest moral good?

            You seem baffled by this thought. It’s not all that esoteric. Telling me that God’s glory is the highest cause, the highest morality, all of it points to God, all of that, are you not telling me that God’s (unique) Ego is the highest moral good? That God’s satisfaction is the ultimate standard?

            • JNCU says:

              The word ego seems out of place.

              The dictionary says that ego is the opinion that you have about yourself.

              God’s opinion about himself is not related about his comands and moral expectations.

              So I think you mean something else. If you can please clarify I would appreciate it to understand your idea.

    • Z says:

      Neither cause is important, either God’s or yours. Our entire lives are filled with self serving manufactured meaning.

      • Major.Freedom says:

        The only important things are uncreated things?

        • Z says:

          Take it up with your buddy Dawkins. This is a phrase he uses.

          • Major.Freedom says:

            My buddy? Never met him, but he seems too caustic even for me.

            He uses that phrase? OK.

            What are you getting at exactly? Do you believe that the only important things are things not created by man? Serious question. I’m anonymous. It doesn’t matter.

            • JNCU says:

              The most or higer mportant thing is the only uncreated thing, God the creator of the rest. Which makes all creation his private property. His wishes are the meaning of creation as your wishes are the meaning of the chairs of your house. You can distruct them if you see it necessary. No one, much less the chairs, have the right to complain about your decision about the purpose or destiny of the chairs. They are yours.

              God chose to punish people imidiately during Old Testament times as he chose to postpone punishment until later after the New Testament time.

    • K.P. says:

      “But God’s cause is not my cause”

      What’s next, casting out the cause of Mankind?

      • Major.Freedom says:

        Does mankind have a cause apart from your or my cause?

  7. Tim M says:

    It appears a clarification is needed here.

    Ezekiel was speaking to a people living under the Mosaic Law, not to those now living under the new covenant ushered in with Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.

    The key words in Ezekiel’s quote are “keeps all My statutes.” Upon a little reflection this is obviously impossible for any human, except for Christ, to do. Ezekiel simply said, you (wicked) man cannot achieve righteousness through your own efforts.

    So how is Ezekiel’s delemma resolved? As he says “turn from his ways and live.” His, that is man’s ways, is attempting to achieve righteousness by following the Law when God requires keeping ALL his statutes for righteousness. Breaking even one is a sin, hence failure.

    This is the great error of the Israelites, including many Christians and non-Christians, and Ezekiel was telling them it cannot work.

    So stop trying to achieve righteousness by following a set of rules! You’re human, you’re gonna fail. You’re only hope to achieve righteousness is through Christ! You’re still going to fail even after accepting Christ because you’re still human, but upon accepting Christ, you’re a righteous human.

    For further clarification see Aaron Budjen at http://www.livinggodministries.net

    • Drigan says:

      Then why does the Bible always refer to the “just/righteous” (depending on your translation) ones? i.e. “Then you will desire the sacrifices of the just, burnt offering and whole offerings; then they will offer up young bulls on your altar.”

      • Tim M says:

        Your quote finishes David’s prayer in which he says God only finds acceptable sacrifice from the just, and as David confesses to be justified to God means to have a broken and contrite heart.

        It appears that David up to this point thought he was a righteous man no doubt, like so many of us, because he thought he’d earned it.

  8. Tim M says:

    Please change the You’re only hope … to Your only hope …

    • Major.Freedom says:

      Their their, its not as bad as your imagining.

      [My eyes]

  9. Futurity says:

    John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

  10. knoxharrington says:

    “…keeps all My statutes…”

    Kind of puts believers in a conundrum – how do we keep all the statutes when many of them are in direct contradiction with one another? Oh, wait, that’s right – we turn to fallible, biased humans to tell us what god meant. Thanks for the moral clarity god – good job.

    • JNCU says:

      No worry, Christ fulfilled them all for us. If we mess up or we do not know what to do, we act boldy to the best of our knowledge. If we were wrong we correct when we figure it out. The transgression was cover by Christ.

      • knoxharrington says:

        I read through your posts on here – you are trolling here, right? I mean, nobody can be this unintentionally daft. It must be done for effect.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Hey Knox he’s not trolling. Obviously you disagree but please keep it civil.

          • knoxharrington says:

            I’ll try to be less severe Bob but in my defense look at this post from just above by JNCU:

            “The most or higer mportant thing is the only uncreated thing, God the creator of the rest. Which makes all creation his private property. His wishes are the meaning of creation as your wishes are the meaning of the chairs of your house. You can distruct them if you see it necessary. No one, much less the chairs, have the right to complain about your decision about the purpose or destiny of the chairs. They are yours.

            God chose to punish people imidiately during Old Testament times as he chose to postpone punishment until later after the New Testament time.”

            Trying to make sense of nonsense is thoroughly frustrating. “The most or hig[h]er [i]mportant thing is the only uncreated thing, God the creator of the rest. ” What the hell does that even mean?

            • JNCU says:

              The most important being or the being of highest importance is God, the only uncreated being and creator of everything else that exist.

              The Universe belongs to him, otherwise he would not be God.

              • knoxharrington says:

                How do you know any of this and where is the proof? Everything you just said is nonsense on stilts.

                And “the Bible tells me so” doesn’t cut it. FYI

              • JNCU says:

                @ knoxharrington

                How do you know that “the Bible tells me so” doesn’t cut it?

                And were is the proof that “the Bible tells me so” does not cut it?

              • knoxharrington says:

                The Bible doesn’t cut it because it is wrong about everything critical to its claims. The origin of the universe being the big one and a lot of other little ones, for example, the Exodus, good portions of the “history” in Kings, Chronicles and Samuel, the census which required people to return to their town of origin, the resurrection, the road to Damascus conversion, etc. There is no evidence that any of the things justifying the Christian theology ever took place and quoting the Bible to prove the Bible is circular and nonsensical.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YLzlIsrU4o

              • knoxharrington says:

                I’ve spoken to the problems in the Bible many times on here before. The fact that the disciples were illiterate Aramaic speakers who somehow wrote in excellent Greek, the fact that events depicted in the Gospels took place 40-50 years before the Gospels were written and are not first hand accounts, the fact that Corinthians was written about 25 years after the resurrection and doesn’t mention the resurrection at all, the Council of Nicea deciding which books were in and which were out and editing those books, etc. My favorite, and I’ve also mentioned this before, are the zombies in Matthew 27. It says there were resurrected dead people wandering the streets of Jerusalem. Where are the contemporaneous reports to that fact? Even in a highly illiterate society someone who had the facility to write would have made note of dead people walking the streets such that this event would have survived in history. Yet, the only source for the claim is the Bible. Odd?

                I don’t mean to be pedantic JNCU but you are out of your depth here. The Bible is largely fiction. By way of example, assume that 1,000 years from now a researcher discovers Spider-Man comic books and notes that it takes place in New York. He knows from other sources that New York actually exists or existed. Does that mean that Spider-Man was real? Of course not. Is there a Jerusalem? Sure. Does that mean the Bible is true? Of course not.

              • JNCU says:

                I hot cut up with some responsabilities. I will getting ba c k during the week.

              • JNCU says:

                @knoxharrington

                “Green Lantern Rings”

                Really? I thought you were serious. Thraw that red meat to fundies.

                Bob,

                I thought you had ONLY sophisticated commenters.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                Bob,

                I thought you had ONLY sophisticated commenters.

                So you believe in miracles.

              • knoxharrington says:

                “Obviously you disagree but please keep it civil.” – Bob Murphy

                Hey JNCU -
                If you define sophisticated by the ability for rational thought then I would suggest that you have some work to do to.

                I was expecting an intellectual response – I guess I thought there were sophisticated people on here too. Oh well, live and learn.

  11. laugh says:

    But if the man does not “keeps all My statutes” then stone him to death. Parents must participate.

  12. guest says:

    I thought it was important for some of you to see this.

    That was awesome.
    :D

  13. New School says:

    Many people confuse the ability to do as they please with liberty, and so they bristle when anyone speaks out against sin. But the fact of the matter is, one who is captive to selfish desires has only a false sense of liberty. Real liberty is acting according to our design, which is finding true fulfillment in loving God and loving others. To allow this to happen, Jesus works in the heart of those who believe in Him. He creates the necessary renewal that allows a person to have the good desires of God rather than his own failed desires. Jesus can change your thoughts, perspective, and interactions with others if you simply put your trust in Him, praying for forgiveness and asking for guidance.

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