Ezekiel 3:20 “Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”
Ezekiel 3:21 “Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.”
Today we look at what is said after the verse we covered yesterday. It continues with what we are to do on earth while we are here. We are to witness to the lost, and yet not only that, but we are to exhort, rebuke, and warn the righteous when he or she is backslidden and commits iniquity. Now, iniquity paints a picture of not just a regular sin, but a repeated offense. Iniquity, is what I often call “habitual sinning.” It isn’t a stumble, and then getting back up and asking the Lord to forgive you, then moving on. This is a stumble, and staying down to wallow in the mud pit you’ve just fallen in, enjoying your sin and refusing to leave it behind. It’s still sin, yes, but it’s more along the lines of sin that a person refuses to leave behind or even TRY to leave behind (in the case of addiction).
Today we see a warning, that we aren’t just responsible for those the Lord tells us to witness to, but also for those the Lord tells us to warn that they are sinning and MUST stop. Sin blinds a person, even the children of God. First a little stumble, then a fall, and then before the Christian realizes it, they are in a mud pit wallowing around! Yet they may not even realize it, because the devil flung some mud in his or her eyes right before, and they didn’t wipe it out of their eyes yet—they don’t realize they are wallowing in the mud pit, sometimes. So this is why the Lord doesn’t just tell us with sternness, to witness to the Lost Souls, but also seek to find and retrieve those lost sheep who have wandered away!
There are two things that I see in today’s verse. One of those things, is the fact that works, righteousness, cannot save us! Notice, that if a man turns from righteousness, and commits iniquity, if they don’t then repent again, they will die in their sins and their righteousness WILL NOT be remembered! This is because our righteousnesses are as filthy rags even. The ONLY way for our real Righteousness to follow over with us unto death even, is if we have no sin at all. Righteousness doesn’t erase sin, but sin does cause all our righteousnesses to go down the drain and be tainted, no longer righteous. So for our righteousness to really be righteous, and remembered even past our death, we must have no sin. And we know there is but one way to get rid of our sin: Jesus Christ of Nazareth! If we have received Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and we have been saved by the blood of Jesus, then we can be forgiven and go before our Lord and Father God, sinless! When that happens, our Righteousness will be made manifest, which means it will REALLY be made, wrought in God even. This is why our Lord tells us in John 3:21 “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
The other thing is clearly seen: we MUST warn our brothers and sisters when they sin, especially if we notice that they do not realize what they did was a sin, and they either continue doing it, or do worse! Some have told me that it is disrespectful to correct or rebuke a brother or sister, or anyone for that matter, unless that person is a little child. It is NOT disrespectful to correct someone, instead it’s quite the opposite, it is LOVING to tell someone when they’ve done something contrary to what the Lord wants! Now, there are of course ways of making that rebuke, disrespectful. But the rebuke itself isn’t disrespectful, rather the person rebuking is being disrespectful in the way they rebuke. You don’t go up to someone and start beating them over the head with the Word of God (much as some of us may wish to do to some people—but that’s the flesh, don’t listen to it)! You go up to that person, in the spirit of MEEKNESS! As the Lord our God says in His Word, in Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
When we go to a brother or sister, to let them know they have stumbled and MUST stop sinning or they will cause harm for their own selves (and perhaps others even), we must be meek about it. That means we must go to that person, and even though we have the power and ability to be harsh and treat them as though they are vile and wicked heathen people and perhaps you are better than they are, you don’t. Instead, you treat them as though they are MORE DESERVING of grace and mercy and forgiveness, than you are. Explain to them that what they have done, this action which is sinful, must stop from being in their lives. Show them in the Word of God that which proves what they do is sinful (don’t go based on how you feel, because the Word of God is our Final Authority, not each person’s feelings). Don’t spread it abroad that this person has done this or that. Let them know you will be keeping it between you, and them, unless and until they are ready to use it as a testimony of forgiveness. Pray WITH them, and pray for them each day. Let them know, right from the start, that you are not there to condemn them, but rather to try your hardest to help lift up a very dear brother or sister you love, and help them to walk strongly again with our Lord. In all this, be loving, yet don’t compromise the truth that such a thing is sin, because it would then defeat the whole purpose that you went to that person for to do!
Now if they accept your rebuke, and repent, then Praise God with them, you have helped a brother or sister who may need to help you later on in your life.
If they refuse to accept your rebuke, which is truthful yet loving, wise, and not disrespectful (ask the Lord to help you, and give you the right words and timing to confront that fallen brother or sister), then you have done your part. Pray for that brother or sister, that what you have done, will reach their heart and they will in time, repent. Don’t get yourself down or anything, and don’t think it’s your fault they didn’t change. You have done your part by trying (as the saying goes: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force them to drink). AND, ultimately by doing what the Lord has said, you have, as the Word says in today’s verse, delivered your soul.
If you refuse to do such a thing, but rather use excuses or simply don’t care, then first you must analyze your life and get on your own knees to repent from such rebellion to God, and repent for such HATEFULNESS that you don’t care about your brother or sister to try to get them back on track with our Lord. By refusing, you say you don’t care one way or the other, whether they walk completely away from the Lord, or they get right with God—such an attitude is completely hateful and UN-Christian! If you refuse, you risk that brother or sister’s downfall. You also ensure your own downfall, and that brother or sister’s blood will be ON YOUR HANDS, just as the lost souls we spoke of in yesterday’s study. You will bring harm to your own self, and it will be no one’s fault but your own . . .
Now, ultimately, as the verse in Galatians says, we need to watch ourselves so that we ourselves do not fall while trying to lift up our brother or sister. If you can’t handle it, then pray for that brother or sister. Pray for the strength to handle it as well, because maybe that is why God revealed it to you, so that you can get stronger and handle it. DON’T use this as an excuse to get out of all the things that may seem hard, either! God knows what you can handle, and He won’t tell you to do something you can’t. You know what you can handle, so don’t lie to yourself, or make excuses which you deep down know are not true. This isn’t just about your comfort zone, it’s about a brother or sister and his or her walk with God. It’s about their souls!
We need to follow our Lord and what He has said, while in this world and not of it!
I love you so much, and pray for you each day. May God embolden us to stand firm in the faith of our Lord Jesus, against any and all persecution. May we remember always though, to stand firm, uncompromising, yet never neglecting the Love of our Lord Jesus, and the meekness He chose when He could have stayed in heaven or killed us all, but chose to be beaten by the very one’s He created, and came to give Life. May God Bless you, and guide you, in all you do today. Have a great day today in the Lord!
Love in Christ, Always,
Your friend forever,
Psalm 5:12 “For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”