god wants to forgive
The infamous question that many have proposed is this.
Before addressing this question, let’s clearly define wicked. The Hebrew word for wicked is rasha (H7563), which simply means, anyone who is guilty of sin or ungodly acts or actions. So, let’s make this clear because we need to understand this.
This means we all are considered “wicked.” Why? Because we all are tailored towards sin – acting wickedly.
Let me illustrate this in two ways.
So, with that being said, we are all guilty for some form of wicked or evil acts. Hence, why we all need JESUS. There is no way any of us can survive without accepting what he has done for us at the cross and then living our lives through acts of repentance and holiness.
So, if it is humanly impossible for us to live a righteous life, to walk upright, and to please a perfect God, why bother? Because when we genuinely turn to Christ for direction on how to live and then apply his formula by relying on him to help groom us into his likeness – THEN NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. (Compare to Genesis 1:27, Mark 10:27). Because EVERYTHING, ALL THINGS are possible not with man, BUT ONLY WITH GOD. Hence why we need to discuss this question that so many have proposed – does God take pleasure in the death of the wicked? In the book of Ezekiel, we are provided an answer.
God is merciful and forgiving but there are conditions
In Ezekiel chapter 18, verse 21, it says.
And here is that infamous word again – “if.” Remember, we previously talked about the importance of understanding that “if” whenever it shows up in God’s Word. Why and what is it again? Remember, I explained before that “if” is a conditional statement, which simply means, IF you want to benefit from or gain access to something being offered to you, it is based “on the condition that” you must do something in turn for it.
In verse 21 of Ezekiel chapter 18, God states clearly here, that we (the wicked) can gain eternal life. (Also see John 3:16). He says, “they (meaning we, the wicked) will surely live and not die.” But He also enforces three prerequisites (conditions) that we (the wicked) must fulfill before we can gain access or benefit from the latter part of that Scripture – that is, “they will surely live and not die.” Here are the conditions.
We have to meet all three of these conditions and then, we who are guilty of sin, who does deserve to die for our waywardness, our gross disobedience; CAN NOW LIVE. Can be forgiven and live.
In the next verse of Ezekiel chapter 18, it says.
I love the way how Psalm 103:12 puts it. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He (God) removed our transgressions (our sins) from us. Hebrews even says it better. “And I will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). Yes, every evil or wicked deed we ever acted or spoken; God will blot it out as if they never have taken place (Isaiah 43:25). Hmmm, now that’s mercy. What a loving, forgiving God we serve.
choose to live
So, does God take pleasure in the death of the wicked? It is clearly a resounding NO. God wants all of us to LIVE. If you drop down in Ezekiel chapter 18 to verse 32. God states
So, if God has no desire for us to die and He wants all of us to live, to choose life. Why do we die if He is a merciful and gracious God? Again, like in most things, whether it's the promises God has made to us directly or in His Word. Or whether it is prophetic words spoken in God’s Word or through a man or woman that God has legitimately picked for such a role (Compare to 1 Corinthians chapter 12). Often time, there are conditions that are attached to those declarations. If we do this or act or live this way, it is then and only then that God will do His part.
So, if it is God’s desire for the wicked to live, then what must be done – what is the condition that must be met? We need to add one more thing to our previous list of conditions stated from the previous section, which is stated in the first condition but we need to make it clearer.
In that same chapter and verse of Ezekiel, the latter part says.
Then the LORD Thy God can blot out all of your wicked sins. Forget that you ever made them. Forgive you for any and everything. Bless and prosper you and then give you eternal LIFE. (Also, compare to Deuteronomy chapter 28).
God's word is for the edification, exhortation, and consolation; for teaching, reproving, correcting, and training so that every Christian is equipped for the work of service, to build up the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:3; 2 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 4:12).