Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons
Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked…
I. THE STATE OF MANKIND AS SINNERS.
1. A state of moral evil. The plural "ways" is here employed to intimate that the courses pursued by sinners are various in their kinds.
(1) There are ways of rebellion, or opposition to God's authority; they are open and avowed (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Galatians 5:19-21); or they are secret and concealed (Mark 7:21-23).
(2) There are ways of impenitence, or contempt of God's mercy: in which God is forgotten (Jeremiah 2:32); and not sought (Psalm 10:4; Psalm 107:10, 11).
(3) There are ways of self-deception, or vain delusive hope (Proverbs 14:12); such is the way of self-righteousness (Jeremiah 17:5, 6; Isaiah 1:11); and such also is the way of antinomianism (Proverbs 30:12; Matthew 7:21; Hebrews 12:14).
2. A state of imminent danger; — a state in which they are certainly exposed to death, even eternal death (Romans 6:23).
II. THEIR DUTY AND PRIVILEGE AS SINCERE PENITENTS.
1. Their duty is to turn from their evil ways.
(1) Turn from your ways of rebellion, by entire reformation (Isaiah 55:7; Ezekiel 18:27).
(2) Turn from your ways of impenitence, by earnest prayer (Hosea 14:1, 2; Luke 18:13).
(3) Turn from your ways of self-deception, by coming to God, trusting in Christ's mediation (John 14:6); and by seeking a new creation (Galatians 6:15, 16; Psalm 51:10).
(4) Turn seasonably; without delay (Isaiah 55:6; Job 22:21).
(5) Turn perpetually; without defection (Jeremiah 50:5).
(6) Turn believingly; in confident expectation of salvation (Hebrews 10:19-22).
2. Their privilege is, to be saved from death, and enjoy life.
(1) All genuine believers in our Lord Jesus Christ are saved from death by being delivered from the dominion of spiritual, and the sentence of eternal death (John 11:25, 26).
(2) The life enjoyed by them is comprehensive: including an interest in God's manifested favour (Psalm 30:5; Psalm 63:3); actual devotedness to God's service (Romans 6:13); and the eternal possession of heaven (Romans 2:6, 7).
3. The attainment of this privilege is as certain as it is desirable.
(1) From God's earnest command.
(2) From God's solemn oath.
(3) From God's gracious expostulation.
1. Why will ye die? By continuing in sin you choose death, the worst of all evils; and eternal death, the worst of all deaths. This is murder, self-murder of the blackest description.
2. Why will ye die? By what arguments can you justify your conduct at the bar of your own consciences? Is not God a better master than the devil? Is not holiness better employment than sin? Are not the treasures of grace and heaven better enjoyments than hell and damnation?
3. Why will ye die? Ye men! concerning whom there is still hope of salvation. Ye Britons! the peculiar favourites of heaven; who enjoy the clearest gospel light, the greatest religious liberty, and the highest advantages for piety, in the richest abundance (Psalm 147:20). Ye professing Christians! who are called by the name of Christ, and are encouraged in His word to seek Him (2 Chronicles 7:14); who are baptized in the name of Christ, and bound by the most solemn vows to serve Him alone (Ecclesiastes 5:4).
4. Why will ye die? Remember, if thou die eternally, it must be because ye will die; your death must be the result of your own deliberate choice; for God wills your salvation.
(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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 ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
WEB: Tell them, As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, house of Israel?