Ezekiel 3.17-19 – Christ the only means of salvation, and our duty to preach the Gospel
Posted: 18 March 2013 in Ezekiel

Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Implicit in the above passage is a statement to the fact that it is not necessary for a prophet, or the Church, to be remiss in warning people of the consequences of their sin before they stand condemned before God. The sin itself is enough, and consequent upon that fact is the further fact that people who have never had the Gospel preached to them will still be guilty before God, if (as will necessarily be the case) they lack faith in Christ.

Were it the case that people could be saved, even though (through no fault of their own) they lacked the means of salvation, then the New Testament would seem to be something of a sham. After all, if some can be saved without explicit faith in Christ, why not everybody? – and why would the death and ressurection of Christ have been necessary in the first place? God was not being frivolous when he gave us his only begotten Son. The Bible is not there primarily to teach us morality, in spite of the nonsense which is sometimes heard. It is primarily there to teach us about our plight in the light of the fall, and about the only means of salvation.

But, on the other hand, Ezekiel receives a blunt warning that, although the Israelites will reap the consequences of their sin if he does not warn them, he too will reap the consequences of his disobedience, if he disobeys God, and does not warn them. By extension, the Church also stand condemned before God if we do not obey the explicit commandment (Matt 28.19) to preach the Gospel to all nations. If they do not have at least the possibility of responding to the divine invitation to repent, they will suffer the consequences of their sin, but their blood will be required of our hands.

The problem with theology is the ease with which it allows people to substitute what they would like to be true for what actually is true – especially today when even people professing themselves to be “Bible believers” think that they can sit light to the explicit words of the Bible. The only motive we can have for ignoring the Bible’s very explicit statement that there is no other means of salvation – with that warning on one occasion being uttered by Jesus himself – is to make ourselves feel better about the fate of those the Church has failed to evangelise.
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Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4.12)

There are no exceptions mentioned there.

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