Ezekiel 21.1-5 – The motive for true worship
Posted: 26 September 2014 in Ezekiel

And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel, And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked. Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north: That all flesh may know that I the Lord have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.

In this passage it is said that sometimes, as in this instance, God will treat the righteous and the wicked in the same way. That may not be as unjust as it perhaps seems at first sight. Even if somebody (other than Christ) could live a completely righteous life, they would still be doing no more than fulfilling their duty to God, and in no sense would they be placing him in their debt. Therefore, they can have no necessary reason for supposing that God will deal with them more favourably than he does the wicked. He may do, of course, but only he can fulfill his plans in doing so.

The difference between the righteous and the wicked is that the former will recognise that God owes them nothing, and will worship him anyway, whereas the unrighteous, who have least reason to expect that God will treat them graciously, will curse their God if they find themselves suffering any kind of misfortune. The point is that the truly righteous will worship God, not for reward, but for his own sake, and for the sake of his everlasting glory. Love is, or ought to be, its own reward.

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