By Dr Hank Lindstrom
Is there blood on your hands? Ezekiel tells us, “Son of Man, Speak unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked (the unbelievers), Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked (the unbeliever) from his wicked way (his religion that cannot save), to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I required at thine hand (Ezekiel 3:17-18).”
What responsibility do we have to the lost person? Is there a penalty if we do not tell them the gospel? Jesus said to every believer in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Therefore, every believer becomes responsible to tell others. I believe every believer has a sphere of influence, and that he is responsible, beginning with family, friends, and neighbors, to give the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus also said in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Our responsibility begins at home and then reaches out to the world.
Cornelius in Acts chapter 10 was responsible and concerned for his family and close friends. “And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea, and Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.”
The Philippian jailer, who trusted Christ as Savior in Acts 16:31, invited Paul and Silas to his home where “they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house (Acts 16:32).”
What if we do not warn the lost? Is there a penalty? Paul says, “Woe (judgment) is unto me, if I preach not the gospel (I Corinthians 9:16).” The believer will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ (I Corinthians 3:11-15) and will be held responsible for not giving the gospel. According to Ezekiel God will hold believers responsible for telling unbelievers how to be saved, (Romans 1:14-16).
You say, but what if they do not accept the gospel? God says we are no longer responsible once we have told them. “Yet if thou warn the wicked (the unbeliever), and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way (his way of salvation), he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul (Ezekiel 3:19).”
The Bible states, “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).” In witnessing, we are to tell the lost person that if they paid for sin the payment would be death, or eternal separation from God (Revelation 20:14); that Jesus Christ took our place on the cross of Calvary and paid the penalty for sin for us by His death. Jesus Christ now offers eternal life as a free gift to all that would trust in Him as their Savior. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” This is exactly what Ezekiel 3:17-19 tells us.
The Apostle Paul could say, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men (Acts 20:26).” Paul was making reference to Ezekiel 3:17-19. Why? Why could Paul say that he was pure from the blood of all men? Notice the answer in Acts 20:20-21, “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Apostle Paul went from house to house and told people about the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul says in Acts 20:27, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all (everyone) the counsel of God.” Paul did not shun his responsibility; therefore, Paul could say, “I am pure from the blood of all men (Acts 20:26).”
Ezekiel also speaks of a responsibility to other Christians. Ezekiel speaks of a righteous man who sins. A righteous man is a believer. A wicked man is an unbeliever. Keep that in mind when interpreting these passages. Romans 3:10, “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one.” Every unbeliever is considered wicked before God because he is without righteousness (Romans 3:23). But every believer is considered righteous by God because he has the imputed righteousness of God (Romans 4:5). The wicked way of the unbeliever is the means of salvation that he is counting upon. These are people who are trusting in someone or something other than Jesus Christ alone. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man can come unto the Father but by me (John 14:6).” Contrast Christ [THE WAY] with religion [MAN’S WAY].
Warning the wicked (unbelievers) about their wicked way (way of salvation) is to tell them that religion cannot save. Only Jesus Christ can save. All religions teach salvation by works! God offers everlasting life as a free gift to everyone who receives Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. All religions in the world have one thing in common. All teach salvation by works, and every religion sets people in motion doing something or paying something in order to win divine favor or salvation. The sooner a person realizes that he has nothing to offer God, but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), the better. Then he is ready to accept God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).
In this article, we are primarily warning the righteous man (the saved man) of his/her responsibility to witness for Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15). Therefore, I will not be held accountable for saved people who are not witnessing. You have been told your responsibility.
“He that winneth souls is wise (Proverbs 11:30).” Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).” Why not make a decision to witness to someone this week? If you are afraid to witness to someone your own age, then why not lead a child to the Lord? Why not invite someone to a church service where they will hear the gospel? Give out clear gospel tracts. Explain the gospel in a letter.
Pray for God’s courage and wisdom. God will bless you as you obey.