If you fail to warn others, their sin becomes your sin.
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Read Ezekiel 33:1-9
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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 99
Q. What is God’s will for us
in the third commandment?
A. That we neither blaspheme
nor misuse the name of God
or unnecessary oaths,
nor share in such horrible sins
by being silent bystanders.
In a word, it requires
that we use the holy name of God
only with reverence and awe,
so that we may properly
pray to him,
and praise him
The prophet Ezekiel here is giving an account of God’s calling him to be a watchman for the people of Israel. A watchman was an individual who kept a lookout over the entrance of the city, announcing the arrival of messengers and warning of impending attacks on the city. The role of a watchman was an important one; they were there to protect the city. A watchman who failed to give warning of an attack would bear indirect responsibility for those who died.
As a watchman appointed by God for the people of Israel, it was Ezekiel’s responsibility to deliver messages which he received from God to the people. Ezekiel was warned that his calling was to do more than just declare condemnation on the wicked, he was to first speak out and dissuade the people from their wicked ways. To fail to encourage his fellow Israelites to give up their sinful ways would leave Ezekiel accountable for their blood. If Ezekiel was faithful in warning others about these dangers and they ignored his warning, the fault would not lie with him. However, to do nothing, to not warn of the dangers of wicked living would leave Ezekiel liable.
Sometimes, as Ezekiel was warned, you can find yourself in violation of God’s law not because of what you have done, but for what you have left undone. One of the ways you can dishonor the name of God is by standing idly by while someone defames the name of God.
Arguably, one of the most common curse words spoken in the English language is the misuse of the name of God. The use of terms such as “Jesus”, “Jesus Christ”, or “Oh My God” in a derogatory way is rampant in western media and the broader culture. And unfortunately, this misuse of the name of God can cause others to likewise share in the defaming of the name of our Lord. Many who misuse the name of God in this manner do not understand the defamatory nature of using the name of the Almighty in this way.
This is where a gentle reminder can make a difference in someone’s life. Perhaps that person does not care about the misuse of the name of God; if that is the case then the fault of their actions does not lie with you. However, to not share the truth of their actions with someone who does not understand the defamatory nature of their misuse of the name of God would leave you with some level of accountability for their breaking of the third commandment. As you do your best to follow God’s law out of gratitude for all that Christ has done for you, remember to also be a help to those who are seeking to do the same.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, the great judge who calls us to warn of His impending wrath;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the wisdom and courage to not only live and speak righteously on your own, but to gently call those around you out of their sinful language;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 2 Corinthians 12