‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet, but does not heed the warning, and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head, since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves.
If the watchman sees the sword coming, but does not blow the trumpet to warn the people, and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, then that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak. Give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked people, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, those wicked people will die for their sins, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sins, though you yourself will be saved. –(Ezekiel 33:1-20)
I used to use white shoe polish to write messages on the back window of my car; it served as a ministry tool, for sometimes people would ask me what it meant, giving me the opportunity to share with them about Jesus. One of these messages was “Christianity is “NOT” A Religion!” (because it’s a relationship with God through Jesus Christ). I was amazed though at how often I would get the middle finger from drivers of cars with Christian symbols on or in them, such as the fish or rosaries hanging from the rear-view mirror! Because when you look at it, if they believe that Christianity IS a religion, for the sake of the meaning of it, then all the nice, good and righteous things they had done all their lives up to this point, when they flip me the bird, have just been erased! I’ll say it again. If you think that religion is the way to get to Heaven, and then you do something evil, then everything you had done up to that point has just been erased, and the only thing God will remember is the evil (praise Jesus that religion is NOT the way to heaven, but by having a genuine relationship with God through acceptance of His Son, Christ Jesus).
So taking us back to what God said to Ezekiel, ‘If a righteous person disobeys, then all the good they did before they sin is forgotten. Also, if God was to tell the righteous that they’re safe and in the good zone, and yet they soon sin, then none of their righteousness done up to that point will be remembered.
But now, if a wicked person repents, then his sins are forgotten (won’t bring condemnation).
I don’t believe this is an issue of whether one is always saved once they’re saved, which happens to be a huge theological debate among many denominations, but a means of insisting on the importance of not turning from God. If you obey God, His Laws, and His decrees, then you will continue to do so. But if your heart is not into it also, then you are bound to fall away. But watch out that you do not fall away, for otherwise everything you did up to that point will be wasted.
I also don’t think people realize all that they lose when they give into sin. For example, if you watch the TV show “Once Upon A Time” (my wife got me hooked onto it), you’ll remember Rumpelstiltskin’s famous caution to everybody who asks him for magic, “Magic always comes with a price!” Well, so does sin. And notice also that for each, the receiver is never concerned about the consequences (or price) that will come later, but of what they will get out of it by using it. In the show, it’s magic for love, revenge, power, etc. For sin it’s sexual sin, lust, greed, revenge…each of which are all selfish desires.
But now let’s look at the price. For CEOs who steal money from their company, it’s short-lived riches and long-lived jail time; for the person who commits adultery, it’s short-lived sexual/emotional pleasures and long-lived results in losing everything and everyone they have. For the Christian, it’s also a tainting of God’s image to the world, as well as the credibility of their faith to anybody they should share Jesus with in the future. It also separates them from the presence of God. Now, that’s not to say that they’ll go to hell for it. In fact, nobody can really say what will happen to them. But then, that’s not the point. The point is their crucial need to repent for their sin, turn from their evil ways, and reconcile to God. And the point of the watchmen (Christians) is to “sound the trumpet”, so to say, so that those who have not yet repented and turned to God do not perish because of their sins.
Because as Watchmen/Watchwomen (Christians), we know how dangerous sin is, and that those who have not repented of their sin are doomed. We also know that Christ has promised to return at an unknown time. Therefore, as ones who “see the sword coming”, it is actually our responsibility to tell everybody of their impending doom so that they may repent and turn to God, thus saving their lives (this one and the next). But if you choose not to tell others, for whatever reason, the question to ask, according to this passage, is not, ‘how much do you care for these others’, but ‘are you willing to be held accountable by God for not saying anything?’