Turn Back From Your Evil Ways
In Ezekiel 33:11 we read: "Say to them, As I live! declares the LORD GOD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?
God was instructing Ezekiel to tell the people to start serving the Lord God once again. They had failed to serve Him for many generations. We see it in the history of Israel as recorded in the pages of the Old Testament that it did not take long for another generation to come along that did not know the Lord.. The New Testament has the writers warning us to learn from those of the old days and not repeat their sins. The warnings given to the people of the Old Testament ring out just as true today as back then. God does not change and God demands obedience to His commandments. That is why the Ecclesiastes writer tells us that the whole duty of man is to "Fear God, and keep His commandments".
Perhaps we are to blame for the shortcomings of man today. In many ways we have changed the meaning of words that God used into something more acceptable to our culture. The very thought of evil now seems to be limited to the worst of the worst and those who are just downright bad people. We fail to consider that the word "evil" simply means polluted or defiled. So to fail to do God's commands is considered as evil by God, yet we just consider it a shortcoming. Even if we do most of the commands of God, we consider it at least an effort to please Him, when God considers that we do not keep ALL His commands as sinful behavior.
Thus our evil ways that God wants us to turn away from can be described in the term: "Stop the Sin in your life". Sin is transgression of law (1 John 3:4); in this case, it is transgression of God's laws that bring about the penalty of death that everyone is guilty of. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
Even though we know that we do not keep all of God's commands, we still do not think of ourselves as evil. We have assigned that term to the most wicked, vile, ungodly, and abominable people of the earth, and we compare ourselves to them so that we feel like angels and certainly better than those awful people. This helps us to feel good about ourselves, and therein lies the danger. We fail to perceive the shortcomings in ourselves when we are so quick to point out the evil in others.
We have failed to see our own faults and worse, we have failed to warn others about their sins and the death, destruction and punishment that awaits them if they do not turn to God for salvation. We have no problem seeing that sin is taking over our culture and society where we live. We are bombarded by sinful things all the day, every day. We need to be faithful servants of God and serve Him with our whole hearts. So here is the point. If a person has sin in their life, God considers them evil. So we need to stop putting a limit on the meaning of evil as applying to the worst of humanity. We must begin in our own house and clean it up, and then we can help lead others to the right way that God wants them to be living in. We have a duty to God to help people out of their evil ways and we need to turn from our evil ways also.
By Carey Scott
Return to the General Articles page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /