Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Ezekiel: Guaranteed rescue from works-religion

Ezekiel 34:7-10 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.

In Chapter 34, Christ instructs Ezekiel to preach against the shepherds of Israel. He exposes them for what they are - false preachers. They are not “Gospel preachers”; they are “preachers of Israel”. They say they are preachers of God but they are not Christ’s shepherds.

God’s elect are: diseased, sick, lost, scattered, become meat, wandering, and not sought after. They are hopeless, powerless, and undesirable. They see their sin and know their guilt before God. They are easy prey for false preachers (beasts of the field).

False preachers do not help God’s elect by pointing to Christ. Instead they cruelly preach self-righteousness. They point people back to themselves, telling each person to trust in their own individual meritorious works. They try to force God’s elect to plead their own righteousness to God. Their aim is to put everyone under bondage to the Law. They do not proclaim God’s Free Sovereign Grace.

Since these false preachers (who call themselves his shepherds) are concerned with themselves rather than God’s elect - Christ announces that he is against them. Legally and justly because of what they have done (therefore and thus) Christ commits to punish them forever.

Christ commits that he himself (I, even I) will collect and save each and every one of God’s elect. The elect are his flock - his and his alone. They are his loved ones and his responsibility. They are sheep - totally helpless without him. He teaches them of his Grace. He takes them out of false religion. He takes them away from those who preach the soul damning heresy of works-religion (will deliver my flock from their mouth). He will not let them despair under false teachers.

Here is a message of comfort to God’s elect. Christ guarantees that he will secure all of them under his wings; he takes them out of false religion; he teaches them of his Grace; he brings them to him using his true Preachers. Every one of God’s elect know that Christ, the LORD their God, is with them.

By Ray Bennetts