We Do Not Rejoice When Wicked Men Perish

By   •   May 26, 2011   •   Topics:

“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die?” (Ezekiel 33:11, NIV).

It grieves God when people die in their sins because the Bible says that He is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

As the father of a son serving in the U.S. military, I am very proud of all who guard our shores and protect our freedom. We continue to remember the victims of 9/11, their families, and all those who have shed their blood for the freedom of this land. How grateful I am for the freedom we have in Jesus Christ, who went to Mount Calvary and shed His blood for our sins and the sins of the world.

Recently I was a guest of Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, and he was questioning me about whether a person who has never heard of Jesus will go to Heaven. What I know is that Jesus Christ spoke very plainly when He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

O’Reilly also asked me about children of the Holocaust who died with no opportunity to be introduced to Christ. What will be their eternal destiny? To make a point, I replied that before we talked about children, we should make sure of our own destiny. I asked him, as well as the TV audience, “How about you?”

The Bible says, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus Christ came for sinners, not for the righteous. He shed His blood on the cross for the sins of mankind, died, and on the third day rose again. When we admit our sinfulness and turn in faith to Jesus Christ, we receive forgiveness and the gift of eternal salvation. That is the good news of the Gospel. God “wants all people to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1Timothy 2:4).

My question to Bill O’Reilly is my question to you. What about you? You must accept Christ.

About young children who have died, I’ve had many parents raise that concern with me over the years. I take comfort in God’s Word. The Bible tells how God brought His people out of Egypt, delivering them from slavery, and led them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. When they were ready to enter, the people refused out of fear to go forward, failed to trust God, and disobeyed. Because of their rebellion, God described them as an “evil generation” (Deuteronomy 1:35) and declared they would never see the Promised Land but instead die in the wilderness.

However, God said that “the little ones, … your children who do not yet know good from bad–they will enter the land. I will give it to them” (Deuteronomy 1:39). I believe children who die under the age of accountability are safe in God’s arms.

Our nation today is in trouble

We’ve seen years of lavish spending, greed, and borrowing money from the future, and we were warned it might affect our great-grandchildren–but the economic recklessness is already affecting us all today. We have fallen victim to Satan with loans we couldn’t sustain, credit cards we couldn’t pay, and purchases we couldn’t afford, all because we believed the same promise that Satan offered Adam and Eve: “Surely you will not die” (see Genesis 3:4). We thought we could live life as though there were no limits. This happened on an individual level, with our financial institutions, and among the politicians in Washington.

At the same time, we see moral decay spreading throughout the land. Our country is deteriorating rapidly, an ever-tightening spiral downward–financially, socially, and spiritually. America is decaying from within.

The real problem is that as a nation we have turned our backs on God, removing Him from schools, businesses, and government, and unfortunately many a family has taken God out of their home as well. If this country hopes to make it through the enormous crises we now face, if we want America to be a nation worth leaving to our grandchildren, we have to turn back to God.

Upcoming Outreach

At BGEA we are committed to taking the Gospel across our land and to the whole world. This summer from the Jersey Shore to Southern California and from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes, we are preaching “the true message of the gospel” (Colossians 1:5), calling people to repentance, forgiveness, and salvation through Jesus Christ.

In several weeks I will lead Festival de Esperanza in Los Angeles, our first ever all-Spanish Crusade in this country. Nearly 600 Spanish-speaking churches are joining with us in the preparations. Pray for an outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit this June 25–26 upon the Greater Los Angeles area as we invite men and women to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

As I write this, I am traveling in North Korea and China. Pray that a significant foundation for future ministry will be laid as a result of visits with key leaders in these two countries. While in China, I am preaching in two churches in Beijing.

My son Will has just returned to the United States after preaching at a Crusade in the Philippines. We praise the Lord that more than 21,000 people there made public decisions for Christ, receiving the “hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:2, NKJV). As we mail this letter, Will is preaching the Good News at a three-day, region-wide evangelistic event in New Jersey.

We are deeply grateful for your prayers and your financial help as we unapologetically proclaim the power of the Gospel in cities across the land of America as well as in countries worldwide.

May God bless you,
Franklin Graham

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  1. Brenda says:

    God is giving us the map, directions, roads to travel, I know a lot of his children read the largest MEDICAL BOOK (THE BIBLE), the LIVING word of God, continue to be blessed and let's pray for those who don't know God in the pardon of their sins.

  2. Doug C says:

    My own belief is that there is scripture to support children who pass away before the age of accountability are received in the Kingdom of Heaven: “When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these'.” NIV Mark 10:14

  3. Deborah says:

    Thank you Reverend Graham for this article. The same question was asked by an organization a while back which I responded to. My mind and heart said no, because we all are God's children. God loves all of His children. It is His desire for all to turn to Him through Jesus Christ before it is too late. When I first learned of bin Laden's death, there was no rejoicing in my heart just sadness. I absolutely feel my comment did not show disrespect for the many we lost on that horrific day of 9/11. This is not about me, you or anyone else. It is about the thoughts and ways of our Almighty God. The only way for His children to know His thoughts and ways is through His truth. Yet, He doesn't share all of His thoughts and ways, because He will only reveal everything about Him with those He chooses to enter into His heavenly Kingdom. When someone sincerely falls in love with Jesus Christ, they will love all whether wicked or not. But, God does not want His faithful to like nor participate with the thoughts and ways of the wicked. Thank you again for sharing this article. Even though I felt in my heart that it was wrong to celebrate bin Laden's death, there remained just a bit of doubt that I could have been wrong. God Bless You, Reverend Graham P.S. My comment appears like I am preaching, but I am not. Just sharing my God given heart.

  4. Habtom says:

    Praise be to our Lord Jesus.God bless you all. It is my usual prayer to see restoration in our Great nation America: Where people of God had established good systems on it.

  5. Glen says:

    I rejoice about the zeal for Christ in the Philippines. I will pray for upcoming festivals and for America. I read a verse in the Bible that said something like, “Even if a primitive people have not heard the gospel, they know in their heart that there is a God. God puts that in everyone's heart. Sorry I can't find the verse. I think it is in Ecclesiastes.