11 Say to them, ‘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, people of Israel?’ See also: NLV Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I am not pleased when sinful people die. But I am pleased when the sinful turn from their way and live. Turn! Turn from your sinful ways! Why will you die, O people of Israel?’
ESV - 11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
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I view this verse as being the Old Testament counterpart to the thought expressed in 2 Peter 3:9. God is a God of justice and holiness, but He is also a God of love and mercy. He would have been perfectly justified in condemning every member of universally-sinful humanity to eternal separation from Him. Instead, He applied that penalty for sin to His own Son, whose atoning death and subsequent resurrection made eternal life in His presence possible for humans through faith in Him. However, God will not force that salvation on anyone, or override human free will to save them. Each individual must appropriate salvation for himself or herself through faith in Christ. It is the willful human refusal to do so (because of the influence of sin, and despite the working of the Holy Spirit) that causes the poignant reaction from God expressed in the verse cited in the question above. He would prefer (as Peter said) that everyone (no matter how sinful or wicked they may be in their unsaved state) should come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved. The fact that many humans reject that opportunity is not God's fault, but theirs. God has done everything (short of overriding their free will) to save them.
God can't let sin go. If He did, sin would finally destroy all people and all creation. So for the person who perseveres in his sin, judgment is inevitable. But the opposite is equally true: the penitent one who truly repents of his sinful lifestyle, that is, forsakes it, he can escape judgment (Hebrews 2:3).
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