"There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God."
Jonathan Edwards, July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut
"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
Our Holy God, the righteous and just Creator, pleaded with a people who had turned their back on Him. When Israel moved into the Promised Land, God told them not to marry into the nations around them because those nations would turn their hearts from God. Like a husband, God wanted to keep Israel, His bride, pure and separated unto Him only. But Israel flirted with the other nations. She incorporated the religions of those nations into her worship of God, and soon, like an adulterous woman, turned from God, her husband. Indeed, Israel was wicked.
God told His prophet Ezekiel that He took no pleasure in the death of the wicked. What did He want Israel to do? Turn their hearts to Him. What does that entail? The heart refers to the innermost person, the seat of a person's affections and desires. It includes a person's will, thoughts, aspirations.
To turn your heart to God means your affections are for Him. You desire Him. You submit your will, your thoughts, your philosophies, your aspirations to Him. Not Allah. Not Mohammed. Not Buddha. Not spirits. Not the Devil. Not science. Not creation. Not philosophers or religious leaders, nor any man. You surrender your will, your desires, you affections, your thoughts and ideologies to God and God alone.
God is our Creator. Because He is our Creator, He has a right to ownership over us, but we sold ourselves into the bondage of sin. That lie you told--that is a work of sin, a work contrary to God's will. And sin pays you the wages of death. God, you see, takes no pleasure in seeing His creation (you) receiving the wages of sin, death and eternity in hell.
We sold ourselves into the bondage of sin, but God bought us back when He surrendered Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son, to die on the cross. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again, conquering death. His shed blood paid the price so that we would not need to shed our own blood, or the blood of animals, for our sins.
How much pleasure does it bring God to keep us out of hell? So great a pleasure that He willingly paid the highest price possible to attain it. He sacrificed Himself. What a phenomenal act.
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."