33:9 warn the wicked. Ezekiel, called as a watchman to warn Israel, was responsible to do his duty; otherwise he would be responsible for their deaths of the people, and would be punished accordingly. In parallel manner, the Christian disciple is called to bear witness to the saving gospel of Christ. If he fails in this, and those to whom he could have witnessed, are lost, then he must be judged—not for salvation, but for rewards. “He himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (I Corinthians 3:15).
33:9 die in his iniquity. The ungodly man who fails to hear the gospel is headed for hell—not because he did not hear and so does not know how to be saved, but because of his rejection of the witness of God in nature and conscience (Romans 1:20; 2:15). His ungodly behavior is evidence enough that he has refused whatever light was available, and he is “without excuse.” He cannot blame disobedient watchmen for not warning him.