“Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
This chapter in Ezekiel is powerful because it has one point – one message: the soul that sins will die. A son will not die for his father’s sins or vice versa. Each person will be judged according to what they do.
There is grace expressed in this chapter as well.
“But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
There is hope of forgiveness for the soul that has sinned – that those sins will not be remembered. (Ya-hoo!) This can happen only where there is repentance. There must be a turning away from sin, then there is life!
This is God’s will, that every soul would turn to Him in repentance, giving up sinful ways and humbly follow the Savior – the One who saves us from the evil things we have done. God wants no one to perish! “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God does not take pleasure in the death of anyone. So… “Repent and Live!”
I heard this summer that Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary to China, would greet people this way: “Have you repented today?” He knew the need in his own life to each day turn from temptation and sin and turn to Jesus. Repentance is an everyday deal! It’s the answer to our current reality. We need to turn our eyes and hearts away from evil and to the Lord – everyday. Repentance is not just a thing I did years ago in conjunction with my baptism (Acts 2:38), it’s what I did yesterday, am doing right now and will need to do tomorrow.
Holy Father, you are holy! I praise You for the grace I’ve found in Jesus and I turn from things that are not of You. I choose to ‘Repent and Live!’ Thank You for this grace to walk with You today…
The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel:
and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son—both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die.
Ezekiel 18 is a fantastic chapter. It is clear and offers hope. The proverb in verse 2 that will no longer be quoted is about the judgment of sin that is passed on to the next generation. A man eats sour grapes and his children’s teeth are set on edge. There may be consequences for the next generation because of this generation’s sin, but there will not be judgment. God says that the individual soul who sins is the one who will die.
Children are not responsible for their parents and parents are not responsible for their adult children. Each person stands (or falls) before God. What’s hopeful is that the one who has been sinning can turn away from that sin and live! Those who have been righteous need to continue to live righteously. People cannot rest on past goodness – there must be an enduring… a continuation in living according to God’s Word. “If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die.” (Ezekiel 18:26)
So God makes clear that He will judge each person individually according to their ways. “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.” (vs. 30-31)
Holy God – Your ways are just and Your Word is true! Thank You for the gift of repentance. You allow sinful people like me to turn to You, give up our sin and be healed by Your grace. In You there is life! I live for You this day.