- Eze. 15:1-18:32
Eze. 18 is one of the most important passages in the Bible. During Ezekiel's day the Israelites were fond of saying, "The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." GOD rebuked them for using this proverb because what they were saying was, "Hey, we're in this situation today because our forefathers made all these bad decisions. It's not our fault, but we're the ones who are suffering for it!" In other words, the Israelites of Ezekiel's day weren't accepting responsibility for their situation.
Through Ezekiel, GOD says:
5 “Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right. 6 He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife...7 He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked. 8 He does not lend to them at interest or take a profit from them. He withholds his hand from doing wrong and judges fairly between two parties. 9 He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign LORD.
10 “Suppose he has a violent son, who sheds blood or does any of these other things 11 (though the father has done none of them): “He eats at the mountain shrines. He defiles his neighbor’s wife. 12 He oppresses the poor and needy. He commits robbery. He does not return what he took in pledge. He looks to the idols. He does detestable things. 13 He lends at interest and takes a profit. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he is to be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.
14 “But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things: 15 “He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife. 16 He does not oppress anyone or require a pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked. 17 He withholds his hand from mistreating the poor and takes no interest or profit from them. He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. 18 But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people.
19 “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. 22 None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. 23 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?
24 “But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die.
25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 26 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die. 27 But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. 28 Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die. 29 Yet the Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?
30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
(Eze. 18:5-32 NIV)
GOD makes it clear that each person is responsible for their own actions, and we will each be judged based on how we live. Therefore we need to think seriously about the fact that GOD is watching us always, and that He would have us live righteously before Him.