The Fairness of God’s Judgment

Righteousness is right standing, specifically before God. Among the Greeks, righteousness was an ethical virtue. Among the Hebrews it was a legal concept; the righteous man was the one who got the verdict of acceptability when tried at the bar of God’s justice. Christ’s dea … More

Righteousness

This passage emphasizes what is gained in life through turning to righteousness from wickedness. Ezekiel’s primary reference is to life after this present life. Now they seem to feel heavy guilt for rebelling against God for so many years. Therefore, God assured them of forgiveness if they repented (vv. 10-12). He wants everyone to turn to Him. He looks at what we are and not what we have been.

Good works will not save a person, who may decide to turn to a life of sin, Some people think they have done enough good deeds to more than cover the sins they don’t want to give up. But it’s useless to try to be good in some areas and yet be deliberately bad in others (v. 13). God requires wholehearted love and obedience. While good works will not save us, our salvation should lead to righteous actions (Eph. 2:10; James 2:14-17). This includes restitution for past sins. God expects us to make restitution whenever necessary, for the wrongs we have committed (v. 15). Ezekiel’s message is to the whole house of Israel, but its application was to be made on an individual basis. (vv. 12-16). The righteousness of the one turning to wickedness very likely has reference to the superficial righteousness of an unregenerate person.

If we turn from righteousness and do evil, we will die in our evil ways. We must not trust in our own righteousness. We all sin and we need Christ. The question is, do you trust in righteousness or in Christ? The warnings found here are warnings of hope. They show the way to life. They reveal the mercy of God. “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (v. 11).

Application

I am so thankful for the truth of God’s Word, that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, I have been justified by faith.

Ezekiel 33:10-20 (English Standard Version)

"And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: 'Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?' 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? "And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins. Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, though I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live. "Yet your people say, 'The way of the Lord is not just,' when it is their own way that is not just. When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways."

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