Turn and Live

One of the few mayors in the world to have his home number listed in the local telephone directory was Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem. Kollek decided to keep his phone number listed when he was first elected, and he has not regretted it. “It gives people a feeling of last r … More

Accountability

 

In this passage the principle of individual accountability is reiterated and confirmed (vv.19-20). The principle that a son should not suffer for the sins of his father has been well established (II Kings 14:6; Deut 24:16). Perhaps a question had been raised from Exodus 20:5, referring to children of the third and fourth generation suffering for the sins of their fathers. It is true that children tend to inherit and follow the example of their fathers. But in such a case, the sin would be their own; and they would be suffering for their own sin.

It is impossible for a wicked man to turn from all his transgressions without regeneration (vv. 21-23). These next few verses have been used to teach that one can fall from grace (vv. 24-29). Such could not be the meaning. Rather, one who has merely an outward righteousness frequently departs into a life of wickedness because he has no inner Holy Spirit to guide him. His temporal life may be cut short; but eternal life, which he never had, cannot be lost.

Ezekiel’s solution to the problem of inherited guilt is for each person to have a changed life (vv. 30-32). The Lord’s burden for His people is that they have life, not death. But life will not be forced upon anyone who wishes to remain in his sin. The individual must personally respond and repent to have life. This is God’s work in us and not something we can do for ourselves (Psalm 51:10-12).

Application

 

I should never rejoice in the misfortunes of nonbelievers. Instead, I should do all I can, through the power of the Holy Spirit to bring them to faith in Christ.

Ezekiel 18:19-32 (English Standard Version)


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