Verse 1 – The word of the Lord came to me again, saying,
Verse 2 – “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
Verse 3 – “As I live,” says the Lord God, “You shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.
God demanded that this proverb not be said anymore because the people who said it regarded themselves as innocent. They placed the blame of their sin on their fathers.
Verse 4 – “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die.
Yes, every soul belongs to God the Creator, however, not everyone is a child of God. Here are those that are called children of God: John 1:12, 13 – But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; (verse 13) who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. This is for Jews and Gentiles, that believe on Jesus name. The moment they believe, they become sons and daughters and because they become sons and daughters, God places His Spirit into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father. These are the children of God.
Verse 5 – But if a man is just and does what is lawful and right;
Verse 6 – If he has not eaten on the mountains, nor lifted up his eyes to the idols, of the house of Israel, nor defiled his neighbors’ wife, nor approached a woman during her impurity (Leviticus 18:20; 20:10, 18);
Verse 7 – If he has not oppressed anyone, but has restored to the debtor his pledge; has robbed no one by violence, but has given his bread to the hungry and covered the naked with clothing;
Verse 8 – If he has not exalted usury nor taken any increase, but has withdrawn his hand from iniquity and executed true judgment between man and man;
The Israelites weren’t allowed to charge interest on a loan to other Israelites. and they were to be totally honest in all business dealings, as should we.
Verse 9 – If he has walked in My statutes and kept My judgments faithfully – he is just; he shall surely live!” Says the Lord God.
Just because a person was called righteous in the Old Testament does not mean they were sinless or that they kept the law in every detail. They made atonement for their sins through the sacrifices, but still had a loving fellowship with God. This expression of Ezekiel does not advocate “works righteousness.” Salvation has always been by faith. However, faith without works, is dead (James 2:17).
Verse 10 – “If he begets a son who is a robber or a shedder of blood, who does any of these things
Verse 11 – and does none of those duties, but has eaten on the mountains or defiled his neighbor’s wife;
Verse 12 – If he has oppressed the poor and needy robed by violence, not restored the pledge, lifted his eyes to idols, or committed abomination;
Verse 13 – If he has exacted usury or taken increase – shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.
He shall suffer for his own crimes. Do you see how serious it is to cheat someone, neglect the poor and needy, and worship false gods? Grace is not an excuse to sin. God called these acts abominations, shouldn’t we?
Verse 14 – “If, however, he begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, and considers but does not do likewise;
Verse 15 – Who has not eaten on the mountains, nor lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, nor defiled his neighbor’s wife;
Verse 16 – Has not oppressed anyone, nor withheld a pledge, nor robbed by violence, but has given his bread to the hungry and covered the naked with clothing;
Verse 17 – Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor and not received usury or increase, but has exalted My judgments and walked in My statutes – he shall not die for the iniquity of his father; he shall surely live!
There is also a flip-side to this verse; neither are you righteous because your parents are.
Verse 18 – “As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother by violence, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.
Verse 19 – “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept My statutes and done them, he shall surely live.
Verse 20 – “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
Verse 21 – “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
Verse 22 – “None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.
There is no reason a person should have to live under guilt for their past rebellion against God after they have repented. When a person is truly repentant and receives Christ’s forgiveness, Christ gives us His righteousness and now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1).
Verse 23 – “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked have done?” says the Lord God,” and not that he should turn from his ways and live?
God takes no pleasure in those who die without Him. He would rather have all to come to Him and live throughout eternity surrounded by His magnificent love!
Verse 24 – “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.
You might be thinking, “Well, this is the Old Testament,” but look at what 2 Peter 2:20 says, For if, after they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. This is a waning for those who knowingly and willingly turn away from God and go back to their old way of living. That life-style will be harder to get out of the second time around!
Verse 25 – “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your way which is not fair?
Too many people spend too much time looking for excuses and loop-holes to get out of God’s standards.
Verse 26 – “When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.
Verse 27 – Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.
Verse 28 – “Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Verse 29 – “Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.” O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?
Verse 30 – “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.
True repentance will change your heart, mind, and attitude towards the things of God! You will have a total transformation in how you think and that behavior will soon follow where the spirit leads.
Verse 31 – “Cast away from you all the transgression which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?
Verse 32 – “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God.” Therefore turn and live!”
The Holy Spirit does the work in each person who makes the decision to change direction from sin and rebellion and turn to God. You begin by faith in Jesus Christ, trusting in His abundant love and power to change us. Then determine to live each day with Him in control of our lives!