1 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, 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’? 3 “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. 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. (Ezekiel 18:1-4)
Israel used this proverb of sour grapes because they believed they were being punished unjustly due to the sins of their fathers. In effect, God answers, “No, you are being punished for your own sins”. Children do not inherit the sin of their fathers; not its guilt and not its punishment (see John 9:1-3). The doctrine of total hereditary depravity does not come from the Scriptures. It comes from the theological contortions of men. Every soul answers to God for itself, because all souls are His. Your life is a gift from God. Live your life as a blessing to God and to men. You will answer to the Lord and receive either eternal life or eternal death for what you have done (2 Cor. 5:10; Matt. 25:46). We all will.
Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?… For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord GOD. “Therefore turn and live!” (Ezekiel 18:23, 32)
One grossly misjudges and blasphemes God whenever one thinks He enjoys seeing men and women suffer. Quite the opposite. He sent His only begotten Son to suffer and die so we should not perish for our sins (Jno. 3:16). Others think God will not punish sinners because He loves us all. True, God loves us all, and has shown His love in sending His Son to die for us. But, His love does not overlook sin; His love is also just. “The soul who sins shall die”, not because God does not love the sinner, but because the sinner chooses to sin instead of obey God (Ezek. 18:4, 20). The wicked person “dies” because the wages of his or her sins is death (Rom. 6:23). God does not want you to die in your sins. Like ancient Israel in the days of Ezekiel, God wants you to “turn and live” (Ezek. 18:32). The decision is yours, as is the result of your choice (Ezek. 18:20).
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. (Ephesians 5:8-13)
Christians are “light in the Lord”. We do not live in the shadowy recesses of sin and shame. This passages calls us to the following actions: 1) Walk as children of light. Goodness, righteousness and truth are “acceptable to the Lord” and is the fruit our life must bear. 2) Have no fellowship with sin. To practice, teach, endorse or otherwise approve of sin and those who practice it puts one in fellowship with sin. 3) Reprove the works of darkness (sin). That is, expose sin for what it is; shameful before God and those who love God. Do not approve it. Do not be entertained by it. Do not compromise with it. Stand up against sin and call the lost to repentance. You were once in sin’s darkness, too. Now, you are a child of light. Live like it every day.
3 Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. 4 So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude. (Luke 22:3-6)
Judas made a choice to betray Jesus. The fact that Satan entered Judas does not at all suggest he lost his freewill in the matter. Satan set the enticement before him, and he gave into the temptation. It is the same with all temptation to sin: An enticement coupled with a person’s own desires (“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed”, James 1:14). The tempter can be resisted: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7). No one forces you to sin; the choice is yours. And, so is the accountability before God. The wages of sin is death. God gift is “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Choosing sin brings death. Choose faith in Jesus (Matt. 11:28-30; 7:21-23; Lk. 6:46).
16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. 18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 1:16-20)
Israel was in rebellion against God due to her own choices of sin. Yet, the Lord desires her purity and assures her that every evil stain could be cleansed. But, Israel would have to make different choices. Choices of faith and repentance. Only then would cleansing come from the Lord. God set before Israel the choices of willing obedience resulting in blessedness, or rebellious refusal and with it, punishment by the sword. Even so today, God is ready to forgive your sins and cleanse you of every stain. But like Israel, you must make a choice of faith to “put away the evils of your doings from before” the eyes of God. Trust and obey; and God will forgive. Rebel, and His just punishment is certain. What will you choose today?
1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2)
Let’s be honest. It is your own sin that has separated you from God, from those you love and from those who love you. Choices were made to disobey God’s truth and His way of righteousness. Unless you take responsibility for your sins you will not be able to repent. Do not blame God or those who love you when your sinful choices bring separation, hurt, loneliness and despair. It doesn’t have to be that way, you know. God is ready to hear you and save you. The isolation your sin has produced can be replaced with joyful acceptance by God and by all who love you in the Lord. Choosing sin only brings you pain and eternal death. Choose life. Choose to repent and be saved. Choose God.
6 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! (Matthew 18:6–7)
Our words and actions affect others. With a life of faith you can positively impact others (Matt. 5:14-16). But, also see in this verse that Jesus said it is possible for you to cause others to sin. Sin is never isolated; it has an evil, debilitating influence. Here, a Christian may set a snare before other believers and thereby helping them to sin. Christ delivers a divine denunciation (“woe”) on the disciple who leads a believer into sin. We expect unbelievers to set stumbling blocks before us. But, a Christian should never lay a snare before another believer. We must be careful to help one another be faithful to the Lord instead of helping each other sin against Him.
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
Sin is real, and we have all committed it (Rom. 3:23). The wages of sin is eternal death (Rom. 6:23). The problem is, we (sinners) cannot save ourselves from our sins. We need God’s mercy and grace. In His great love, God sent His Son to be the Savior of the whole world. There is no other power to save sinners except Jesus Christ. Though God desires all to be saved, sinners must put their faith in Jesus in order to be saved. Saving faith is submissive and obedient to the word of Jesus. Do you want to be saved from your sins? Jesus, and only Jesus, can save you. He wants to save you. His gospel reveals what He commands you of you to be saved (Mk. 16:15-16). The decision is yours. Believe and obey Jesus to be saved “by grace, through faith” (Eph. 2:8-9).
3 I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. 4 A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness. (Psalm 101:3–4)
We learn in Acts 1:16 that “the Holy Spirit spoke by the mouth of David” in the psalms he wrote and sang. David was inspired by God. How then, by the Spirit of God, could David speak of “those who fall away” if it is impossible to fall away? His statement is prima facie evidence that people can indeed fall away from God. To avoid this tragedy, David would be careful not to fix his eyes (his desires) upon anything that was wicked. He would abhor the sins by which others fell away. When David found sin in himself he would not let it cling to him. He would choose to completely reject sin. He would cleanse his heart, lest by becoming acquainted with sin he would love it instead of God. There were certainly times in his life when David fell into sin and away from God. But in his repentance the joy of salvation was restored. May it be so for all who have fallen. And may we keep from falling by abhorring evil and clinging to what is good.
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:13-14)
Sin is not forced upon us. None of us are compelled to sin. By yielding to temptation, we choose to sin against God. Being tempted to sin is not sin; all of us are tempted to sin. Thankfully, sin’s enticement can be resisted. God is faithful to provide a way of escape when we are tempted to sin. God’s way of escape from sin’s temptation will demand that you make a deliberate decision not to sin. Do not put yourself into situations that make it easy to sin. (You cannot play with fire and not get burned!) Resist temptation by running away from sin instead of running to it. God’s way is right, so put your faith in Him. His path of holiness and truth will always lead you away from sin.