Focal Passages: Ezekiel 18:21-24, 30-32
God commanded the Israelites through the prophet Ezekiel to forsake their sin and wickedness and to pursue righteousness. One of my favorite Hebrew words, pronounced shoob, is found in Ezekiel 18:30, 32. In English, this word is translated “repent” or “turn back.” I love the word picture that comes to mind when a person does a 180-degree turn. We recognize from this chapter that there are two directions a person can walk in – the path toward wickedness and death or the reverse, the path toward righteousness and life. God does not take pleasure in the death of anyone (Ex. 18:32).
Yet God is just. He warns us through His Word that all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). There is no one righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10). Apart from Christ, we are all walking the path of wickedness and death, fully deserving the wrath of God.
It is important to note from Ezekiel 18, that we are each responsible for our own sin. I am not penalized for the sin of my parents or my husband. I am found guilty before God because of the sin that I personally have committed. The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” This is justice.
In our passage, God said that the righteous will surely live.
As sinners, it is impossible for us to perfectly fulfill the law, so those that are not in Christ are judged for their sin and unbelief. But those who place their faith in Christ are found righteous. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that God made Him who had no sin become sin on our behalf, so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God.
We have a choice, as implied by the “So” in verse 32. Turn, repent of your sin and live.
Tell others of the righteousness that is only found in Christ, lest they perish. Proclaim the good news – justice has been served on the cross. “It is finished!” (John 19:30)