Monday, September 25, 2017

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 We are Responsible for Our Sins



KEY TEXT: Ezekiel 18:1-4 The word of the Lord came to me: "What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'?  As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 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.

KEY THOT: In Ezekiel's time, there was a proverb that went around that says, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge". We are familiar with the effect of eating anything sour as it makes us bite our teeth together in reaction to the sour taste. This proverb implies that God is unfair: the children suffer the consequences of their fathers' sins. While there is some truth in this proverb, it was not the whole truth. The children suffered the consequences of their fathers' sins (conquest by Babylonians and exile) because they themselves had also participated in the sins of their fathers. It's just that God's patience has run out in Ezekiel's generation. But had they listened to the prophets God sent to them (especially Jeremiah) and repented, the national disasters would have been averted:

  • Ezekiel 18:29-32 "Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live." 
It's a fact that the fathers' sins are often passed on to their next generations: "So these nations feared the Lord and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children's children—as their fathers did, so they do to this day" (2 Kings 17:41). Nevertheless, each generation is responsible for the consequences of their own sins, even though their fathers may have passed on the transgressions to them. As the saying goes, "Like father, like son"; it is a common observation that children tend to imitate the habits and behaviour of their parents and so participate in their sins and also suffer the same consequences of their fathers' sins.

In the case of Israel, the reason why their fathers did not suffer the consequences of their own sins is because of God's patience and mercy towards them. But Ezekiel's generation suffered the consequences of God's wrath, not because of their fathers' sins but their own participation in the same sins as their fathers. If they have repented, they would not have suffered the effects, for they bear responsibility too for the national disasters that came upon them: "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" (v.4).

We can break the curses of our fathers' sins through repentance, especially for believers. Christ has broken the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13). But if we do not repent but continue to participate in the sins of our fathers, the same curse would come upon us too, despite being believers. Repentance breaks the curse of the sins of our forefathers. We are not free from the consequences if we continue to walk in the fathers' sins (e.g. spiritualism, lying, gambling, adulterous affairs, etc). We can break the power of the curse through the Cross by living a life of righteousness, not sin.

Abba-Father, You are not unfair in Your judgment, for the soul who sins shall die. We do not die for our fathers' sins, but our own. Thank You for the Cross which has broken the curse of the father's sins so that they may live in freedom and righteousness. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave your comments.