[…] it doesn’t end with turning to Christ and asking for forgiveness. That’s where it starts, not where it ends. We have to ask Christ for His help to change our ways.
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another Friday End Times post.
In the previous post I wrote about our duty to evangelize, and warn people of the Second Coming of Christ. We want as many people to be saved on that day as possible, because that’s God’s Will too. God doesn’t want to condemn any of us to damnation, as we’ll see in today’s Scripture selection.
But last week I mentioned that although we have a duty to sound the warning, it’s not our fault if people don’t heed that warning. In today’s post, we’re going to hear straight from the LORD again about responsibility. In today’s post, we return to Scripture to learn about accountability for sins. Will we be judged for the sins of others who we’re responsible for (such as children)?
Read on and let’s find out.
Only the One who Sins Will Die
For today’s post, we’re going back to Ezekiel. Ezekiel 18, to be precise. In Ezekiel 18, the LORD God clarifies who He will consider wicked vs. who He will judge Righteous. This was to challenge some of the Jewish ideas of the time about sin and guilt.
In verse 4, the LORD makes it clear as day: Only the one who sins will die. Only the sinner will be judged wicked. They will die (damnation, suffer the second death) for their own sins. In verse 5, the LORD makes it clear who will be declared innocent. Those who act justly will be deemed Righteous.
(4) All lives are mine; the life of the parent and the life of the child belong to me. Only the one who sins will die.Ezekiel 18:4-5 (CEB)
(5) People are declared innocent when they act justly and responsibly.
In verses 6 to 9, the LORD expands on that. He gives some specific example of what it means to be Righteous: Give food to the hungry, and clothes to the naked. Don’t impose interest or take profit, things like that. But it all boils down to verse 9: Those who follow God’s laws and are faithful will be deemed Righteous and will live.
(7) They don’t cheat anyone, but fulfill their obligations. They don’t rob others, but give food to the hungry and clothes to the naked. (8) They don’t impose interest or take profit. They refrain from evil and settle cases between people fairly. (9) They follow my regulations, keep my case laws, and act faithfully. Such people are innocent, and they will live, proclaims the LORD God.Ezekiel 18:7-9 (CEB)
Next, in verses 10 to 13, the LORD brings up the example of a wicked child of Righteous people. Even though the parents are Righteous, their child oppresses the poor, practices idolatry, and more. The LORD says their wicked child should not live. The wicked child will die (Spiritual death, eternal damnation) and his blood will be on him. In other words, it will be his own fault.
(10) But suppose one of them has a violent child who sheds blood or does any one of these things, (11) even though his parents didn’t do any of them. He eats on the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, (12) oppresses the poor and needy, robs others and doesn’t fulfill his obligations, pays attention to the idols and does detestable things, (13) and takes interest and profit. Should he live? He should not. He engaged in all these detestable practices. He will surely die, and his blood will be on him.Ezekiel 18:10-13 (CEB)
Next, the LORD takes up another example. What if this wicked child of the Righteous … has a child who turns out Righteous? The child of the wicked man is so shocked by his father’s sins that he does the opposite. He obeys the LORD and follows his laws. He’s good to the poor. In verse 17 the LORD declares that this child will live (salvation, eternal life). The Righteous child of the wicked man will have salvation. His wicked father will die (damnation) because of his own sins (verse 18).
(14) But suppose he has a child who sees all the sins that his father committed. He becomes alarmed and doesn’t do them. […] (17) He refrains from oppressing the poor by taking neither interest nor profit. He observes my case laws and follows my regulations. He won’t die because of his father’s guilt. He will surely live. (18) As for his father: If he exploited the weak or committed robbery, or did anything else that wasn’t good for the people, he will die because of his own guilt.Ezekiel 18:14; 17-18 (CEB)
In verses 19 and 20, the LORD explains that people are only held responsible for their own sins. The LORD rejects any idea that children are damned for their parent’s sins, or parents damned for their children’s sins. We suffer damnation through our own actions. We are not held responsible for anybody’s sins but our own. But those who love the LORD (which means obeying His commandments) will be declared Innocent.
(19) You will say, “Why doesn’t the child bear his parent’s guilt?” The child has acted justly and responsibly. The child kept all my regulations and observed them. The child will surely live. (20) Only the one who sins will die. A child won’t bear a parent’s guilt, and a parent won’t bear a child’s guilt. Those who do right will be declared innocent, and the wicked will be declared guilty.Ezekiel 18:19-20 (CEB)
After setting that straight, the LORD turns to what I see as the most important matter of Ezekiel 18.
If the wicked turn away from their sins, and obey God’s laws, they will live and not die. The LORD does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked! If they change their ways, they will live!
Remember this, everybody! The LORD doesn’t want to destroy any of us with eternal damnation! But He will, if we don’t change our ways. We can live if we turn away from our sins and obey God’s laws! The LORD ends Ezekiel 18 by telling us to do just that: The LORD God says, “Change your ways, and live!”
(21) But if the wicked turn away from all the sins that they have committed, keep all my regulations, and act justly and responsibly, they will surely live and not die. (22) None of the sins that they committed will be held against them, but they will live because they do the right things. (23) Do I take pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the LORD God. Certainly not! If they change their ways, they will live.Ezekiel 18:21-23; 32 (CEB)
(32) I most certainly don’t want anyone to die! This is what the LORD God says. Change your ways, and live!
It’s on Us to Change
In the Previous End Times post I wrote about our duty to warn others of their sins. Our duty to evangelize, and to warn people to accept Christ now before it’s too late. Now that we’ve seen in Ezekiel 18 that we will only be held accountable for our own sins, not theirs, let’s turn our attention to ourselves today. Because we are 100% accountable for ourselves and our own sins.
We won’t lose our salvation and suffer damnation for anyone’s sins but our own. If our siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, or whoever else lives a life of sin in rebellion to God, that’s on them. They will be punished for their own sins, and their judgment is on them.
The LORD even says in Ezekiel 18:20 that a parent won’t be punished for their child’s wickedness, or vice-versa. I had wondered about that point, due to the old, unBiblical Catholic ideas I grew up with. If we see children and young adults committing grave sins, we often blame their parents for that. We often think it’s a failure of parenting. But then again, it might not be. And in any case the LORD says the child’s own punishment is on him, for his own sins.
So let’s all relax a little, knowing that our salvation does not depend on any other person in this world—no matter who it is—turning to the LORD and away from sin. It’s a personal decision to turn to the LORD, and everyone has to make that choice for themselves. It’s not a genuine choice if it’s forced, coerced, manipulated, or whatever else. And a person’s sin of denying the LORD Jesus Christ is on them—along with the consequences. Same with the consequences of their sins they won’t put down.
This is much like what I wrote in the previous post. I explained, with Scripture, how we aren’t responsible when people reject the message of our evangelism. We need to warn people of the Spiritual danger they’re in—but it’s on them to come to safety.
Which means … it’s on us to change our own ways, and turn away from our own sins.
The LORD is calling this whole world to repent, and turn back to Him. He wants us all to change our ways and live, like He said in Ezekiel 18:32! He doesn’t want to destroy any of us, and He doesn’t enjoy it (Ezekiel 18:23). He wants us to obey Him and be saved!
For those hearing the call to repentance in these End Times, it doesn’t end with turning to Christ and asking for forgiveness. That’s where it starts, not where it ends. We have to ask Christ for His help to change our ways. We have to pray to Him that He will move the Holy Spirit inside us, and heal our hearts of wrath, lust, greed, envy, and so on. We have to pray to Him to help us follow God’s commandments.
Remember that if we ask Him for Help, He will help us. Praise the LORD!
We must pray to Him to heal our hearts, so we become more like Him and more ready to fight our sins. Because we can’t overcome our sins by our own power. We need Jesus’ help to have any hope of defeating temptation and sin. Our flesh is too strong, and the pleasures of this world are too tempting. We’re going to be opposed every step of the way in our battle to change our own ways.
When we commit sin or do things that are harmful to us (drinking, smoking, etc.), the devil doesn’t give us any trouble. He wants us to do those things. He wants us to defile our bodies, created in God’s image, and hurt ourselves. But when we try to turn away from Satan, and turn to the LORD? Then the devil will give us a hell of a fight. That’s when he’ll torment us with temptations, placing them in our path. That’s why we need Jesus’ help, if we seek to overcome sin and follow God’s laws.
Trying to change our ways and give up our sins is one of the hardest things we can ever do in this life. No one fights harder than the person who fights themselves. Battling our own sin is a battle that will last our whole lifetime, and it’s a battle that takes place in the mind first. This is because sinful thoughts lead to sinful actions. Every sinful action first starts out as a thought. We have to think about sinning before we can do it. Fighting this mind battle is horrendously difficult, because we can’t control what thoughts arise, and the devil constantly bombards us with sinful thoughts.
We need to remember that we fight an enemy who knows us intimately. He knows exactly how to tempt us, and when we’re at our weakest. The devil is always after us, and will fight us tooth and nail when we turn away from him and turn to the LORD.
But we do need to fight this bitter struggle. Like I said, turning to Christ for forgiveness isn’t where it ends for us. That’s where it starts for us. We need to turn to Him, and work with Him as we cleanse ourselves. As we learn to discipline our sinful mind. We need to do this because if Christ is calling us to repentance in these End Times, He has a purpose for us. He wants to use us, for ministry. He wants to use us to spread the good news. He wants to use us to lead others to Him. But He has to make us suitable first. That means we need to change our ways, through His renewing power.
We have to turn away from our own sins. It’s our own responsibility. Like the LORD says in Ezekiel 18, we won’t be punished for anyone else’s sins. So we need to address our own sins as the End draws closer. Yes it’s true that we’re saved by Faith and Grace and not by works. But that’s irrelevant, because …
If we know we can turn away from our sins, and we don’t, then we’re still sinning. And fighting our sins is our own responsibility, no one else’s. We won’t be punished for anyone’s sins but our own. So we better attend to our own.
That’s what it boils down to. As we fulfill our duty to warn others of Christ’s return, we aren’t held responsible if they reject our message. In the same way, we aren’t held responsible for their sins. We’re only responsible for our own sins. So let’s look inward, and make sure we’re doing the hard work of fighting our own sins we need to be doing.
It’s all on us—the duty and the consequences.
We Must Fight this Battle
Readers, everything I’m telling you in today’s post I’m telling to myself too. I’ve been having a terrible struggle with sin lately. Everything seems like “two steps forward, two steps back” for me. Though I had a great week in my battle last week, this week I’ve been failing nonstop. (On that note, I appreciate any prayers sent my way to help me in my fight!)
The battle against ourselves, the battle to overcome our sins, is never easy and it’s never quick. It’s one of the hardest things we’ll ever do in life. And although our victory is assured because we fight with Christ’s power, not our own, it’s still a bitter struggle because Jesus will not push the magical “You Win” button for us. He won’t use His power to instantly remove all our temptations and sin from our lives and our mind.
He needs us to fight this battle for our own good. He needs us to learn how to fight demons (spiritual warfare). He needs us to do the hard work of cleaning up our minds. He needs us to learn to rely on Him and His aid, and nothing else. He needs us to learn how to follow His guidance. And He needs us to mature and grow through the pain of our hard struggle. He needs us to do this so we can become better, and He needs us to become better so He can use us for His purposes. That is most likely End Times ministry and evangelism. He needs to get us ready for that.
This will never be easy, and temptation will tempt us our whole life. But we need to fight this fight, with Jesus. It’s a crucial part of our Christian walk. If we avoid it we harm our own Spiritual growth. And there’s one more thing…
Remember Ezekiel 18. At the end of the day, we’re responsible for following God’s laws. We’re responsible for turning away from our wicked ways. We’re responsible for ourselves. So we better act like it, and fight our sins today while we still have time.
Well that’s all for this week. If you enjoyed today’s post, be sure to Subscribe using the link below. And please consider Supporting My Blog using the Tip Jar. Any amount is much appreciated!
Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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