INTERESTING FACTS : Thomas Stone, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; SELECTED AS A DELEGATE TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
"Shun all giddy, loose, and wicked company; they will corrupt and lead you into vice and bring you to ruin. Seek the company of sober, virtuous and good people... which will lead [you] to solid happiness."
Daily Reading : EZEKIEL 18 - 20
TEXT : Eze 18:1 The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, Eze 18:2 What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? Eze 18:3 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Eze 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
THEME : PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
We live in a world of blame. Many seem to think if other people acted the way they should [or at least the way they think they should] - life would be fine. Therefore, many are convinced their problem is a result of someone else's activity, words, or deeds. The Bible denies this claim.
Here in Ezekiel chapter 18, there are some encouraging statements. In particular, the LORD says if the wicked turn again from his wickedness, He will forget his sin and wrongdoing and consider the man or woman righteous. However, if a righteous man or woman turns from his or her righteousness, the LORD states He will not remember their righteous life in the past. In other words, for all people - whatever is past has passed. Whatever is done, and cannot be undone. Yet, past righteous does not negate present unrighteousness. In short, the good news is the wicked can change and become righteous. The bad news - if the righteous turn away from righteousness it is not remembered. What you are doing now is what counts.
The Jews complain about this telling the LORD - His way is not equal [not fair]. That is, why should past righteousness be discounted, and the wicked be justified if they stop sinning and change? Jesus explained this truth in a parable.
Mat 21:28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. Mat 21:29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. Mat 21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Mat 21:31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. Mat 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
Here, Jesus retells the truth of Ezekiel 18 in Matthew 21. Namely, when people change - for better or worse, their present condition is what counts. What you are now is what you are. The past is the past. Thus, sinful people can become righteous, and righteous people can become unrighteous. It is all dependent on what you decide today.
There is further encouragement in Ezekiel 18 when the LORD states He does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. When Jonah went to Nineveh - an exceeding corrupt people and foreigners to Israel, he tried to ignore God's call to the ministry because He knew the LORD was merciful and would forgive the Assyrians if they repented which, they did. Jonah was angry with the LORD because they turned to righteousness [an odd attitude for a prophet]. Yet, the Assyrian had done terrible things to the Jews. Therefore, Jonah preferred to see them judged then forgiven. Happily, for you, God takes no pleasure in sending anyone to Hell.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: "EVERYONE MUST CHOSE FOR themselves WHAT THEIR LIFE WILL BECOME"
The nature of Man is to blame. That is, one person tries to hold another person or persons responsible for their decisions, attitudes, and deeds. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, and the serpent said nothing. This is the nature of Man. Men and women will look for a scapegoat - a person or experience in life where they can shift the guilt or responsibility.
Yet, God, the righteous Judge holds Man accountable for his own actions. God could not be righteous Himself, if at the end of time, people had legitimate reasons - outside themselves, that caused them to act unrighteously. If people were not responsible for their own actions, God Himself would be unrighteous. Regarding that sentiment, as the Apostle Paul said - "I speak as a fool." How can God be unrighteous? He cannot, for He is immutable [unchanging] and His nature is holy, holy, holy.
With respect to personal responsibility, the depth of this reality extends to the smallest word that comes from your mouth. Jesus said -
Mat 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. Mat 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Mat 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. Mat 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. Mat 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
The tree is either good or bad. There is no in between, as we read in Ezekiel chapter 18. Heed the Word of God. For in the end, there will be no one to blame for your life and what became of it except you.
Thankfully, you have Christ to help and His Spirit to teach and to guide. You are not alone, nor has God left you alone. Further, there will never be a time when God has abandoned you. All that is required of you is to yield to His leading and guidance.
Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Rom 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Rom 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.