I have been reading Ezekiel, a magnificent book, and this Scripture struck me as profoundly significant for Christians living in America. Much of this passage speaks on its own, which is great, but I just want to talk about it.
“4Behold, 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.
5“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— 6if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, 7 does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 8 does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, 9 walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous;he shall surely live, declares the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 18.4-9
The first thing to notice is God’s sovereignty over every person. God does not get much more intimate than what is written in verse 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.” Think about this a moment. ALL souls are God’s. You think you are your own, often I think my decisions are my own, but here God says, nope. This has strong implications. If all souls are God’s, how dare we assume we do not need church, that we do not need to read the Bible, that we do not need to fellowship with other Christians. If my soul is God’s, He decides where my soul goes after I die. This may be a scare tactic, and I hope it is effective. What happens when you disobey God? Well He tells us, “the soul who sins shall die.”
Admit it, you’re a sinner. Don’t worry, I am too. The beauty is, Christ died to cover your sin. A regenerate person, one who accepts Christ, has the ability to love God. Sure, you and I will still die, but our eternal destination is radically different than someone who does not believe in the saving work of Christ.
” 25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 26 When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. 27Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. 28Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29Yet 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? 30“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.” Ezekiel 18.25-30
Pretty self-explanatory. Though I need to comment on one thing. Can your deeds save you? The answer is no. So then, how does one become righteous? By being covered in the shed blood of Christ. When we are baptized, we are baptized into death with Christ and raised to new life in him, Romans 6.3-5. In this sense we can see that faith works. If you have faith in Christ, your deeds must become righteous. Being born again by the Spirit enables believers to live for God, that is, making choices that show those around you your soul belongs to God.
1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk innewness of life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6.1-14