“And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ 11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
“And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins.
These verses help solidify my belief that the Bible is a manual for the individual. In my previous post, Stand On Its Own, I wrote about these verses, but today I wanted to write some more as I feel strongly about the individual. Verses like these speak of the individual and how the individual is responsible for their actions. Although each day circumstances beyond our control are thrown at us, how we respond to those circumstances is what we can control. Our response is what makes us who we are.
In verse 10, Ezekiel records the response of the Jews to their situation, which is a response we all have at some point in our life. The Jews are questioning why are they being punished so harshly. They are saying; Why is God doing this to us, we have sinned but do we deserve to rot away with no way out?
The answer to their question is in verse 11. God is telling them; I do not punish you, I am not seeking revenge upon you to please myself. You brought this upon yourself, you are suffering the consequences of your actions. But through righteousness, you can turn this around. Through the balance of the universe you do not have to slide down to death. For just as your actions have pulled you down, they can lift you up.
Again we are being told that we are responsible for ourselves and our situations. This is pointed out in verse 12, it speaks of both self responsibility and balance. Ezekiel writes how each action, each response stands on it’s own. A lifetime of righteousness does not excuse the transgression, and the wicked can do righteous acts if they choose. There is no get out of jail free card. The consequences of one action does not suppress or eliminate the consequences of another.
Righteousness is righteousness, and sin is sin. There is no blurred line between the two. One act does not cancel out the other. No one is keeping score. You can’t coast on your past to excuse the present. Each act stands on its own just as each person stands on their own.
We sin and suffer the consequences of that sin, consequences we have brought upon ourselves. But this does not negate our ability to be righteous, and being righteous does not negate our ability to sin.
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