No Bank Account For Good Deeds

No Bank Account For Good Deeds

Ezekiel 33:17-20

“Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”

These verses speak to me on a couple of levels.

First, the idea of justice.

Ezekiel talks about the Israelites complaining that God’s justice, or the balance of the universe, doesn’t fit their idea of justice.  I’ve written before about this and the fact that my idea of justice and someone else’s idea of justice are probably two different things.  And so the Israelites say in verse 17, what most of us say today when something happens to us, or others, that we don’t understand.  We say, “There is no justice” and then question God and even God’s existence.  We do this on the basis of things not going the way we thought they should go.  We look to blame something outside of us for what happened.

God answers these petty accusations very effectively:

…when it is their own way that is not just.

Ezekiel and God are talking about personal responsibility, and each of us owning up to and realizing that we are responsible for our actions.  We must face up to the fact that we are responsible for the consequences of our actions.  The perceived injustice of the world, is the injustice we have created and served upon ourselves.

God does not inflict grief upon man.  Man inflicts grief upon man.

In verses 18 and 19, Ezekiel speaks of God’s balance. When the righteous do evil they suffer their grief.  There are no mulligans, or a reserved bank account of good deeds to excuse the evil act and eliminate the consequences.  And vice versa.

Second, each act stands on its own.

This is the third time I have written about this.  This truth is conveyed a number of times in the writings of Ezekiel.

Each act, each decision has its own consequence based on the act.  Every act and decision stands on its own.  If a plane makes 1000 trips without incident, that will not eliminate a catastrophe if the pilot makes a bad decision.  The 1000 safe and non-eventful flights do not somehow make the laws of physics and aerodynamics over look this lapse in judgement.  The consequences of a bad decision will be experienced.

Every action stands on its own.  That is what God and Ezekiel are telling us in verse 20.

I will judge each of you according to his ways.

This is personal responsibility. They are telling us that each of us stands alone, every one of our actions stands alone.  If you do twenty wonderful and righteous things during the course of the day and then do one evil act, the twenty do not cancel out the one.  The consequences of the evil act will still be suffered.

God and Ezekiel are letting us know we are responsible for our actions.  Each and every action is judged by itself.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Eating The Sour Grapes

Eating The Sour Grapes

Jeremiah 31:29-30

In those days they shall no longer say:

“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
    and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

When I read these verses two words came into my head.  We’ll talk about that a little later in this piece.

In ancient times it was thought that the sins of the father, or the “eating of the sour grapes” as referred to in these verses, were paid for by their children and their succeeding generations.  When the Israelites we’re conquered and carried off to Babylon the children were paying for the sins of their fathers.  But many of those children were also eating the sour grapes.  Much like their fathers, the children continued the idolatry and worshiping of false gods.  They continued the abominations practiced by their parents. Continue reading

You Can’t Talk Your Way Into Heaven

You Can’t Talk Your Way Into Heaven

Romans 10:10

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

I read this verse and wrote it down.  I know it meant something to me but I wasn’t quite clear on how to explain it.

I struggled with the second half, “and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

The reason for my confused feelings towards this second half was “with the mouth” or talk.

Talk is cheap. Continue reading

You Can’t Talk Your Way Into Heaven

You Can’t Talk Your Way Into Heaven

Romans 10:10

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

I read this verse and wrote it down.  I know it meant something to me but I wasn’t quite clear on how to explain it.

I struggled with the second half, “and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

The reason for my confused feelings towards this second half was “with the mouth” or talk.

Talk is cheap. Continue reading

The Consequences Of Our Actions

The Consequences Of Our Actions

Suffering the consequences of our actions, I believe that is one of the laws of nature.

We are taught this when we are children.  Eat your supper or no TV, or more like eat your supper or there will be no Xbox or internet.

Anyone raised by even half caring parents knows there were consequences to what you did.  Make a bad decision about homework, staying out late, back talk a teacher or parent and you paid the price.

It’s what kept us in line until we learned acceptable and respectful behavior. Continue reading