Daily Thoughts : April 20th
Ezek 18:4 For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son--both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die
This is a verse that needs putting in context. The two verses before it read: “The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel.” The proverb that Israel quoted suggested that children would die for the sins of their fathers. Perhaps this came from a misunderstanding of the ten commandments: “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” (Ex 20:5). The clue is in the last words. God will judge one generation after another if they hate or reject Him, but not if they don't. The generation that turns away from the sins of its fathers will be saved (Ezek 18:14 -17).
No, says the Lord, understand that there is no magic linking one generation with another. Every generation will be held responsible for what it does, and if it turns away from sin it will be saved, even if the fathers are being judged for their on-going sin. It is a strange thing, and I do not think there is an automatic principle, but some generations follow in the footsteps of their fathers, while other new generation see the failures of the previous generation and react to it and reject those previous ways. Nevertheless, personal responsibility says each generation carries its own consequences.
The lesson can be extended to, say, you don't have to go the way of your parents. If they sinned, you don't have to! If their lives were messed and affected you, in Christ you are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17 ) and you don't have to be burdened by what they did. You are free to be righteous. You will not have to carry their punishment, although there may need to be a specific rejection of their ways if we are to avoid their fruit coming down the generations.
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