God’s Justice to Individuals
Text: Ezekiel 18
I. The inappropriate parable - Ezekiel 18:1-4
A. Perhaps based on Exodus 20:4-6; 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Job 21:19; Jeremiah 32:18-19
B. Jeremiah 31:28-30 - A parable that would no longer be used.
C. Lamentations 5:7 - It was a parable to pass the blame on those no longer present
D. What is wrong with the parable? It ignores the children continuing the sins of the parents - Isaiah 65:6-7; Deuteronomy 24:16
E. God is going to lay out evidence so strong that they won’t bring the subject up again - Romans 3:19
F. Ezekiel 18:4 lays out the basic truth to be upheld: each person is responsible for their own lives.
1. God has the right of ownership - Zechariah 12:1; Jeremiah 18:6
2. II Corinthians 5:10 - All will give an account of himself
II. The righteous man - Ezekiel 18:5-9
A. He is just, does what is lawful and right
B. The remainder illustrates what is meant.
1. What is wrong with eating on mountains? (Idol worship)
2. Has not done wrong, has kept his word, and done good deeds
C. God declares he will live - Ezekiel 20:11; Amos 5:4,14; Luke 10:27-28
III. The wicked son of a righteous man - Ezekiel 18:10-13
A. Proverbs 17:21
B. The wicked has not done some of the things he ought to have done or has done things he should not do.
C. Notice it does not require all wickedness to be called wicked.
D. Doing any abomination brings about death. It is his own guilt. He cannot place the blame on anyone else.
IV. The righteous son of a wicked man - Ezekiel 18:14-18
A. Proverbs 23:24
B. It was the son’s choice not to follow in his father’s way.
C. The righteous son lives
D. The wicked father receives no benefit from accidently raising a righteous child - Isaiah 3:11
V. Why children are not punished for parents’ sins - Ezekiel 18:19-20
A. Though what Ezekiel laid out is plain, the conclusion is still startling because it was so deeply ingrained in their beliefs.
B. God is removing the one comfort they had. “It is not my fault.”
C. Deuteronomy 24:16
D. Romans 2:6 - Render to each according to their deeds
E. Where does faith come into this? James 2:14-26
VI. The wicked man who becomes righteous - Ezekiel 18:21-23
A. Not all people remain the same throughout life. Some fall into sin, but repent and leave it behind. - Proverbs 28:13; Acts 3:19
B. The past is forgotten. Only the present counts. - Psalm 25:7
1. God does this out of mercy - Psalm 51:1; Isaiah 43:25; Psalm 103:12
2. God doesn’t desire the death of men - I Timothy 2:4; II Peter 3:9
3. It is part of His character - Micah 7:18
C. If death comes, it is because someone does not change - Exodus 34:6-7; John 5:40; Hebrews 10:26-29
VII. The righteous man who becomes wicked - Ezekiel 18:24
A. A righteous man can fall away - Hebrews 6:4-6; II Peter 2:20
B. Two classes of sinners - Psalm 125:5; Zephaniah 1:6; I John 3:3-10
C. The wicked will die for his sins
VIII. The fairness of God’s judgments - Ezekiel 18:25-29
A. This strikes many people as “unfair.”
1. They like the idea that God will forget past wrongs when they turn to Him
2. But they don’t want their past righteousness forgotten when they turn from Him.
3. Same point being made - Matthew 20:1-16
B. The danger of such an attitude - Job 40:8
1. Some declare it is not worth serving God - Malachi 3:13-15
C. God is perfectly just - Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 145:17; Zephaniah 3:5
D. It is man who is unjust in his thinking - Psalm 50:21; Jeremiah 16:10-13
E. It is not whether we do more good than wrong. It is whether we preserve in doing right.
1. Matthew 24:12-13; Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 6:11-12; 10:36; Revelation 2:10
2. God is willing to forgive Isaiah 55:7
F. Note verse 28 as to what brings about repentance - Deuteronomy 32:29; Luke 15:17-18
G. The repeated objection in verse 29 shows a reluctance to accept the truth - Matthew 11:18-19; Proverbs 19:3
IX. Summary: The need to repent - Ezekiel 18:30-32
A. God judges by what a person is doing - Ecclesiastes 3:17; Romans 2:4-11; II Corinthians 5:10; I Peter 1:17; Revelation 22:12
B. The Hebrew has a play on words, based on their sounds, in verse 30 - “Turn and return”
C. You cannot remain a sinner - I John 3:6-9
D. We need to repent - Luke 13:3,5