We had a good first full day here in Atlanta. Enjoyed biscuits and grits and hanging out with the grand kids. This afternoon Mason and Carter’s football team was in the high school’s homecoming parade. It was a nice event with a lot of people and tons of candy for the kids. A good “Halloween Eve” event.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “…The person who sins is the one who will die.…He [who] lives by my rules and obeys my laws faithfully. Whoever does these things is good and will surely live, says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 18:4,9 NCV
I recall over 30 years ago I was in my first pastorate and was asked to visit a relative of some friends, who was facing a terminal illness. This man had a cursory knowledge of faith (some know enough of the Bible to be confused), but had not lead a godly life. As he faced his own mortality, he was haunted by the idea that his own rejection of the Lord, condemned the fate of his children and as a result he could not turn to the Lord because of the life he had lived and guilt and regrets he felt.
Regardless of the reasons, that was his perspective. I visited with him on several occasions and shared scripture about the Lord’s forgiveness and shared verses from the Bible that showed each person was responsible for their own life before the Lord regardless of their family history. In the end, before he died, he committed his life to the Lord.
This man may have been influenced and confused about the scripture that says, “….He [the Lord] punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” (Numbers 14:18 NIV) But he failed to understand the full context of the Bible and words just before this that say, “The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion…” (Numbers 14:18 NIV)
Ezekiel 18 makes it is clear that the ideas and perspective of people are different from the Lord’s. The Lord says, if a godly person has rebellious children, those children will die in their sin. If wicked people have children that turn to the Lord, they will be saved. The Lord goes on says if the wicked turn from their evil ways and follow the Lord they will be saved and if the righteous turn to evil and become wicked that there “good deeds will not be remembered.”
For the people of Ezekiel’s day and for many in ours the response is, “not fair!” Here is what God says, “But you say, ‘What the Lord does isn’t fair.’ Listen, people of Israel. I am fair. It is what you do that is not fair! …They [each person] will die, because they did wrong… I will judge each of you by what you do, says the Lord God. Change your hearts and stop all your sinning so sin will not bring your ruin.” (Ezekiel 18:25-26;30
What we see is God’s heart for people to come to Him, “I do not really want the wicked to die, says the Lord God. I want them to stop their bad ways and live.” (Ezekiel 18:23 NCV) We see the consistency of scripture with the words of Paul in the New Testament – “God our Savior….wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:3-5 NIV)
The Lord in His love, grace and mercy has provided the way for all to “live right” before Him. That is not found in what we “prove” to God, but in accepting what He has “provided” for us through Jesus Christ. His plan is to make the path and the choice clear. One God, who has provided one way, for all people to know the life He alone can provide; both now and for eternity.
In one of the most important verses of the Bible, Paul declares how we were incapable of pleasing and obeying God through our own efforts, so the Lord intervened and did for us, what we are powerless to do for ourselves – “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” (Romans 8:3 NLT)
The adage is, “God doesn’t have grandchildren, just sons and daughters.” Your parent’s faith can’t save you and their disobedience doesn’t condemn you. Each person’s destiny is decided when they answer the question of Pilate, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” … (Matthew 7:22 ESV) The best choice is to accept what Christ has already provided and to experience His life. “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12 NIV) Choose life!