KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY
We Are Responsible to God For Our Sin
Jerry A Collins
P Can I blame someone else for my sin?
P Will God ignore my sin if I am more righteous?
P How does God expect me to deal with my sin?
We are regularly tempted to place blame on something or someone else for our sin. In this instance we are just like our first parents, Adam and Eve, who refused to accept the blame for their sin. This way we do not have to own personal responsibility for it. One way the world does this is by seeing sin as a consequences rather than an act. So they argue against any connection between AIDS and sex or between childrenís problems and broken homes. If a connection can† be made you can call the behavior wrong. Of course, they do not want to do that. The Bible teaches that sin is in the act rather than the consequence of the sin. The act is violating Godís character as revealed to us in His Word by disobedience. God is good by definition. Good is not a standard God keeps. It is who God is. Anything contrary to the moral character of God is sin and God says each of us are responsible to him for our actions. Ezekiel delivers a message to us about our individual responsibility and accountability to God for our sin. The key verse of the chapter is vs 20 (Read It). There are at least five things he tells us about this.
1. GOD JUDGES EVERYBODY 1-4
A parable had been circulating among the people of God that made the point that children were suffering because of their parentís sins (1-2). It was true that Jerusalem was suffering but the people thot it was because of their parents sins and not their own! They were blaming God for punishing them unjustly (vs 25). We should not be surprised by this because this is our nature. We too refuse to acknowledge personal blame and deny our own guilt in the process. God says ĎTime Outí! Those who are guilty will receive their own deserved punishment (3-4). Now the Law had stipulated in Exodus 20:5 that God punishes the children for the sins of the fathers to the 3rd and 4th generations of those who hate Him. Even Ezekiel traces Godís impending judgment back to His peopleís past actions (16:15-29). However, the point was that the effects of sin are serious and long-lasting (Adam, Canaan, Solomon) not that God capriciously punishes the innocent for their ancestors evil ways (Noah before the flood; Lot before destruction of Sodom; good people before Nebís destruction of Jerusalem; church before wrath of tribulation). 3 things to understand about the justice of God:
(1) God does not punish the innocent for the sins of the guilty. If anyone you know is righteous and suffering (like Job) it is not because of the judgment of God. Could be discipline, or test, or effects of sins of others, or fact of cursed world or even spiritual battle between God and Satan (like Job).
(2) Godís justice in our age is carried out at Great White Throne and Judgement Seat of Christ where He will bring every act into judgment (Rom 14:10-12). Our sins are paid by judgment of Christ on cross but our works judged to determine our rewards.
(3) God is just not fair. Justice of God is God acting consistent with His own character toward everyone. Fairness is treating everyone the same. God promised to be just not fair. God was not fair in choosing Abe or Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Joseph over brothers, Israelites over Canaanites, you and me over those who do not receive Christ. None of it is fair but all of it is just--God dealing with Himself as a standard. We should do the same. Do not try to be fair with people treating all the same but be sure to be just with people treating them from your own, hopefully biblical, standards!
2. EVERYONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS 5-18
Here we have a hypothetical family to illustrate personal responsibility. First is a father who is righteous and follows Gods Law with all his heart (vs 5-9). There are things he does not do (idolatry, sexual sin, oppression, robbery, lend money all forbidden by Gods Law) and things he does do (gives, justice between men, faithfulness to Word of God). He is spared judgment and would not suffer for the sins of others. A model Israelite Second we have a violent son of a righteous father 10-13. He commits sin his father avoided. God says he will not live. His fathers righteousness will not help him. We will never benefit from anothers righteousness when we stand before God.
Third we have a righteous son of this violent father 14-18. Instead of following in sin of father he walks in righteous path of his grandfather. He will not die for his fathers sins but his father will die for his own sin. The point is that the judgment coming was not for the sins of someone in a former generation. We are judged by God for our own individual sin. The judgments are individuals judgments not collective ones.
3 ANYBODY CAN CHANGE 19-24
Here is the first of 3 objections to Gods judgment of them. Their idea here is that part of the fathers punishment should be the punishment of his son. Our idea today is the sins of the son should be excused because of the sins of his father. Gods idea is neither are relevant. Both are responsible for their own sin and their own righteousness (vs 19-20). The good news (vs 21-22) is that a bad guy can turn from his sin keep Gods word and live because God will not remember his sin. Why? Because of Gods character who does not hold grudges but longs for us to forsake sin (23). The bad news (24) a good guy can turn from his righteousness, sin, and die because god will not remember his righteous deeds. Sin is never excused by God!
4. IT IS IMPORTANT HOW YOU FINISH 25-28 We have a second objection charging God with an injustice (25). The bad news is a good guy can turn from his goodness and die because of what he does. But the good news is a bad guy can turn from his badness and save his own life (26-27). God does not separate the sin from the sinner. His sin brings Gods judgment. If sin is a life and death issue with God, it is important that we finish our lives well by not blaming our sin on others or deflecting personal responsibility. Escape from judgment is possible.
5. IT IS NECESSARY TO REPENT 29-32 Answering a 3rd objection to Gods judgment, God says the answer is repentance meaning to (1) turn away (30) (2) Cast away (31) (3) make selves a. a new heart b. a new spirit. Change minds and go in different direction. So life and death depended on individual responses to God. Those rebelling would die. Those repenting would live. God is just to demand repent!