Ezekiel 18:20-24

Even though Ezekiel 18:20-24 is in the Old Testament and we are not under that law today, there are still come critical things we can learn from the text …

Verse 20 reads “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Can’t we learn from verse 20 that the Calvinist doctrine of Inherited Original Sin is false? The text makes it just about as clear as one can make it that infants do not inherit the sin of Adam or anyone else. “The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father,” so Seth didn’t inherit sin from Adam and neither did I inherit sin through my father Kenneth. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (spiritually), not someone else. Eccl 7:29 reads in the NIV – “This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.”  So an infant is not born inherited the guilty of Adam’s, and is he is not born with inherited total depravity.  This verse says mankind is created upright, completely innocent of any such.

Starting in verse 21 of Ezekiel 18 we learn repentance is necessary to be forgiven of sin. Here is that text – “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” That’s always a big little word – “if” in the Bible. The statement that if the wicked will turn from his sins he will live, implies that if he doesn’t turn from his sins, he will not live, right?

And verse 24 refutes the modern day religious notion of Once Saved Always Saved. It says “But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.” We already learned that if the wicked turns from his sins he is forgiven, and verse 24 proves the reverse is also true. If a righteous man turns from his righteousness, then he will die spiritually. I didn’t write this verse; God stated it as fact.

Now, the Old Testament defined for them what wickedness and righteousness was. While the New Testament defines for us today what wickedness and righteousness is. But the facts remain that infants are not born guilty of sin (Rom 5:12b), repentance is a necessary condition of salvation (II Pet 3:9), and a Christian can fall from grace (Gal 5:4).

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