Ezekiel 18 has a pretty good explanation of God’s expectations around our eternity. He makes it clear what we have to do to live. It starts with this truth: “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die”. God is the Judge – final answer. He is the One who decides what our future looks like. He makes the rules. He is the Judge. He is God. We don’t have to like it. We won’t think it is fair. But that doesn’t change this eternal truth – God makes the rules and enforces them. He is the final answer.
Here is the simple formula God gives around life and death. “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right….
– if he does not eat upon the mountains
– or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel
– does not defile his neighbor’s wife
– or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity
– does not oppress anyone
– but restores to the debtor his pledge
– commits no robbery
– gives his bread to the hungry
– and covers the naked with a garment
– does not lend at interest
– or take any profit
– withholds his hand from injustice
– executes true justice between man and man
– walks in my statutes
– and keeps my rules by acting faithfully
he is righteous; he shall surely live”. Pretty simple formula for success, eh? God spells it out pretty detailed here but it is summarized by the first and last things He said – be righteous and walk in His statutes. That is the way we will live forever. But there is a problem. We can’t do this. I certainly can’t, and the truth is you can’t either.
God goes on to talk about the sins of a father, and the sins of a son, and how each is responsible for their own actions. We are not held accountable for what another chooses to do, although their influence can certainly lead us down the wrong path. At the end of the day, we will stand before God and give account for our own actions. We will stand on our own choices and have to address the Judge about the things we have done and said. We won’t be granted access to heaven based on anyone or anything else, it is entirely based on what we have done. And that leaves us with a rather big, ugly problem – sin. We are not going to be standing there in a good position.
God’s desire is that we come before Him with right standing. “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live”. It is not His desire than any of us perish and spend eternity apart from Him, so God gives us the solution though toward the end of this chapter. “Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin….make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit”. The answer is that we repent and come to Jesus, who will give us that new heart and Spirit to live within us. Jesus went to the Cross to deal with this very eternal issue – our sin. He carried it to the Cross so we can repent, and turn from our wicked ways, and have that sin be washed white as snow. God desires all of us to be saved. Jesus is enough to cover our sin. All we have to do is turn away from sin and run to Him. Is He your Savior? Is He Lord of your life?