I know this title isn’t the cheeriest or encouraging, but I assure you that the overall message is one of great hope for all mankind. The phrase “the soul who sins shall die” comes from Ezekiel 18:4, when God is giving the prophet Ezekiel the words to say to Israel concerning their sins. You see, Israel was filled with people who felt God was being unfair to them in their captivity to the Babylonians, because they claimed that they were being unfairly punished for the sins committed by the previous generations.
God assures them in Ezekiel 18 that only “the soul who sins shall die”. In other words, God’s judgment is always fair and just. He will not hold others accountable for someone else’s sin. Each person will be rightly judged by their righteous and unrighteous deeds.
As God says “the soul who sins shall die”, He also tells us in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. The hard truth is that we all deserve God’s righteous judgment and punishment for the sins we have committed. God does not excuse any sinful behavior, even when our sinful behavior was modeled for us by someone else (Ezekiel 18:14-18). Another important aspect of God’s righteous judgment highlighted in Ezekiel 18 is that we cannot count on previous righteous deeds to atone for future unrighteous deeds (Ezekiel 18:24).
My favorite part of God’s righteous judgment is found in Ezekiel 18:21
“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live.”
When Jesus Christ died on the cross as the Lamb of God and rose from the dead on the third day, He effectively became the righteousness that saves us from all our unrighteousness by becoming sin on our behalf so that we would be made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21) Therefore, God dealt justly with sinners who are saved by their faith in Christ by pouring out His wrath on the sacrificial Lamb of God, whose blood was spilled for the forgiveness of sins.
Regardless of what kind of situation or life you were born into, no matter how horrid or godless your upbringing, you are given the opportunity to have all your unrighteousness forgiven by placing your faith and trust upon the Righteous One who came to save sinners such as you and me.
Just as “the soul who sins shall die”, the “soul who sins but places their trust in Jesus will live!”
The American culture is constantly seeking ways to ensure that those born into the most unfortunate circumstances will still have the opportunities to be among the most successful. America will always fall far short of having such a utopia, but I believe what they seek after is a shadow of what Christ provides for all people. Outside of faith in Christ, there is no better example of how even the most troubled soul, the severely abused, those who had the vilest upbringing, can experience the pinnacle of success and opportunity. All those who place their faith in Jesus shall become a son or daughter of the King of Heaven and will inherit the promise of eternal royalty in the kingdom of heaven.
I pray that if you are not already a son or daughter of the King of Heaven, that this is your moment of salvation, now and forever!
I will end this with the final words of Ezekiel 18, “For I (God) have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, so repent and live!”