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Avoiding Death

Avoiding Death
Ezekiel 18:1–4, 25–32
October 1, 2017

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do we ever get punished for sins from a previous generation? Doesn’t sound far, that we would get punished for someone else’s crime. Of course the cliche for today’s world is life isn’t fair. But does God punish a person for a sin not committed. The quick answer is yes of course. We need to remember that Jesus bears our sin and the sin for the whole entire world:

Isaiah 53:5 (ESV) 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Life isn’t fair, is it. But it is to our benefit that Christ Jesus pays the price for our sins. The result of which is that we avoid death, while Christ Jesus dies is our place.

But let go to our Old Testament reading for today, from Ezekiel, where the people are complaining and using this saying, “the fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge. The people were complaining because of the exile. Their fathers sin and forgot about God which resulted in exile. Now the children are complaining it is not my fault that we are here in exile, so why are we suffering, when others have done the disobedience. It may sound like a fair question to ask, but it is also a denial of their own sin and an affirmation of their own lack of trust with God. Blaming other for example saying, “the devil may be do it.” doesn’t work with God. God know our heart, He knows if we are trusting in Him above all things.

So the prophet is sent, with this message, stop blaming others and realize it is our own sin that causes death. So Ezekiel tell that people that God does not delight in anyone ones death, so avoid it.

Ezekiel 18:32 (ESV) 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

But we have a hard time understand sin and disobedience of God with death. Just like Genesis 2:16–17 (ESV) 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

When Adam and Eve ate as it says in verse 17 “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” they didn’t die. They were still breathing and Eve would later have children after taking the forbidden fruit. What they didn’t realize is that they were dead spiritually.

Ezekiel notes in Ezekiel 18:4 (ESV) 4 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.

Why is sin death of the Soul. Well what is sin, a disobedience of God, yes, but a better answer would be a separation from God. For when we sin we separate ourselves from God. Now lets look at where the Soul comes from.

Genesis 2:7 (ESV) 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

God’s breath is the the breath of life. So if we push God out of our lives as we do when we sin, it is like pushing out our own breath which is our life, out of us. Before God breathed into man, man was just dust from the ground, not the wind as Kansas would say. This Spiritual death of the soul is so important that Jesus says,
Matthew 10:28 (ESV) 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

The people during the time of Ezekiel were not necessary fearing the one who can destroy the soul and body in hell. Yes they were in exile, but at the moment they were not concern about their sin, they were concern about their body or comforts. We do love our creature comforts more than God? We have been blessed by God with an abundance. But why would we ignore Christ and the forgiveness He brings.

Ezekiels words need to reminds us what Jesus said in Matthew 16:25–26 (ESV) 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

To answer Jesus’ question, we can’t give anything in return for our soul, for it is the breath of God. This is why I end my confirmation class each session with Luther’s Evening Payer, because it has a strong emphasis of forgiveness and commending our selves to God’s care of our body and soul. It says,

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

This prayer of Luther is similar to what God is telling Ezekiel 18:30b–32 (ESV) 30 “Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

And we return to Christ, as Christ takes away our sin, and gives us His own Body and Blood for the forgiveness of our sins. This forgiveness brings life to our souls, so that we avoid death, in His name Amen.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (ESV) 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Written by dballa

September 30, 2017 at 1:18 pm