20 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. 21 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. –Ezekiel 18:20, 21 (KJV)
All of us have at least some understanding of personal responsibility. Eventually, we come to understand that doing right carries with it certain rewards and positive consequences. We also learn there are negative consequences for doing what is wrong. So, why do we go ahead and do what we know is wrong? This is the age-old struggle against the sinful nature, which is what the Bible calls the flesh. The Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit leads us to do what is right in God’s eyes, but the flesh leads us to go against God. How much does it take to satisfy the flesh? You probably know the answer; the flesh is never satisfied. It always wants more. We might temporarily pacify the sinful nature, but we cannot fulfill it.
The power of the Holy Spirit, which comes through faith in Christ, breaks the power of the flesh for Christ is stronger. Therefore, as followers of Christ we are to grow in grace, faith, and spiritual strength. Grow in Christ and we can withstand the assaults of the flesh. The Bible says in Ezekiel 18:20 that the soul that sins will die – spiritually and physically. In the book of Ezekiel, God spoke to His people on a deeply personal level. For a long time God worked among His people Israel as a group. As long as the remnant was faithful, God spared them and they would not all suffer the same consequences. With the coming of the prophet Ezekiel, this began to change. Doing what was right in God’s eyes became a matter a personal responsibility. Every man and woman had to seek God based on his or her own faith.
God still loved His people, would still seek to draw them unto Himself, but they were to begin seeking the Lord, if not as a nation, then as individuals. Why would God begin to move this way among His people? This was a foreshadowing of the coming of Christ into the world. Faith in Jesus Christ is profoundly personal. No one can come to faith in Christ for you, for you must experience the Lord for yourself. Therefore, we have a personal responsibility to do what is right, and we further have the personal responsibility to trust in the Lord.
Each day we have to make a decision; will I follow Christ or will I follow self? When the power of Christ is working in us in all its fullness, then we are empowered to do right. Keep in God’s Word by daily meditating upon it and storing its truths in your heart. Take time to pray, be faithful, do as Christ commanded and let His light shine, let the world know we are His disciples by loving one another.
God bless you today.