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Ezekiel 18:1-32

“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 18:21


Ezekiel 18

God is looking for people who will repent of their sins and turn their hearts toward Him. Miguel, one of our pastors in the Philippines, experienced this personally. He was brought up in a religious home where they had many prayer books, but the Bible was not one of them. He never heard the Word of God preached in its fullness. After attending college and doing on-the-job training, he took a position as a merchant mariner with the National Shipping Agency of the Philippines.

He testifies, “Life on the sea was boring at times, and I had much time to think. One day, I wondered if I was worthy to meet the Lord if something were to happen to me on the ship. But even though I worried about my eternal fate, I continued sinning. I drank much wine, and when we went ashore, I went to bars and nightclubs. Filthy words came out of my mouth, and my

mind was full of sinful thoughts. Once, when I was drunk, I opened a Bible and my eyes fell on words about drunkenness. I was really convicted for my wrongdoings and could not forget what I had read.

“One day, after my watch was over, I could feel in my heart that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. I locked the door of my room and took down a book about the new birth. I read about when Jesus told Nicodemus, ‘Ye must be born again,’ and words about repentance and forgiveness of sins.

“Then I prayed with all my heart. It seemed as if I saw Jesus on the Cross with the Blood coming down from His hands and feet. I hid my face in my pillow, and tears flowed down my cheeks as I told the Lord I was not worthy of Him. I felt full of the darkness of sin, but then I heard a Voice saying, ‘My Blood was shed for the forgiveness of your sins.’ I cried like a little boy and asked God to forgive me. When I reached out in faith and believed that He had done so, peace and joy came into my heart. In a moment, I knew I was saved through His precious Blood that was shed on Calvary for me.

“From the time God saved me, He kept me living a Christian life on the vessels I sailed on. The temptations were really great because a seaman’s life takes him away from home, loved ones, and church. But day by day, God made it possible for me to overcome these temptations and live a victorious life for Him.” 

Miguel did exactly what today’s focus verse addresses — he turned from his sins. And the change God made in his heart has lasted through the years. Since he retired from being a ship’s officer, he has been serving God in his homeland. 

Still today, God extends the invitation for pardon to those who will turn from their sins and seek Him. This gives hope for anyone who needs forgiveness from God.


In this chapter, Ezekiel corrected a misconception regarding individual responsibility by refuting a proverbial saying. By divine inspiration, he made it clear that each person would be judged according to his own sins; there was neither inherited judgment nor reward. The wicked individual would die, no matter how righteous his parents and no matter if he himself had once been good. Conversely, God promised life to the righteous man, no matter how wicked his parents, and even if he himself had once been sinful. These judgments proved God’s righteous fairness and were intended to incite sincere individual repentance.

The proverb cited in verse 2 and also quoted in Jeremiah 31:29-30 was a common saying that the current generation would be punished for their forefathers’ offences. Believing this allowed the people to excuse their own sins in light of their fathers’ failures. Ezekiel made it clear that descendants would not be punished for the sins of their ancestors and that they were responsible if they perpetuated their ancestors’ sins. 

The righteous acts listed in verses 5-9 included duties to God under the Law and moral obligations to one’s fellowman that were in addition to the Law. The phrase “eaten upon the mountains” in verse 6 implies participating in an idolatrous feast. 

In verses 10-13, the prophet explained that the righteousness of a father does not protect an unrighteous son from judgment. The phrase “if he beget a son” in verse 10 should be understood as “now suppose the righteous man has a son.” The subsequent list of sins are not hypothetical and are individually segregated, indicating that even one of these sins was sufficient to condemn the unrighteous son. 

Verses 14-20 outline the opposite scenario. The son with an unrighteous father who refrains from committing his father’s sins will live, but the father will be judged for his own sins. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” in verse 20 repeats a key theme of this passage, and concludes the correcting of this common proverbial saying, restating that each individual carries the consequences of his own actions. 

Verses 21-29 present a clear refuting of the false doctrine of eternal security. Verses 21-22 indicate that a wicked person can turn from his sinful ways and become righteous. Sins repented of and turned away from will not be remembered against the one who has been made righteous. The rhetorical question in verse 23 is emphatically answered in verse 32; it makes clear that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Verse 24 asserts that just as past sins will not be remembered against the righteous, when an individual turns away from righteousness and back to sin, his former righteous acts will not be remembered and he will be judged for his iniquity. “Equal” in verse 25 denotes a balanced weight or measure, demonstrating that God’s behavior toward man is just and impartial. In verses 26-29, the prophet reiterates these principles regarding the results of righteousness and unrighteousness. 

Verses 30-32 contain a final appeal for individual repentance. The plea of verse 31 points back to the promise previously given in Ezekiel 11:19 of a new spirit and a changed heart. 


II.     The condemnation of Judah and Jerusalem

         C.     The cause of Judah’s destruction

                  4.     Instruction concerning individual responsibility (18:1-32)

                          a.     The principle stated (18:1-4)

                          b.     The principle illustrated (18:5-20)

                          c.     The necessity of repentance (18:21-29)

                          d.     The exhortation to repentance (18:30-32)


What does God promise to a person who is “just” (verse 9)?

What are some of the dangers of blaming one’s own wrongs on others? 

In verse 31 Ezekiel said, “Make you a new heart.” Since we cannot change our hearts, how does this come about?


God is still calling sinners to repentance. For anyone who needs the Lord, today is the day to turn to Him.

Hon Sen Pst Bill Francis Bill of Grace Dominion Assembly and Governor Pastor Prince otu Spokesman.

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