Day 16

A Personal Responsibility for Sin

from the Ezekiel: Come to Life (Lent 2022) reading plan

​Ezekiel 18:1-32, Ezekiel 19:1-14, Romans 1:16-17, 2 Peter 3:9

BY Patti Sauls

Think about hugging a robot. Creepy, right? Today, robots are programmed to assist with everything from performing intricate surgeries and exploring outer space to delivering pizza. Still, I wouldn’t want to hug one. Void of emotion and volitional thought, even extraordinary robots remain cold, mechanical, and lifeless. 

God does not manufacture robots when He creates humans. By His own desire and design, He breathes life into every person and makes us in His own image (Genesis 1:27). Each of us is more than a pumping heart muscle and a neuron-firing brain. We miraculously embody qualities of our Creator. We think, feel, and have opinions. God gives us agency: the ability to make decisions and the freedom to make personal choices. We are not programmed robots; we are alive and free. What a gift!

In today’s reading, Ezekiel explains the consequences of personal choice. God does not declare someone sinful or righteous based on anyone else’s conduct. Rather, He judges each person individually. The one who sins is the one who will die, and the one who is righteous will surely live (Ezekiel 18:4,9). As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” Each of us is responsible for our actions. If we choose to live in obedience to God, we will flourish with Him forever. If we choose to disobey God, we’ll be separated from Him forever. We are not robots; we have agency. With freedom comes responsibility.

This gift of freedom can be terrifying. To live in unity with a perfect God requires choosing obedience in our every thought, word, and deed. Good grief! I can’t even scroll through social media without being jealous, critical, or fearful. I can’t meet the requirements of freedom, and neither can anyone else. This is no surprise to God, and, if we’re honest, it should be no surprise to us. His Word confirms what we experience every single day, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). 

God knows we’re crushed under the weight of freedom and responsibility. He takes no pleasure in our deadly predicament (Ezekiel 18:23). On the contrary, He lovingly urges us, “Repent and live” (v.32)! How do we turn away from choosing sin and death? Only by putting our faith in the only One who did obey God in every thought, word, and deed. The only One who did carry the weight of sin of the world and not be crushed. We choose life by placing our faith in Christ. “…the righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17). 

“Repent and live!” is not a command for a robotic response; it is a soul-deep call to humbly turn towards our Creator and receive the gift of salvation. Depend on Christ and live. 

Post Comments (66)

66 thoughts on "A Personal Responsibility for Sin"

  1. Lisa Daigneault says:

    How do you make notes in that section?

  2. Leigh Bennett says:

    Yes-thought this same thing as I was reading….

  3. Elizabeth Lawrence says:

    Yes. I thought about it too. When it’s talking about sins affect the next generations, I think about how sun causes cycles of brokenness that are passed down. One has an alcoholic father and then as he is dealing with that in an unhealthy way, he isn’t present for his children, so in turn they suffer with more anxiety and insecurity, etc and generations suffer the consequences. I think here, what is being referenced is a matter of personal righteousness.

  4. Jenette McEntire says:

    Like many of you, I am experiencing powerful spiritual breakthrough and holy break down of the “concealed” sins of my heart and mind because of this time in Ezekiel. Praying for this community, for you sisters in Christ. To God be the glory!

  5. Jenette McEntire says:

    Like many of you, I am experiencing powerful spiritual breakthrough and holy break down of the “concealed” sins of my heart and mind.

  6. Kelly (NEO) says:

    Leigh Gorham: Great question! I have not looked up specific passages (but I can if you want me to) but my understanding is that God does hold only individuals accountable for their own sin. However, but by His grace and mercy, the consequences may last for generations. Let me know in a post on “Grace Day” if you want specifics.❤

  7. Leigh Gorham says:

    Does today’s reading bring to mind for anyone else other places in scripture that DO say that the sins of one generation will fall to the next generations? It even says this earlier in Ezekiel. So how do answer those in the world who try to say that the Bible contradicts itself? I know his word is consistent, but things like this are confusing & I want to speak with wisdom when questions are raised.

  8. Paola Hidalgo De Lara says:


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