A Personal Responsibility for Sin
Open Your Bible
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.