"Repent And Turn Yourselves From All Your Transgressions"

The context of Ezekiel’s writing was during the time of Judah’s 70 year captivity in Babylon. Many of the Jews who were carried away into captivity were innocent, and were not responsible for the sins which had caused Judah to be carried away into Babylon.

In fact, Ezekiel himself was a faithful Hebrew prophet in Babylon (Ezekiel 1:1-3; cf. 2 Kings 24:10-17). Earlier, such faithful young men as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego had been carried away and served in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace. Because many Jews were in Babylon through no fault of their own, there had arisen a taunting proverb against God in the form of, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Ezekiel 18:2).

While it is true that the consequences of Judah’s sins were suffered by following generations, it is not true that God was unjust in His dealings with man. Ezekiel 18:20, stands in the middle of a series of “ifs” in which God proves Himself to be fair and deals with man on the basis of his own sin or his own righteousness (cf. Ezekiel 18:5-9; Ezekiel 18:10-18; Ezekiel 18:21-23).

The wicked have the “choice” to turn from their wickedness and live, and the righteous have the choice to turn from their righteousness and die, “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 18:30). God deals with the wicked and the righteous according to the choices they make.

God’s final appeal to His people is, “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions …. Cast away from you all your transgressions …. For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth …. wherefore turn yourselves, and live” (Ezekiel 18:30-32 KJV).  Thus repentance is a key element in determining our eternal destination (Acts 17:30-31). The question is, will we repent, choosing eternal life, or will we not repent, choosing eternal death (separation from God – Isaiah 59:1-2) — the "choice" is ours (Joshua 24:15).

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets