The Soul Which Sins Shall Die









Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, is found in the eighteenth chapter of the book. When this passage begins, it does so with the word of the Lord coming unto Ezekiel with a very specific, and very powerful word. The word of the Lord came unto Ezekiel concerning a proverb that was used in the land of Israel—the proverb which states, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” The word of the Lord which came to Ezekiel not only speaks of this proverb and its use within the land of Israel, but the Lord goes on to declare how this proverb would no longer be used within the land. The Lord declared unto the prophet Ezekiel, saying, “As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.” The Lord then goes on to speak of the tremendous significance this proverb had for the house of Israel, for the Lord declares “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” When the fourth verse of the eighteenth chapter draws to a close, it does so with the word of the Lord declaring unto Ezekiel how the soul which sins shall surely and certainly die. It is this particular phrase—a phrase that may indeed and may in fact seem somewhat harsh when spoken by the Lord—that sets the stage for the entire rest of the chapter. The entire chapter is centered upon the reality that the soul which sins shall die, and that there is not another single soul which sins that shall suffer the punishment for that soul which sinned. While these words might seem utterly and completely harsh, they nonetheless bring us face to face with an incredibly powerful New Testament reality—the reality that there was one who entered the realm of time and space and suffered the death which every soul that sins should experience. The Lord hosts declared unto the prophet Ezekiel that the soul which sins shall die, and the entire premise of this chapter is centered upon the reality that there is no other soul—there is no other individual—that can or should be held accountable for your sin or your transgression. How absolutely incredible it is to read the word of the Lord in the Old Testament concerning that soul which sins dying, yet coming to the New Testament and reading how there was One who entered the realm of time and space, and One who walked upon the earth who not only knew no sin, but also agreed to suffer the punishment of death which all death deserves.

 To help us understand this reality a little more, it is necessary to turn and direct out attention to the New Testament book of Romans, and specifically the third and fourth chapters. Consider the words and language that is found in the third chapter beginning with the eighteenth verse of the apostle Paul’s epistle to the Roman congregation—“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of Him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:18-30). Within this particular passage of Scripture, we encounter the reality that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The apostle Paul according to the inspiration of the Spirit of the Lord emphatically declared that all have indeed and all have in fact sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and there was not one soul that was innocent before the Lord. There was only One who walked upon the face of the earth who knew no sin and who never fell short of the glory of the Lord, and that was the eternal, begotten Son of the living God. Only Jesus who was and is the Christ walked upon this earth not knowing sin—this despite the fact that He was tempted in all ways even as we have been and still are being tempted.

 When you come to the sixth chapter of the same New Testament epistle, you encounter an additional reality that builds upon what is recorded in the third chapter. When you come to the fifteenth verse of the sixth chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Romans, you will begin reading these words—“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, His servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants of uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servant to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:15-23). Please pay attention to the words which the apostle Paul spoke and declared within this passage of Scripture, for the apostle Paul emphatically declared that the wages of sin was indeed and was in fact death. The apostle Paul concluded and believed that the only logical end and conclusion for sin was death, and that there was absolutely no one who could escape the wages and penalty of sin which was death. The apostle Paul in essence proclaimed and declared on New Testament pages of Scripture the same words which the Lord of hosts declared unto the prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament. The Lord declared unto the prophet Ezekiel that the soul which sins shall die, and the apostle Paul declared that the wages of sin was death. If there is one particular truth we must learn when considering the reality of sin, it’s that sin always has and always does deserve death. Remember the words which the Lord declared unto Adam when speaking of the two trees which were present in the Garden of Eden? The Lord declared unto Adam that of every tree in the garden he could freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he could not eat. The Lord then went on to declare that in the day Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—in that day he would die.

 Fast forward to the encounter between Eve and the serpent, and you will discover why the words contained within the passage of Ezekiel is so incredibly relevant and pertinent in direct connection with the words of the apostle Paul. When speaking to Eve, the serpent asked Eve concerning the words which the Lord had spoken, and went on to ask her if God really said that in the day they ate of fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would die. The serpent was doing more than calling into question the divine word of the Lord which was spoken unto and revealed unto Adam. That which the serpent was doing was bringing Eve into the place where she believed that death was not the logical outcome and result of sin. The serpent tempted, deceived and beguiled Eve concerning the wages of sin, which the Lord clearly declared was death. The Lord declared that in the day Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—that day they would experience death. Ever since the garden of Eden the serpent has attempted to set the same trap and snare for men and women. Ever since Eve in the garden, the serpent has attempted to bring us to the place where we no longer believe that death is the end result and by product of death. Ever since the garden the serpent has attempted to deceive and beguile men and women into thinking and believing that the wagers of sin are not in fact death, and that we can continue on sinning as though there are no consequences for our iniquity and transgression. One thing that is actually quite remarkable when consider the account of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden as expressed in the third chapter of the book of Genesis is that the Lord was not playing around, nor was He kidding when He spoke of death in connection with sin, for when the Lord replaced the covering with which Adam and Eve made to cover their nakedness and the shame of their nakedness, the Lord slaughtered and put to death what I believe could only have been a lamb in the garden. I do believe that there was present on the earth during that time lambs, and the reason I believe this is that the New Testament writers spoke of the Lamb which was slain before and from the foundation of the world. Even before Adam and Eve sinned there was a Lamb which had been slain in preparation for sin and transgression which may very well have abounded on the earth. The Lord didn’t immediately and instantaneously strike down Adam and Eve after partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but instead slaughtered a lamb on their behalf, in order that blood might be shed, and coverings might be made. WHEN THE LAMB IS SLAIN, BLOOD IS SHED AND COVERINGS ARE MADE.

 As early as the third chapter of the book of Genesis we encounter the reality that the penalty and wages of sin is death, and that death is the natural consequence and byproduct of sin and transgression. There should not be a doubt within our hearts and minds concerning the wages and penalty of sin and transgression, for the Lord revealed very early on that in the day of which we sin and transgress against His word and command, we shall surely and certainly die. It’s worth pointing out the words of the apostle Paul in the fifth chapter of the epistle the Roman congregation, for smack in between the declaration that “all have sinned and all have fallen short of the glory of God” and the declaration that “the wages of sin is death” we find something else which must be carefully considered. Beginning with the twelfth verse we find and read these words—“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For it through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by on; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteousness. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5: 23-21). It was as a direct result of the sin and transgression of Adam that both sin and death entered into the world, and it was through and because of the sin and transgression of Adam that sin and death entered into the world. The Lord declared that the soul which sins shall die, yet when Adam transgressed against the command of the Lord in the garden, sin was passed unto every man and women who would walk upon the earth. It’s not that we are being held accountable for the sin and transgression of Adam, but that through Adam sin and transgression would be passed on to each and every man and women that would walk upon the earth. Now, just as death would eventually lay hold of Adam as a result of sin and transgression, so also death would lay hold of us as a result of sin and transgression within the garden. We dare not, we cannot, we must not allow the serpent to deceive and beguile us into thinking and believing that we cannot and will not experience death as a result of sin and transgression.

 When you read the eighteenth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, you will discover the Lord declaring unto the prophet that the soul which sins, it is that soul which shall certainly die. What the Lord was in essence declaring was that there is not another upon the earth who would answer for the sin and transgression that occurs within your life. There is not a single soul upon the face of the earth who can and will answer as a result of the sin and transgression that you have committed against the will, word and command of the Lord. The Lord made It very clear through the prophet Ezekiel that the soul which sins shall die, and the Lord spoke very clearly through the apostle Paul that the wages of sin were in fact death. Between the words of the prophet Ezekiel and the words of the apostle Paul, we encounter the reality that sin is directly connected to, and cannot be separated from death. One of the most dangerous realities that surrounds sin and transgression is that we don’t think of death as being directly connected to or having any relation to sin and transgression. Permit me for a moment to ask what your life would be like if you directly connected and associated death with sin. What would happen if each time you were tempted to sin and transgress against the command of the Lord, you thought of death as a direct consequence. Please understand that I am not in any way speaking of condemnation, but what I do believe with everything inside of me is that we have grown numb, and perhaps even indifferent toward sin. I don’t care if you are a seasoned believer in and follow of Christ, or whether you are a new believer and follower. One of the greatest dangers and problems we face is that we don’t seem to associate death with sin and transgression anymore. We seem to have separated death from sin, and as a result are no longer convicted by sin. Where are those men and women who understand that death is directly connected to sin, and that sin is a direct byproduct and consequence of of sin? Where are those men and women who are unwilling to fool around and play with sin because they reignite and understand that the wages of sin is death? Where are those men and women who live before and with the reality that the wages of sin is death, and that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I am convinced that there are very few among us who are truly convicted by sin, and very few among us who associate death with sin. What would happen if we truly thought of sin as not only falling short of the glory of God, but as also having wages which are equal unto death? The Lord was very clear through the prophet Ezekiel that the soul which sins shall die. The Lord was very clear through the apostle Paul that the wages of sin are death, and that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

 If you read the eighteenth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel you will essentially. Notice and discover—not only three different types of individuals, but you will also notice three different generations. When we come to the fifth verse, we notice the first generation as being a generation which pursued righteousness before the Lord of hosts. Consider what is spoken of and recorded concerning this first generation—“But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, and hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman, and hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; he that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, hath walked in my statutes and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 18:5-9). These words remind me of those which David wrote and are recorded for us in the Old Testament book of the Psalms. Consider if you will the words which David wrote and are recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms—“Lord, Who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? HE that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. HE that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is condemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money for usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these thing shall never be moved” (Psalm 15). A similar reality is presented to us in the twenty-fourth chapter of the same Old Testament when we read these words which were written by David—“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? HE that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive th3e blessing form the Lord, and righteousness from the God of His salvation. This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek thy face, O Jacob” (Psalm 24:3-6). With these three passages we encounter the tremendous reality of what righteousness looks like within the life of a particular individual—a righteousness which will reap a tremendous reward within the life of that man or woman who pursues it with everything in their hearts.

 If you continue reading the sixteenth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel you will encounter a second and third generation which can be, and in all reality have been present within the earth. Immediately after speaking of the father which pursued righteousness before the Lord, the prophet is then informed and made aware of a second generation—the son of the father—that followed not after the righteousness of the father, but followed after and pursued wickedness. This reality is perhaps seen in no greater measure than in the history of the kings of Judah. If you take the time to read the Old Testament books of First and Second Kings, as well as the book of Second Chronicles, you will read of a number of kings which sat upon the throne of David in Jerusalem and reigned over the southern kingdom of Judah. If you study the history of the kings which sat upon the throne, you will read of one generation—one king who sat upon the throne of David in Jerusalem and who pursued and followed righteousness before the Lord. You will read of one generation walking in obedience and righteousness before the Lord, yet that same generation being followed by a generation that would not walk in righteousness and obedience before the Lord. There were sons such as Manasseh that walked in disobedience and rebellion against the the will and command of the Lord, and yet the Lord would not visit the iniquity of the father upon the son. The Lord would not cause the son to answer for the iniquity and transgression of the father, which confirms the words which were spoken unto the prophet Ezekiel. The Lord spoke to Ezekiel of one generation that would pursue and follow righteousness before the Lord, yet that generation being followed after a generation that would not follow after righteousness and obedience before the Lord. The Lord also spoke of a third generation that came after the second generation—that generation which was rebellious before the Lord of hosts—and that generation as pursuing righteousness and holiness before the Lord. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are recorded in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Judges concerning the generation which emerged and rose up after Joshua had gone the way of his fathers. Consider if you will the words which are recorded beginning with the tenth verse of the second chapter—“And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and He sold them into the hands of their enemies rounda bout, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Whiethersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them;: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so” (Judges 2:10-18).

 When I read the eighteenth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, I am not only gripped with the reality of generations which emerge upon the earth—both individual generations within families, but also corporate generations which emerge in general—but I am gripped by the reality that the Lord will not visit the iniquity of one generation upon the next generation. The Lord would not cause the son to answer for the iniquity of the father, but would cause the father to perish as a result of his own iniquity and sin. What’s more, is that I am reminded of the fact that while the soul that sins shall perish, there was One who walked upon the earth who would suffer the wages and penalty of sin for all of humanity and mankind. The apostle Paul wrote and spoke of how the Lord caused Him who knew no sin to become sin for us and on our behalf in order that we might not suffer as we should. There was One who walked upon the earth who experienced the full weight of the wages of sin which are indeed and are in fact death. Jesus experienced death upon the cross of Calvary atop Golgotha, and even experienced being buried in a tomb in the heart of the earth for three days. What’s more, is that Jesus even descended into hell in order that He might experience that for us. Oh, do we trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the cross two thousand years ago. Do we fully and completely believe and understand that the soul which sins, that sin shall surely die, but there is one who knew no sin and became sin for us on our behalf? Do we recognize and understand that as a result of the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the cross we do not need to continue to sin and transgress against the command of the Lord? This reality was expressed in the writing of the apostle Paul, for the apostle Paul declared that just because grace abounds, we dare not use that grace as a license to sin and transgress against the command of the Lord. In fact, I am convinced that we not only need grace to set us free from sin, but we also need the grace of the Lord to help us continue fleeing and abstaining from sin. It was the apostle Paul who spoke of putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and that if we have been buried with Christ in baptism—a baptism that is unto death—so also we will be raised up and resurrected with Him. The soul which sins shall die, yet there was One who walked upon the earth who not only became sin for us on our behalf, but who would also taste and experience the wages and penalty of death in order that we might not have to. What’s more, is that we are called to fully and completely trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the cross, and to according to the Spirit of Almighty God put to death that which produces death within our mortal bodies. PUTTING TO DEATH IN OUR FLESH WHAT CAUSES DEATH TO BE PRODUCED AND MANIFESTED! The question I would leave you with at this juncture is what are you doing to eradicate sin and transgression within your life. Are you diligently working and partnering with the Spirit of Almighty God to put to death the deeds of the flesh, or are you continuing to allow sin to reign in your mortal body? How we answer this question can and will determine what our lives our like each and every day, and may even very well determine where we will spend eternity. Oh that we would read the words found within the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel and examine whatever sin may be present within our lives, and if there is sin and transgression within our lives, ensuring we put it to death and crucify it according to the grace of God and the person and power of the Holy Spirit.

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