Being accountable for one’s own actions isn’t the most desirable discipline. Owning one’s wrong is learned behavior. From an early age, we instinctively figure out how to defer our disobedience as the cause of a more systemic problem. The cause stems from sin, but our soul while wrestling, willingly chooses wrong. God knows this, which is why He calls us to rely on Him for forgiveness and strength to lead holy lives.
In Ezekiel 18, God draws distinctions between the righteous and wicked fathers and sons. The one who doesn’t worship idols, sleep with their neighbor’s spouse, oppress, rob, and instead, restores to his debtor, gives bread to the hungry, covers the naked, and walks in God’s ways is righteous.
He goes on to point out that a father may commit a wrong or a son might commit a wrong but only the one committing the wrong will be punished. Despite this view, a group of people ask “Why not allow the son to suffer for his father?” The thought being the apple won’t fall very far from the tree. Our prejudices tend to expect the same behavior from the same groups of people. But God has good reason to expect better of us. God the Father allowed His Son to suffer so those who believe in Him would not suffer for their own sins or the sins of the generations that preceded them. And this news changes hearts.
God reveals his own heart when he says in verse 23, “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” and again in verse 32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone so turn and live.” He pleads with a people who continue in injustice and do not want to see others forgiven to turn to Him for both forgiveness and righteousness. Anything less is stubbornness and suggests that salvation is unnecessary. God’s way is different and in new because the concept is still foreign to us that we cannot earn this thing through our best single-handed efforts.
God I need your hand, here is mine, Take it and lead me as I walk with you.