Ezekiel 18: You are not Guilty of Your Parents’ Sins, but are Responsible for Your Own

Ezekiel 18: You are not Guilty of Your Parents’ Sins, but are Responsible for Your Own

Your past does not determine your future! In other words, whatever situation you were born into, does not dictate what you are as an adult. I was born into a Catholic family. I was not born Catholic. I was born human like every other person in the world, made in God’s image. At some point growing up, a person reaches the age of accountability. It’s when a child learns right from wrong and understands the consequences of his or her actions. Each child is different, yet, each one is accountable for his or her sins.

In today’s chapter, God brings up a popular saying going around the Israelites at that time. God’s point is a crucial lesson for us today. Just because we come from a certain past, culture or heritage, doesn’t mean we are not responsible for our actions. We can’t blame our parents and we are not guilty of our parents’ sins either. Besides that, we’re not stuck in a culture or religion that takes us further away from God. I’ll explain… Let’s dig in…

By the way, I was silent for a while because COVID got me. I lost my voice and had this terrible brain fog which rendered me totally useless for a week. It’s nice to be back! I missed this!

Ezekiel 18 – The Justice of a Righteous God

Then another message came to me from the Lord: “Why do you quote this proverb concerning the land of Israel: ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste’? As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, you will not quote this proverb anymore in Israel. For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die.

“Suppose a certain man is righteous and does what is just and right. He does not feast in the mountains before Israel’s idols or worship them. He does not commit adultery or have intercourse with a woman during her menstrual period. He is a merciful creditor, not keeping the items given as security by poor debtors. He does not rob the poor but instead gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy. He grants loans without interest, stays away from injustice, is honest and fair when judging others, and faithfully obeys my decrees and regulations. Anyone who does these things is just and will surely live, says the Sovereign Lord.

10 “But suppose that man has a son who grows up to be a robber or murderer and refuses to do what is right. 11 And that son does all the evil things his father would never do—he worships idols on the mountains, commits adultery, 12 oppresses the poor and helpless, steals from debtors by refusing to let them redeem their security, worships idols, commits detestable sins, 13 and lends money at excessive interest. Should such a sinful person live? No! He must die and must take full blame.

14 “But suppose that sinful son, in turn, has a son who sees his father’s wickedness and decides against that kind of life. 15 This son refuses to worship idols on the mountains and does not commit adultery. 16 He does not exploit the poor, but instead is fair to debtors and does not rob them. He gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy. 17 He helps the poor, does not lend money at interest, and obeys all my regulations and decrees. Such a person will not die because of his father’s sins; he will surely live. 18 But the father will die for his many sins—for being cruel, robbing people, and doing what was clearly wrong among his people.

19 “‘What?’ you ask. ‘Doesn’t the child pay for the parent’s sins?’ No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. 20 The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. 21 But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. 22 All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done.

23 “Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. 24 However, if righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things and act like other sinners, should they be allowed to live? No, of course not! All their righteous acts will be forgotten, and they will die for their sins.

25 “Yet you say, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right!’ Listen to me, O people of Israel. Am I the one not doing what’s right, or is it you? 26 When righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things, they will die for it. Yes, they will die because of their sinful deeds. 27 And if wicked people turn from their wickedness, obey the law, and do what is just and right, they will save their lives. 28 They will live because they thought it over and decided to turn from their sins. Such people will not die. 29 And yet the people of Israel keep saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right!’ O people of Israel, it is you who are not doing what’s right, not I.

30 “Therefore, I will judge each of you, O people of Israel, according to your actions, says the Sovereign Lord. Repent, and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you! 31 Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? 32 I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live!

Ezekiel 18 NLT

Personal Responsibility — You ARE Guilty!

This immediately reminded me of when Jesus healed the blind man...

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.

John 9:1-3 NLT

Key Points

you can't be free if you're a slave to religion
  • Your past does not determine your future! Likewise, whatever your parents did doesn’t fall on your shoulders either. The Israelites used the excuse that they worshiped the pagan idols because their parents worshiped the pagan gods . That’s like me saying that I HAVE to go to a Catholic Church because my parents were Catholic. NO! You, as an adult individual, have the responsibility to discover the truth about the salvation of Jesus Christ. Don’t let deviant tradition keep you on a path to hell.
  • It’s interesting that they would blame their parents for the sins they were committing. That practice actually started in the Garden of Eden. At the Fall of Man, when God confronted Adam and Eve, Adam blamed Eve and Eve, in turn, blamed the serpent.
  • God’s little parable resembles Judah’s good king, bad king, good king history. Hezekiah was a good king. His son Manasseh was a horrible, evil and wicked king. Yet, Hezekiah’s grandson, Josiah, was the last good king of Judah. His parable was something the Israelites could relate to.
  • Only through the redemption that Jesus offers can you be free of the judgment of God.
  • When you surrender your life to Jesus, you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you. You become a New Person, you have a New Life, you are born again!
  • Without the Holy Spirit, a “good person” can easily turn to sin and be condemned. All your “good deeds” are forgotten because, on your own, you can never be good enough to get into Heaven and be called a Child of God.
  • God is just and fair. That’s why He warns us over and over again. Back in Ezekiel’s day, they were under the Old Covenant. God laid down the law and they had to obey. If they obeyed, they were blessed. If they didn’t obey, they were cursed. Unfortunately, that’s why they ended up in the Babylonian Exile.
  • Each person will suffer for their individual sins. It’s only through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that we are redeemed from the Judgment of God.
  • When we become born again, all of our sins are forgiven and forgotten forever.
  • God doesn’t enjoy passing judgment on us. He wants us all to have eternal life with Him! Otherwise, why would He sacrifice His only Son to take on the judgment for our sins in our place? Pastor Sandy Adams explains…

God doesn’t relish judging anyone. It’s God’s will for us all to follow Him.

Perhaps you’re an alcoholic, from a long-line of alcoholics…maybe you have a same-sex attraction you’ve had for as long as you can remember… God’s will and ways still apply to you! And you can change!

You might feel that you’re trapped – you’re boxed in to a destructive lifestyle [or religion] – you feel powerless. But you can be the person God intends you to be. He says in verse 31, “get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” Even if we are born a certain way, we can be born again! This was made possible through the New Covenant. It was paid for by Jesus on the cross. And we receive a new heart by trusting Him and His Spirit.

Ezekiel closes the chapter in verse 32, quoting God, “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!” As 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” God does have a jingle (proverb or saying), but not, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?” His jingle is 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Sandy Adams


Where you spend eternity — Heaven or hell — is your choice and it’s a decision that you need to make NOW while you’re still alive and coherent.

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

In Christ Alone

God So Loved

Left Behind After the Rapture Series

1 thought on “Ezekiel 18: You are not Guilty of Your Parents’ Sins, but are Responsible for Your Own”

  1. Wonderful message and indeed very insightful. Enjoyed every piece of this article. May God continue to use you mightily.
    Evg. T. C. Wanyanwu
    Author of the book titled JESUS IS A BLACK MAN

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