No List - He'll Live

No List - He'll Live

02 September 2010

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 17-19; Revelation 7


21 “But a wicked person who turns his back on that life of sin and keeps all my statutes, living a just and righteous life, he’ll live, really live. He won’t die. 22 I won’t keep a list of all the things he did wrong. He will live. 23 Do you think I take any pleasure in the death of wicked men and women? Isn’t it my pleasure that they turn around, no longer living wrong but living right—really living? (Ezekiel 18:21-23 MSG)

Bad theology leads to misunderstanding who God is and how God thinks and acts. Here Ezekiel deals with two errors that influence how we usually think about sin and its consequences.

Error One: God blames parents for the behavior of their children and children are stuck with the patterns of behavior they learn at home. Truth: God said that there are good kids of bad parents and bad kids of good parents and he’ll deal with each one just as they are. Fact: This doesn’t mean parents aren’t responsible for teaching, training, and exemplifying godliness to their kids.

Error Two: God is primarily a judge who is looking to throw the book at anyone who steps out of line. Truth: God is ready to forgive and tear up the ticket! God doesn’t want to bring judgment on people, he takes delight in seeing people turn their backs on sin and living good lives. Fact: This doesn’t mean that sin has no consequences, but it does mean that God is a God of forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

It’s human to look at life’s wrong turns and hardships and try to decide whose fault it is. It’s Godly to look at life’s wrong turns and hardships and try to make it better.

It’s human to put people (including ourselves) in boxes – “loser” box, or “never do anything right” box, or “sinner” box. God is developing a box-free community of Christ-followers who actually can and do change. We can change life-long patterns of attitude and behavior, even the ones learned in our childhood. We’ll live. God tears up the list when we face the truth and turn to his life-transforming grace.


Father, Please help me get my unconscious theology straight about me and about other people. Please remind me how good you are and how eagerly you tear up the list and how delighted you are when we do better. Fill us with faith to change. Amen.

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