I’m reading through the Book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel is in the land of Babylon and prophesying about what will happen to the remnant still left in the land of Israel. It’s not a positive outlook. The people in Israel are determined to continue in their sins, totally disregarding God. I came across some verses that stopped me in my tracks. I thought to myself, These are among the scariest verses in the Bible. Here is what Ezekiel wrote: “Therefore, son of man, say to your people, ‘If someone who is righteous disobeys, that person’s former righteousness will count for nothing. And if someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.’ If I tell a righteous person that they will surely live, but then they trust in their righteousness and do evil, none of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered; they will die for the evil they have done” (Ezekiel 33:12-13). So, God is speaking to the Israelites of impending judgment due to prolonged and present wickedness. Some were trusting in their own previous righteousness. Maybe they had served God for many years and done many good deeds. However, the warning is clear. Just because you have served God in the past gives you no assurance if you abandon the Lord and give yourself to doing evil. For me personally, this gives me a healthy sense of the fear of God. Even though I have served the Lord since I was a teenager, I cannot trust in my past ministry or good deeds as a “license” to do my own thing. In other words, the challenge here is to live for the Lord in the present and to end well. I suppose some would say this kind of thinking leads to a lack of assurance of salvation. However, I absolutely believe in the assurance of salvation rooted in our trust in the Lord Jesus. But, to abandon this trust and to place our trust in ourselves and our “righteousness” puts us in a dangerous place. Let’s take God at His Word and continue to persevere in our faith in Christ…demonstrating this faith through trust and obedience!
Pastor Mark Boucher