Blogging the Bible 214 – Ezekiel 17-21

How much are we judged for our own sins and virtues, how much for those of our society?
In the midst of the continued warning to Israel that her national sin is leading her into national judgement and disaster, God in chapter 18 spells out a distinct message. Each person will be held accountable for her or his own actions, not those of others. And there is room for change in either direction. The unrighteous who repent will be judged on the basis of their new lives, but their old. So will the righteous who fall away from God’s path.
Perhaps the ‘personal’ / ‘social’ question on judgement isn’t either / or but ‘a bit of both’. We share in the life and fate of our society, and when that society heads away from God it will find judgement in the consequences of its actions, if nothing else. We are all involved in the life of society and much of our life will rise of fall with those around us. Yet in the midst of that we are also individuals, with our own part to play and our own responsibility for how we do so. And this is not about some kind of withdrawal into a private ‘spiritual’ realm of life. The virtues and sins which Ezekiel gives as examples are a combination of religious, sexual, economic, charitable and just plain integrity of the lack of it.
Whatever happens around us, we’re part of it – and whether ‘around us’ prospers or falls apart, it’s our own decisions and actions for which God holds us accountable.

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