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Let’s turn back to Ezekiel chapter 18 for the next in our series on “Social Justice and the Gospel.” While you’re looking up that chapter, I just mention to you two things. If you haven’t checked the Grace to You website you should at, because there is a series of five articles, five blog articles on social justice and the gospel. We’ve completed that series as of Friday, so that’s available to you. There also is a statement called “The Statement on Social Justice,” you can Google that and find it; and it is a doctrinal statement that delineates clearly the biblical perspective on these particular issues. I think you’ll find both the statement on social justice and the articles on the Grace to You website very helpful to you.

We will continue in our look at chapter 18. I thought for a while I might be able to get through this time, but we’ll have to save the finish for the next time. But I want to remind you of what we’ve learned from this chapter. You heard it read in its entirety earlier, so you know the flow and the significance of it.

But I would remind you that my concern about the issue of social justice and the gospel, as I’ve been saying for the last couple of weeks, is the evangelical church is putting itself in a very difficult situation to preach the gospel by affirming the social and sort of political and ideological perspective of the social justice movement, because the social justice movement is based on the fact that there are in the world victims, victims, victims of other people’s choices, victims of other people’s sins, victims of other people’s transgressions. Those people may be in a family. Those people may be in current society. Those people may have lived a hundred, two hundred years ago, and may have lived thirty, forty, fifty years ago; but that we’re all victims of things that other people have done. This is a basic human delusion that man is good, that I’m basically good, and if there’s any bad in me it’s because of what somebody did to me. This victim mentality has literally taken over our entire society, and it’s sad to see the evangelical church accepting the fact that all these victims seems to deserve legitimate consideration for their victimhood.

The Bible does not define us as victims, it defines us as perpetrators of crimes against God, as criminals, as culprits, as blasphemers, as haters of God, as enemies of God. We have basically amassed a lifetime of sin and transgression, iniquity against God for which judgment has been pronounced on us. That judgment is physical death, spiritual death, and eternal death, which is conscience punishment in hell outside the presence of God forever. This has always been throughout all of redemptive history and church history the message of gospel preachers, that people are not victims, they are sinful.

Now remember that dominant human sin is pride. The dominant human sin is pride, love of self, self-preservation, self-protection. So man spends a lot of his energy convincing himself that he is good, and if something’s wrong in his life somebody else did something that caused it, not him.

But when you come to the Word of God the Bible describes all of us as human beings in this world, all of us being sinners, in language that is anything but good. We are evil, there’s no good in us, we have no capacity for good; even the good that we think we’re doing is filthy rags. John Bunyan once said, “The best prayer I ever prayed had enough sin in it to drown the world.”

Mankind minimizes the doctrine of sin, the doctrine of total depravity; and when man does that he then cuts himself off from understanding how desperately he needs the good news of the gospel. That is why faithful preachers always preach on sin and death and judgment. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and righteousness and judgment. We are called to warn sinners of coming judgment and everlasting hell; and we learned in Ezekiel already, and echoed by Jeremiah, that if we don’t do that the blood of the sinners who are judged is on our hands.

When God speaks of the condition of humanity He uses terms like death, and darkness, and blindness, and hardness, and bondage, and slavery, and incurable sickness, and alienation, and ignorance, and condemnation, and judgment. But the world of sinners does not want to hear that language, that is why that has largely disappeared from the evangelical world, which is so busy trying to make the world like them that they have stripped out all that offends.

As we saw last week, man as a sinner, has a default position. His default position when confronted with his sin has always been to blame someone else. The first sinner was Eve, she blamed the snake. The next sinner was Adam, he blamed not just the woman, but God who created her.

This is the default position of all sinners: they find someone else to blame, and ultimately they blame God. “God made the world the way it is. God made me the way I am. God put me where I’ve been. God subjected me to this course of history that now has turned me into a victim.” And as long as sinners think they are good people who have been victimized, there’s no interest in the gospel, particularly if they have been victimized by God. Why would they run to God to be delivered from their sin when He’s the one that made them victims to start with?

“If Christians preached there’s only one true and living God, and God is absolutely sovereign, and God is the author of history, and God determines everything and every life, and every event is within the framework of His sovereign purpose, then I am what I am, where I am, in the midst of the circumstances I’m in because of God. It’s His fault.” Though you not only blame the sinners around you, you not only blame the sinners in your house or those who gave you birth, you not only blame the sinners of past generations, but ultimately you blame the larger context, which is who you are, where you are, when you are in the world; and that’s when you start blaming God.

That’s not new. It was Eve essentially blaming God for the snake; He created him. It was Adam essentially blaming God for the woman; He created her. This is what sinners do. So at the very outset of gospel preaching what you want to do is deliver sinners from the delusion that they are victims of the sins of anyone else. They are on the way to being victims of their own sin and their own sin only. And when the church embraces this victimhood and validates it, it is cutting people off from the pathway to the gospel.

The current social justice frenzy has become a new way that sinners can blame somebody else – past generations, present powers, people they know, people they don’t know. Everybody is a victim. The status then lets them shift blame: hate other individuals; resent other individuals, other groups, other generations. They feel like they’re victims of certain racial attitudes, attitudes toward gender, attitudes toward sexual preference, attitudes toward economic status, toward culture, plethora of other victim categories. And nearly everyone now is searching for some kind of victimhood. Psychologists would tell them that they probably were victimized as children but they can’t remember it, so they would go into repressed memory just for the sole purpose of uncovering some supposed victimhood so they can have someplace to belong in this completely victimized culture.

If you’re not a victim of anything you have no moral authority and nothing to say, get out of the conversation. Everybody needs to have had at least a microaggression. You’ve got to have some category of victimhood to divest yourself of the responsibility for the fact that your life is what it is because of your own sin. All this blame-shifting and unwillingness to face sin and rebellion and rejection of God’s Word and God Himself and the gospel keeps people from coming to salvation.

Now we can’t allow this to happen. Evangelical church is so caught up in affirming everyone’s victimhood that they are cutting off the opportunity to bring them to the gospel. The sinner must be confronted with his own and her own desperate condition before God, and it’s all on every individual.

Now that is the message of Ezekiel 18, individual responsible. That is his point. Verse 4 we saw, “The soul who sins will die.” Verse 20, “The person who sins will die.” That’s the theme here. People are sinful, they die in their own sins. That is a truism that cannot be denied, because everybody dies. There’s the proof, everybody dies. The wages of sin is death, everybody dies, therefore everybody’s a sinner; and everybody as a sinner is in rebellion against God and under divine judgment, headed for eternal hell, unless they believe the gospel, unless they repent and their life is marked by righteousness.

Now that is what Ezekiel wants us to understand. He’s a judgment preacher; he refuses to allow people to see themselves as victims. Ezekiel is a prophet, he’s over in Babylon. He’s preaching to Jewish exiles who have been taken there as essentially captive slaves, and what happened was in 605 the Babylonians came and began to conquer the land of Israel. What was remaining was still the southern part of Israel, the area of Judah.

And the Babylonians came in 605, took some people away, a first deportation. They came back in 597, took more Jews, tens of thousands of Jews back into captivity. Ezekiel was with that group in 597. And still there will be another deportation in 586 B.C., and at that time Jerusalem will be destroyed and so will the temple. That hasn’t happened.

So Ezekiel is in that second deportation. He’s over in Babylon. He’s preaching to the exiles there warning them that more judgment is to come, and that it’s coming not only on the land of Judah, not only on Jerusalem, not only on the temple, but it’s going to come on the lives of all who do not do righteousness, who do not live righteously; and Ezekiel is preaching repentance and calling people to turn from their sin.

This sermon in chapter 18 is a remarkable, remarkable gospel sermon. Gospel means good news; but in order to get to the good news, you have to accept the bad news; and this is the bad news, at least at the beginning, and the good news comes toward the end.

Now we said it’s divided into three sections. Section Number One: The sinner’s delusion and God’s reality. The sinner’s delusion and God’s reality.

What is the sinner’s delusion? You remember it, don’t you? “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, “The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge”?’” That’s the sinner’s delusion. “We’re suffering, but our fathers sinned.”

That same expression exactly, that same proverb – as I called it last time, a meme – that same statement was addressed by Jeremiah who was preaching back in the land of Israel. So Jeremiah’s a prophet at the same time; he’s back in Israel. He’s saying, “You’re saying the same thing: ‘We’re suffering for the sins of a prior generation.’” That is what the exiles were saying: “We don’t deserve this, we’re good people. The Lord is punishing us for something that our ancestors did.”

God’s reality speaks then to the sinner’s delusion, verse 3: “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore. Stop saying that, it is not true. Behold,” – verse 4 – “every soul is Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die. No one is the victim of another person’s sin, everyone has an individual account with Me; and the soul who sins will die. Your spiritual death, your physical death, and your eternal death are related to your own sin.”

I told you last week about Proverbs 19:3, which says, “The foolishness of man ruins his way, and his heart rages against God.” Man ruins his own life and blames God.

Yes, it is true, our conditions, the conditions in which we live in the world are affected by other people. We’re all in this sinful condition because of Adam’s sin. But there have been past generations who have messed up this world significantly, and we’ve inherited the world that they gave us. And there is a worldly culture existing now that is corrupting this world at a rapid speed that’s almost breathtaking; and, yes, they cause levels of corruption that we have to face and we have to endure. It is true that corruption is passed down to us from past generations, and spread among us by present generations. But no individual person will ever be judged on the sin of someone else.

Whatever the culture you live in and whatever its corruptions, you’ll be judged for your own sin and your own sin alone. God says, “No more tolerance for you saying, ‘We are suffering because somebody else sinned.’” God doesn’t operate that way. “You’re suffering because of your own sin.” In a sense He’s saying, “You know better than your ancestors.”

So having made the statement of His reality as against the backdrop of their delusion we come to Point Two in verses 5 to 20. And we started it last time, we’ll go through it quickly this morning. This is God’s reality illustrated. We saw God’s reality stated, here’s God’s reality illustrated. We saw the sinner’s delusion stated, and here’s the sinner’s delusion defended.

So God says, “Let Me help you to understand.” This I’m going to give you a series of illustrations, really a three-part illustration. The point is this: the soul who sins will die, the nephesh, the person who has committed the sin dies for his own sin. God judges every person individually, and here’s His illustration. And there’s, first of all, a grandfather, then a father, and then a son. So it goes through three generations of sinners.

And we’re going to learn what passes from one generation to the next. Does sin pass from one generation to the next? Are children held responsible for their parents sin? Does righteousness pass from one generation to the next? Are sinners benefitted by the righteousness of their ancestors? That is what we’re going to see in this text.

Now I want to give you an insight as we start. It’s all about the works that people do. This is all about the works that they do, and we’re going to see them all laid out, certain behaviors; God judges on behavior.

Now let me say this so you understand it. We are not saved by works, we are saved by faith, we are saved by grace. We will be judged by our works because our works are the manifest evidence of our nature. We are not saved by works, we will be judged by our works. That is why you see in Romans chapter 2 this very same kind of judgment.

Verse 5 of Romans 2 talks about the righteous judgment of God. Righteous judgment of God says in verse 6, “who will render to each person according to his deeds.” He will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, He gives them eternal life. To those who are selfishly ambitious, do not obey the truth, obey unrighteousness, He gives them wrath and indignation.

Judgment is based on works. The unbelievers will be judged on their works. God is keeping a record of every work, every deed, every thought, every action of every unbeliever; and in the end when they come before the great white throne to be judged they will be judged on the record of their deeds.

The same is true of believers. In the day that we see God we will be judged by our works. Our works are the manifestation of the transformation of God in our lives. Righteous people do righteous people, unrighteous people do unrighteous things, and therefore the behaviors give evidence of the nature. So judgment is always on the basis of works, that’s why God keeps a record of those works.

Now let’s meet the righteous grandfather in verse 5: “A man is righteous.” Okay, he’s righteous. How did he become righteous? We know the answer to that: “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.”

When you believe God – and now, of course, with the gospel and Christ having come – when you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, God grants you righteousness. His righteousness is imputed to you. Paul says, “That’s why I don’t have a righteousness of my own, but the righteousness of God imputed to me through faith in Christ.” This is the great gift that God gives a believer: He grants him his own righteousness, covers him with His own righteousness.

So here’s a man who is righteous. As a result of being righteous by faith he practices justice and righteousness. Those two are together nine times in this text, they go together. His life is marked by justice and righteousness, justice meaning he does right with regard to everyone else.

Righteousness means he does right in his own life. And here are the illustrations: “He doesn’t eat at the mountain shrines.” This is a hypothetical grandfather. “He doesn’t eat at the mountain shrines, doesn’t lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, defile his neighbor’s wife,” – that’s idolatry and then adultery; he doesn’t do that – “doesn’t approach a woman during her menstrual period,” – that was forbidden for the sake of keeping her from unnecessary diseases in ancient times – “if a man does not oppress anyone, restores to the debtor his pledge,” – when you loaned money to someone you took some goods as a pledge – clothing, tools, whatever it was – you gave it back when he paid you back; he doesn’t keep his pledge – “doesn’t commit robbery, gives bread to the hungry, covers the naked with clothing, if he doesn’t lend money on interest or take increase,” – you couldn’t lend to another Jew with interest, you had to loan him the money without interest; and increase mean usury, exorbitant, high interest – “if he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man, if he walks in My statues and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully,” – that is with integrity – “he is righteous” – there it is again.

Verse 5, “A man is righteous.” Verse 9, “He is righteous,” stated again. How do we know he’s righteous? Because of this kind of life. “That man will surely live,” declares the Lord God. He’ll never know divine punishment, he’ll never know spiritual death and eternal death.

Now notice, there are all kinds of things that manifest a righteous life, and they are practical things. He doesn’t worship idols. He doesn’t commit adultery. He’s taking very good care of those in his charge, particularly his wife. He doesn’t oppress anybody. He gives back what he owes. He doesn’t commit robbery. He feeds the hungry. He covers the naked. He loans money without interest. He keeps his hand from iniquity. He executes true justice between man and man. Divine justice – he operates according to God’s laws. This is not some kind of socialistic ideology, he operates according to God’s laws; and they’re laid out explicitly in Leviticus, you can see them, some of these laws related to man to man even in the nineteenth chapter of Leviticus. He executes true justice.

In general, verse 9, “He walks in My statues, My ordinances.” He live with integrity. “He is righteous, he will live.” There’s the first point that the Lord wants Ezekiel to make. This man’s going to live because he’s righteous, and it shows up in his life.

But what about the next man, verse 10? This is the father, from the grandfather to the father. “Then he may have a violent son who sheds blood and who does any of these things to a brother (though he himself did not do any of these things).” The grandfather didn’t do any of these things, but he has a violent son who murders people and does all the rest of those things that his father didn’t do.

“He eats and the mountain shrines,” – verse 11 – “he defiles his neighbor’s wife, he oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, doesn’t restore a pledge, but lifts up his eyes to the idols and commits abomination, he lends money on interest and takes increase; will he live? He will not live! He has committed all these abominations, he will surely be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.”

What is the point? The point is simply this: having a righteous father did nothing for him. Righteousness does not cross generational lines. Having a righteous father does nothing for the son. When the son lives a violent, murderous, adulterous, oppressive, corrupt, selfish life, his blood will be on his own head.

Now I want to remind you of a parent. If you have warned your children like a watchman, given them the gospel, told them about judgment, confronted sin, you’ve done your duty; or perhaps to a spouse, or perhaps to a family member or a friend, you have committed the gospel to them, you have warned them. As we saw earlier in Ezekiel, you have to be a faithful watchman and warn of judgment, or the judgment falls on them and their blood’s on your hands if you haven’t warned them. But even as a parent, if you have done that and your son rejects the gospel and does all of these things that are the very opposite of what you did, there’s no blood on your hands. His blood is on his own head. He is held responsible for what he has done, or she, as the matter may be.

The righteousness of parents is not passed to the next generation, not through any kind of rite or sacrament or baptism or anything. The righteousness of one generation is not passed to the next. That next generation is judged by its own life and works. Having a godly father doesn’t protect, the credit doesn’t pass down. He will die, because he has committed all these abominations. He will surely be put to death, his blood will be on his own head. He will die in judgment, fully guilty, fully responsible.

Now what if that person has a son? Verse 14, “Now behold, he has a son who has observed all his father’s sins which he committed, and observing does not do likewise.” He follows the pattern of his grandfather, not his father. “He does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor’s wife, or oppress anyone, or retain a pledge, or commit robbery, but he gives bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, he keeps his hand from the poor,” – that is he doesn’t abuse the poor and defenseless – “does not take interest or increase, but executes My ordinances,” – the Word of God – “and walks in My statutes; he will not die for his father’s iniquity, he will surely live.”

There’s the main point here. No person is being punished for somebody else’s sins; not a prior generation; not even your own family, your own father’s sins. “He will not die for his father’s iniquity, he will surely live.”

As I said, no one is a victim of anybody else’s sins. We all stand responsible for our own sins, we stand responsible for God, and the only criteria by which we will be judged eternally is the record of our own behavior. God would not punish a son for the sins of his father, and God would not withhold punishment from a son for the righteousness of his father. So here is God’s truth stated in verses 1 to 4, and then God’s truth illustrated.

How did the sinner’s respond? Well, they defended their delusion. Verse 19: “Yet you say,” – now I’m going to go back to what I said at the beginning. This is the default position of sinners; they don’t give up this territory very easily. These are exiles who know the law of God, who have been preached to regularly by this prophet Ezekiel. They know the Old Testament, they know what it says, and yet they cling to their own sense of innocence. And so, this is a remarkable response.

“Yet you say, in spite of what I have told you, in spite of what God has said, you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity?’ In spite of what I’ve said, in spite of that truth, you’re still clinging to the idea that the son is bearing the father’s punishment, and you actually say, ‘Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity?’”

Why do they say that? It seems like a strange thing to say. Aren’t they criticizing God for doing that? And then why are they justifying it and saying, “Why should it not be that way?” Answer is very simple: this is fatalistic, cynical sarcasm directed at God. What other explanation is there?

“We don’t deserve it.” They fight to hold onto that delusion. “We don’t deserve it. So this is how it is. Why should it not be this way? We’re trapped in this fatalism. We’re trapped in this fate that You, God, have placed on us. You have predetermined our destiny and there’s no way out. How else can we explain our sufferings?”

They will not let go of the idea they are victims, so it has to be that they just cynically, sarcastically say, “Well, huh, this is on You, God, this is on You. This is You, You did it. You made the world this way.” Their predicament is proof they are good people being mistreated by history. And who’s in charge of history? God. They yield to their hopeless fate, and they decide that this is God’s fault, and they’re going to keep saying it.

They become more bold, if you look at verse 25 – we’ll see this next time. “Yet you say,” – same introduction as we saw in verse 19 – “yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’” Then verse 29, “The house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’”

Now get the picture here; they are blaspheming God: “God, You’re not righteous, You’re not just. We don’t deserve this.” They cling tightly to their innocence. “There’s no other explanation in the universe for the situation that we’re in except You did this to us.” They would eagerly declare the Lord God unholy, unrighteous, unjust, before they would admit their own wretched wickedness.

You see how strong the sinner’s resistance is? Strong, strong resistance. The sinner will shake his fist in the face of God before he’ll yield up the delusion of his own goodness.

Now here again we’re brought to understand the basic starting point of the gospel. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And the wages of sin is what? It’s death. Stop blaming the world. Stop blaming who you are, where you are, the circumstances you’re in, and thereby blaming God.

And if you are being told that there’s only one true God and it’s the Sovereign God of Scripture, then it’s the Sovereign God of Scripture who got you into this mess, and you’re going to shake your fist in His face and deny your culpability, He’s certainly not going to be the one you go to for salvation. You’re not going to see Him as a God of love and mercy and grace and tenderness and compassion. In fact, you’re actually going to think that He gets some pleasure out of this. That would be consistent that, “Hey, You must like doing this, God, because this is how You operate in the world.”

That’s why God later in the chapter makes very clear, wonderful statement, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,” verse 23. Verse 32, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked. It’s not what pleases Me. It’s not what pleases Me.”

And then God responds by reiterating the truth, verse 19, middle of the verse, “When the son has practiced justice and righteousness and has observed all My statues and done them, he shall surely live. The person who dies” – verse 20 – “is the person who sins. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.” You must stop playing the victim. You are the criminal, you are the rebel; you’re facing judgment for your own sins.

There’s a third section. I’ll just introduce it to you briefly and then we’ll look at it next time. It starts there in verse 21. We saw God’s truth stated, first point; God’s truth illustrated, second point. Here is God’s truth offered, here’s the invitation. It’s full of pleading, full of pleading. Notice just glancing down how many question marks there are here as God questions the direction that sinners go.

So God’s truth was stated, illustrated, and now offered. And we saw the sinner’s delusion declared, and we saw the sinner’s delusion defended, and here we see the sinner’s delusion retained. Verses 20 to 29 are just amazing, because they show how even when God lays out His truth again, sinners cling tightly to their transgressions.

Just the first three verses, starting at verse 21, “If the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statues and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he would turn from his ways and live?”

God is pleading here. This is God’s truth offered to them. “If you turn from your sins and turn to observe My statues and practice justice and righteousness, you will live and not die; and all the transgression of one who turns, all which he has committed will not be remembered against him. Because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. That’s what pleases Me.”

That’s the good news. The goods new is that when you turn from your sin and you follow the path of righteousness and obedience, your sins are completely forgiven, and they will never be remembered against him. You heard Psalm 103 earlier, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” We can never forget His benefits because He can never remember our sins.

That’s the gospel. And now we know what Ezekiel didn’t know, that all of this is possible because Jesus Christ has borne in His body our sins on the cross, taking the wrath of God on behalf of all who believe. Your sins can be forgiven if you come to Christ, because He paid for them on the cross. That’s the gospel. Doesn’t help sinners to coddle their sense of self-protection, their sense of being victimized by someone else.

God is pleading now with Ezekiel’s generation and every other generation, including ours. Forget what you don’t like about the world you live in. You might not be fully satisfied with who you are, what you are, where you are, when you are. But that isn’t the issue. The issue is, “Turn from your sins and obey the Word of God, and you will live and never die; and He will never remember your sins again, they will all be forgiven; and you will live forever.” That’s what pleases God.

The church is in the process, sad to say, of moving rapidly away from that message, the message of sin and death and judgment and hell, to agreeing with the world that people are just victims of somebody else’s iniquity. And as long as we keep affirming that we push them away from the gospel.

You say, “Oh, yeah, but people who are into social justice today, they’re not against the gospel.” They will be. They will be, because they’ve already decided they’re going to give the world what the world wants to hear. They’re not going to be satisfied with this, they’re going to want to hear even less. And that means the gospel will disappear.

The good news is you’re a sinner on your way to hell, but you don’t have to go there. Turn, repent, come to God through Christ. He will make you righteous. He will enable you to live a righteous life. You will be the possessor of eternal life. When you face Him in judgment, He will grant to you the fullness of joy in His presence forevermore, and you will really live forever. More to come, but that’s for next time.

Lord, thank You again this morning for such a blessed time of fellowship and worship. Thank You for the encouragement of time in prayer, as well as music, fellowship, all that’s gone on here even this morning. We’re deeply grateful that You loved us and sent Your Son to be the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but the sins of the whole world. Thank You for providing a sacrifice that could satisfy Your just requirement, one who could take our punishment so You would be free to forgive us.

Lord, may there be many this day who recognize that they are the criminal, they need to repent, turn, seek Your righteousness, seek – as he says later in the chapter – a new heart and a new spirit, which only You can give, and cry out to You for forgiveness and salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ. That’s our prayer. Do that work in hearts we pray in the Savior’s name. Amen.

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