Expository Sermon on Ezekiel 18 | The Sinning Soul

Guilty of sin

The Sinning Soul (Ezekiel 18)

Dan learned to be an alcoholic by watching his father. Whenever things didn’t go just right, his father would drink. Whenever Dan’s father needed to relax, he drank. Therefore, Dan picked up those same habits.

Children often imitate the dysfunctional patterns of their parents (Ex 34:7).

Although children learn the dysfunctional patterns of their parents, the children are still responsible for their own sins.

This morning, we need to examine the individual nature of sin.

The Sinning Soul Dies, vv 1-4

The Israelites in captivity thought that they were being punished for the sins of their forefathers.

They, therefore, formulated the proverb: “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” The meaning of that proverb is apparent—parents sin, and children pay the consequences. These Israelites thought that they bore the guilt of their parents’ sins.

The Lord forbade the use of this proverb in Israel. All souls belong to God. God created all souls. He, therefore, governs all souls.

The soul which sins shall die. Death is the penalty for sin (Rom 6:23). We aren’t punished for the sins of others—only the soul who sins shall die.

The idea of “original sin” is false. Some teach that all mankind bear the guilt of Adam and Eve’s sin. Such a view is not correct. This passage refutes such an idea. The definition of sin refutes such an idea. Sin is something one does (1 Jn 3:4). How can children commit lawlessness?

The Sinning Soul Dies for His Own Sins, vv 19-20

The Israelites could not understand why the children would not bear their parents’ sins.

Children who do what God says shall not bear the guilt of sin.

God says that each person is responsible for his actions. Many teach that one isn’t responsible for his actions. Individuals commit sexual molestation because they were molested as children. Teens kill students and teachers because they have a bad home life. God refutes this idea—each person is responsible for his own actions.

The Sinning Soul Dies Unless He Turns, vv 21-24

The sinning soul can change. If the wicked man turns from his way and does what is right, he shall live and not die. None of the sins he has committed shall be remembered against him.

God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Some have the idea that God wants individuals to be lost; such is not an accurate view of God (2 Pet 3:9). God doesn’t want you to be lost.

This passage teaches that individuals can change. Some hold out no hope for themselves. They believe that God would never forgive them. They believe that they could never change. Yet, this text teaches that God does forgive those who repent. God delights in forgiving people of their sin (Mic 7:18). God forgave those who crucified his Son (Acts 2:36-38).

This text teaches that individuals can change. Paul was a person who changed. The Corinthians were Christians who changed (1 Cor 6:9-11).

The righteous soul can change. If a righteous man turns from what is right and commits iniquity, he shall die for his iniquity. Christians can fall from grace. Galatians 5:4. 1 Corinthians 10:12.

The Sinning Soul Dies Because of Judgment, v 30

The Lord promised to judge everyone in Israel according to his works. We shall all be judged 2 Corinthians 5:10. No one is going to escape judgment. We shall all be judged according to our works (Rev 20:12).


The Lord begs his people to repent. He asks, “Why will you die, O house of Israel?” Israel could turn and live. You can turn and live. Why will you die?

This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.

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