UNDERSTAND the FAIRNESS of GOD’s JUDGMENT: Therefore you, O son of man; say to the house of Israel: thus you say, "If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?" Say to them: 'As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die O house of Israel?' Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: 'The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.' (Ezek 33:10-12)
Even though God’s message through prophet Ezekiel is to the whole house of Israel, but its application was to be made on an individual basis. This is called “the doctrine of individual moral responsibility”. God was not dismissing a person’s previous life in the sense of having no interest in it. Rather God emphasizes here that in the entire course of his/her life a person is free to change, through repentance and become accepted by God.
Due to their individual sins and transgressions before God many Israelites ask in despair: “How can we then live?” How many people even today have lost all hope and are in depression and despair. The Lord’s answer is: “REPENT” or, “TURN AWAY from your wickedness”. There is hope for the worst sinner, but the only hope is in turning from sin. When the people complained that God’s dealings with them were not just, God denies this and reminds them that He will pardon a wicked man who confesses and forsakes his sin; also, He will punish a righteous man who turns to wickedness.
In punishing Israel God was actually being faithful to His covenant stipulations with Israel. This covenant had been approved by the Israelites by agreeing to its commands and accepting the consequences of breaking them, both corporately and individually (see Exodus 19:1–9; Deut. 27). God presents His rationale in these verses for deciding who would be rewarded with life and who would suffer death: He would save those who repent and turn to Him, but would condemn those who trust in themselves and do evil. After presenting His rationale, God declares that His judgment is just and fair.
Each day we have many opportunities to choose to live righteously. As individuals, we are responsible for our actions, and our destiny is determined by our choices. What God wants from us today is true repentance – turning away from our sins and turning to God!
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart-- these, O God, You will not despise." (Psalms 51:17)