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Ezekiel 18 (New International Reader's Version)

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People Will Die Because of Their Own Sins

1 A message came to me from the Lord. He said, 2 "You people have a proverb about the land of Israel. What do you mean by it? It says, " 'The parents eat sour grapes. But the children have a bitter taste in their mouths.' 3 "You will not use that proverb in Israel anymore," announces the LORD and King. "And that is just as sure as I am alive. 4 Everyone belongs to me. Father and son alike belong to me. People will die because of their own sins. 5 "Suppose a godly man does what is fair and right. 6 And he does not eat at the mountain temples. He does not worship the statues of Israel's gods. He does not have sex with another man's wife. He does not make love to his own wife during her monthly period. 7 He does not treat anyone badly. Instead, he always gives back what he took as security for a loan. He does not steal. Instead, he gives his food to hungry people. He provides clothes for those who are naked. 8 He does not lend money and charge too much interest. He keeps himself from doing what is wrong. He judges cases fairly. 9 He follows my rules. He is faithful in keeping my laws. He always does what is right. You can be sure he will live," announces the LORD and King. 10 "But suppose he has a mean son who harms other people. The son commits murder. Or he does some other things that are wrong. 11 Suppose he does those things even though his father never did. "Suppose he eats at the mountain temples. And he has sex with another man's wife. 12 He treats poor and needy people badly. He steals. He does not pay back what he owes. He worships statues of gods. He does other things I hate. 13 He lends money and charges too much interest. Will a man like that live? He will not! You can be sure he will be put to death. And what happens to him will be his own fault. He did many things I hate. 14 "But suppose that son has a son of his own. And the son sees all of the sins his father commits. He sees them, but he does not do them. 15 "Suppose he does not eat at the mountain temples. And he does not worship the statues of Israel's gods. He does not have sex with another man's wife. 16 He does not treat anyone badly. He does not make people give him something to prove they will pay back what they owe him. He does not steal. Instead, he gives his food to hungry people. He provides clothes for those who are naked. 17 He keeps himself from committing sins. He does not lend money and charge too much interest. He keeps my laws and follows my rules. He will not die because of his father's sin. You can be sure he will live. 18 But his father will die because of his own sin. He got rich by cheating others. He robbed his relatives. He also did what was wrong among his people. 19 "But you still ask, 'Is the son guilty along with his father?' No! The son did what was fair and right. He was careful to keep all of my rules. So you can be sure he will live. 20 People will die because of their own sins. The son will not be guilty because of what his father did. And the father will not be guilty because of what his son did. The right things a godly person does will be added to his account. The wrong things a sinful person does will be charged against him. 21 "But suppose a sinful person turns away from all of the sins he has committed. And he keeps all my rules. He does what is fair and right. Then you can be sure he will live. He will not die. 22 None of the sins he has committed will be held against him. Because of the godly things he has done, he will live. 23 "When sinful people die, it does not give me any joy," announces the LORD and King. "But when they turn away from their sins and live, that makes me very happy. 24 "Suppose a godly person stops doing what is right. And he commits sin. He does the same evil things a sinful person does. He does things I hate. Then he will not live. I will not remember any of the right things he has done. He has not been faithful to me. He has also committed many other sins. So he is guilty. He will die. 25 "But you say, 'What the Lord does isn't fair.' Listen to me, people of Israel. What I do is always fair. What you do is not. 26 "Suppose a godly person stops doing what is right. And he commits sin. Then he will die because of it. He will die because of the sin he has committed. 27 "But suppose a sinful person turns away from the evil things he has done. And he does what is fair and right. Then he will save his life. 28 He thinks about all of the evil things he has done. And he turns away from them. So you can be sure he will live. He will not die. 29 "But the people of Israel still say, 'What the Lord does isn't fair.' People of Israel, what I do is always fair. What you do is not. 30 "So I will judge you people. I will judge each of you in keeping with what you have done," announces the LORD and King. "Turn away from your sins! Turn away from all of the evil things you have done. Then sin will not bring you down. 31 Get rid of all of the evil things you have done. Let me give you a new heart and a new spirit. Then you will be faithful to me. Why should you die, people of Israel? 32 When anyone dies, it does not give me any joy," announces the LORD and King. "So turn away from your sins. Then you will live!
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