Ezekiel 18; Ezekiel 19; James 4

1 The Lord spoke to me 2 and said, "What is this proverb people keep repeating in the land of Israel? "The parents ate the sour grapes, But the children got the sour taste.' 3 "As surely as I am the living God," says the Sovereign Lord, "you will not repeat this proverb in Israel any more. 4 The life of every person belongs to me, the life of the parent as well as that of the child. The person who sins is the one who will die. 5 "Suppose there is a truly good man, righteous and honest. 6 He doesn't worship the idols of the Israelites or eat the sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines. He doesn't seduce another man's wife or have intercourse with a woman during her period. 7 He doesn't cheat or rob anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security; he feeds the hungry and gives clothing to the naked. 8 He doesn't lend money for profit. He refuses to do evil and gives an honest decision in any dispute. 9 Such a man obeys my commands and carefully keeps my laws. He is righteous, and he will live," says the Sovereign Lord. 10 "Then suppose this man has a son who robs and kills, who does any of these things 11 that the father never did. He eats sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines and seduces other men's wives. 12 He cheats the poor, he robs, he keeps what a borrower gives him as security. He goes to pagan shrines, worships disgusting idols, 13 and lends money for profit. Will he live? No, he will not. He has done all these disgusting things, and so he will die. He will be to blame for his own death. 14 "Now suppose this second man has a son. He sees all the sins his father practiced, but does not follow his example. 15 He doesn't worship the idols of the Israelites or eat the sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines. He doesn't seduce another man's wife 16 or oppress anyone or rob anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security. He feeds the hungry and gives clothing to the naked. 17 He refuses to do evil and doesn't lend money for profit. He keeps my laws and obeys my commands. He will not die because of his father's sins, but he will certainly live. 18 His father, on the other hand, cheated and robbed and always did evil to everyone. And so he died because of the sins he himself had committed. 19 "But you ask, "Why shouldn't the son suffer because of his father's sins?' The answer is that the son did what was right and good. He kept my laws and followed them carefully, and so he will certainly live. 20 It is the one who sins who will die. A son is not to suffer because of his father's sins, nor a father because of the sins of his son. Good people will be rewarded for doing good, and evil people will suffer for the evil they do. 21 "If someone evil stops sinning and keeps my laws, if he does what is right and good, he will not die; he will certainly live. 22 All his sins will be forgiven, and he will live, because he did what is right. 23 Do you think I enjoy seeing evil people die?" asks the Sovereign Lord. "No, I would rather see them repent and live. 24 "But if a righteous person stops doing good and starts doing all the evil, disgusting things that evil people do, will he go on living? No! None of the good he did will be remembered. He will die because of his unfaithfulness and his sins. 25 "But you say, "What the Lord does isn't right.' Listen to me, you Israelites. Do you think my way of doing things isn't right? It is your way that isn't right. 26 When a righteous person stops doing good and starts doing evil and then dies, he dies because of the evil he has done. 27 When someone evil stops sinning and does what is right and good, he saves his life. 28 He realizes what he is doing and stops sinning, so he will certainly not die, but go on living. 29 And you Israelites say, "What the Lord does isn't right.' You think my way isn't right, do you? It is your way that isn't right. 30 "Now I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling you Israelites that I will judge each of you by what you have done. Turn away from all the evil you are doing, and don't let your sin destroy you. 31 Give up all the evil you have been doing, and get yourselves new minds and hearts. Why do you Israelites want to die? 32 I do not want anyone to die," says the Sovereign Lord. "Turn away from your sins and live."
1 The Lord told me to sing this song of sorrow for two princes of Israel: 2 What a lioness your mother was! She raised her cubs among the fierce male lions. 3 She raised a cub and taught him to hunt; he learned to eat people. 4 The nations heard about him and trapped him in a pit. With hooks they dragged him off to Egypt. 5 She waited until she saw all hope was gone. Then she raised another of her cubs, and he grew into a fierce lion. 6 When he was full-grown, he prowled with the other lions. He too learned to hunt and eat people. 7 He wrecked forts, he ruined towns. The people of the land were terrified every time he roared. 8 The nations gathered to fight him; people came from everywhere. They spread their hunting nets and caught him in their trap. 9 They put him in a cage and took him to the king of Babylonia. They kept him under guard, so that his roar would never be heard again on the hills of Israel. 10 Your mother was like a grapevine planted near a stream. Because there was plenty of water, the vine was covered with leaves and fruit. 11 Its branches were strong and grew to be royal scepters. The vine grew tall enough to reach the clouds; everyone saw how leafy and tall it was. 12 But angry hands pulled it up by the roots and threw it to the ground. The east wind dried up its fruit. Its branches were broken off; they dried up and were burned. 13 Now it is planted in the desert, in a dry and waterless land. 14 The stem of the vine caught fire; fire burned up its branches and fruit. The branches will never again be strong, will never be royal scepters. This is a song of sorrow; it has been sung again and again.
1 Where do all the fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your desires for pleasure, which are constantly fighting within you. 2 You want things, but you cannot have them, so you are ready to kill; you strongly desire things, but you cannot get them, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it. 3 And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures. 4 Unfaithful people! Don't you know that to be the world's friend means to be God's enemy? If you want to be the world's friend, you make yourself God's enemy. 5 Don't think that there is no truth in the scripture that says, "The spirit that God placed in us is filled with fierce desires." 6 But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 7 So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you. 8 Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners! Purify your hearts, you hypocrites! 9 Be sorrowful, cry, and weep; change your laughter into crying, your joy into gloom! 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 11 Do not criticize one another, my friends. If you criticize or judge another Christian, you criticize and judge the Law. If you judge the Law, then you are no longer one who obeys the Law, but one who judges it. 12 God is the only lawgiver and judge. He alone can save and destroy. Who do you think you are, to judge someone else? 13 Now listen to me, you that say, "Today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where we will stay a year and go into business and make a lot of money." 14 You don't even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. 15 What you should say is this: "If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that." 16 But now you are proud, and you boast; all such boasting is wrong. 17 So then, if we do not do the good we know we should do, we are guilty of sin.
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