Ezekiel 18

1The word of the Lord came to me. He said, 2“You people keep repeating this proverb. Why? You say: The parents ate the sour grapes, but the children got the sour taste. ˻You think you can sin, and some person in the future will be punished for it.˼ 3But the Lord my Master says, “By my life, I promise that people in Israel won’t think this proverb is true anymore! 4I will treat each person just the same. It won’t matter if that person is the parent or the child. The person that sins is the person that will die! 5“If a person is good, then he will live! That good person treats people fairly. 6That good person does not go to the mountains and share in foods offered to false gods. He does not pray to those filthy idols in Israel. He does not do the sin of adultery with his neighbor’s wife. He does not have sex with his wife during her period. 7That good person does not take advantage of people. If a person borrows money from him, the good man takes the collateral and gives the other person the money. And when that person pays him back, then the good man gives the collateral back. The good person gives food to hungry people. And he gives clothes to people that need them. 8If a person wants to borrow money, the good man lends him the money. And he does not charge interest on that loan. The good man refuses to be crooked. He is always fair with every person. People can trust him. 9He obeys my laws. He thinks about my decisions and learns to be fair and dependable. He is a good person, so he will live. 10“But that good person might have a son that does not do any of those good things. The son might steal things and kill people. 11The son might do any of these bad things. He might go to the mountains and share in foods offered to false gods. That evil son might do the sin of adultery with his neighbor’s wife. 12He might mistreat poor, helpless people. He might take advantage of people. He might not give back the collateral when a person pays his debt. That evil son might pray to those filthy idols and do other terrible things. 13A person might need to borrow money from that evil son. The son might lend him the money, but he will force that person to pay interest on that loan. So that evil son won’t live. He did terrible things, so he will be put to death. And he is responsible for his own death. 14“Now, that evil son might also have a son. But this son might see the bad things his father did, and he might refuse to live like his father. That good son treats people fairly. 15That good son does not go to the mountains and share in foods offered to false gods. He does not pray to those filthy idols in Israel. He does not do the sin of adultery with his neighbor’s wife. 16That good son does not take advantage of people. If a person borrows money from him, the good son takes the collateral and gives the other person the money. And when that person pays him back, then the good son gives the collateral back. The good son gives food to hungry people. And he gives clothes to people that need them. 17He helps poor people. If a person wants to borrow money, the good son lends him the money. And he does not charge interest on that loan! The good son obeys my laws and follows my laws. That good son will not be put to death for his father’s sins! That good son will live. 18The father might hurt people and steal things. He might never do anything good for my people! That father will die because of his own sins. ˻But the son won’t be punished for his father’s sins.˼ 19“You might ask, 'Why won’t the son be punished for his father’s sins?’ The reason is that the son was fair and did good things! He very carefully obeyed my laws! So he will live. 20The person that sins is the person that will be put to death! A son won’t be punished for his father’s sins. And a father won’t be punished for his son’s sins. A good man’s goodness belongs to him alone. And a bad man’s evil belongs to him alone. 21“Now, if a bad person changes his life then he will live and not die. That person might stop doing all the bad things he did. He might begin to carefully obey all my laws. He might become fair and good. 22God won’t remember all the bad things he did. God will remember only his goodness! So that man will live!” 23The Lord my Master says, “I don’t want bad people to die. I want them to change their lives so they can live! 24“Now, maybe a good man might stop being good. He might change his life and begin to do all the terrible things that bad person had done in the past. (That bad person changed, so he can live!) So if that good person changes and becomes bad, then God won’t remember all the good things that person did. God will remember that that man turned against him and began to sin. So that man will die because of his sin.” 25˻God said,˼ “You people might say, '˻God˼ my Master isn’t fair!’ But listen, family of Israel. I am fair. You are the ones who are not fair! 26If a good person changes and becomes evil, then he must die for the bad things he does. 27And if a bad man changes and become good and fair, then he will save his life. He will live! 28That person saw how bad he was and came back to me. He stopped doing the bad things he did in the past. So he will live! He won’t die!” 29The people of Israel said, “That’s not fair! ˻The Lord˼ my Master isn’t fair!” ˻God said,˼ “I am fair! You are the ones who are not fair! 30Why? Because family of Israel, I will judge each person only for the things that person does!” The Lord my Master said these things. “So come back to me! Stop doing bad things! Don’t let those terrible things ˻(idols)˼ cause you to sin! 31Throw away all the terrible things ˻(idols)˼ you made—they only cause you to sin! Change your heart and spirit! Why should you bring death to yourselves, people of Israel? 32I don’t want to kill you! Please come back and live!” The Lord my Master said those things.

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