Q. My question is, how do you interpret Ezekiel 18:24 in the light of OSAS? I believe fully that the saved person can’t be lost, but wondered about this text. I have been greatly helped by your website, thank you very much.
A. Ezekiel 18:24 was written to Old Testament Israel and says, “But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.”
The Church is the only group in the history of man to be promised Eternal Security. Even the post church believers who will go through the Great Tribulation are not given this assurance, but must be responsible for their own faithfulness (Rev. 14:12).
Ezekiel 18 is God’s response to Jews who claimed that they were being punished for the sins of their ancestors, not for their own, when God sent the Babylonians against them. He took the opportunity to state His views on personal responsibility, which can be summed up in verse 4. “The soul who sins is the one who will die.”
But even then, everyone who came to the Temple with a sacrifice offered in faith of a coming Redeemer who would save them had their sins set aside. One big difference between the Old and New covenants is that their sacrifice only covered past sins, while ours covers future ones as well. (Hebrews 10:14) Therefore, walking away from God’s provisions for their sins canceled everything they had done in the past, and that’s the point of verse 24.