“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.
Thoughts on Ezekiel 18:
Here is another instance where we see what God thinks about justice in relation to what He thinks about other actions we are more familiar with. Verse 9 says, “[If he] walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord GOD.” What does it look like to be righteous, faithful, obedient and someone who will “surely live”?
We know that a righteous person does not worship idols, sleep with their neighbor’s spouse, steal, cheat, and the other sins of this passage. However, I believe there are many Christian people who would lend at interest, work for great profit, idolize things, relationships, jobs, etc.
How many of us really truly are giving bread to the hungry, covering the naked with clothes and extending the hand of justice? Justice is about returning “shalom” to this world. Professor of Theology at Western Seminary, Dr. Gerry Breshears, says that justice is about “living in a right relationship with God, others, self and the rest of creation.” Beyond that, justice is living in such a way that brings others into a right relationship with God, others, self and the rest of creation.
Written by Pastor Dave