How does Jesus Christ dying on the cross mean paying for our sins?

(Deepak Kumar) #1

Hi everyone, if everyone must pay for their own sins as says the Ezekiel 18:20, then how Jesus Christ dying on the cross means paying for our sins. As the Ezekiel says The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Ezekiel 18:20 KJV
So, it can be concluded that Jesus dying on the cross was a fake thing, saying he died for our sins.

(Kathleen) #2

@purposeseven_7 - Thanks for this deep and loaded question! In the theological world, the question of what Jesus’ death accomplishes falls under the category of the doctrine of atonement, and I am not sure if a direct parallel can be drawn from Ezekiel 18. That is, Ezekiel 18 doesn’t seem to be referring to (or voiding) the practice of sacrificing an animal as atonement for sin as much as it seems to be voiding generational responsibility for sin. It must have been true in Israel up to that point that a son could be punished for a father’s sin (and vice versa), and Ezekiel delivers the word of the Lord that this will no longer be the case.

If you’d like a better parallel passage in the Old Testament re. the point of Jesus’ death, have a look at Leviticus 16. Also, if you click the magnifying glass icon at the top and type in ‘atonement’, so can find several other threads of conversation that could help with this doctrine. :slight_smile:

(Jimmy Sellers) #3

@purposeseven_7, Thank you for the question. I have a link below that will answer part of the question. “Do children pay for the sins of there fathers?” Payment here, meaning death not the consequence of a parents sin.

So, if a man robs a bank, will God punish that man’s son, even though the son had nothing to do with the robbery? Absolutely not. However, it is quite possible that the father who robbed the bank is making life more difficult for his son, through the natural consequences of his crime. Also, if the man is training his son in the techniques of bank robbing, then there is a good chance the son will follow the same path of dishonesty. In that case, the sin is copied by the son, and the punishment for the sin follows.

As to the second part of your question, no, Jesus’ death for the sins of man is not a fake. I think they are two separate issues.

The death of Jesus can be viewed as

  • The Victory of God, over sin and death, Hebrews 2:14-15

  • The love of God. On the cross he show his love for us individually and corporately as his redeemed children, John 3:16

  • The Justice of God. Sin demands justice and Jesus paid the price that you and I are/were unable to pay. Romans 1:18-3:26

I hope this helps and it would be great to hear your comments on this.

(Deepak Kumar) #4

You misunderstood my question. The question is Ezekiel says everybody must pay for their own sins ,then how can jesus pay for our sins. Read 1 John 2:2.

(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #5

Here is commentary for Ezekiel 18, if it helps:

This may also be helpful:

This link doesn’t directly deal with your question but he does address Ezekiel 18 briefly.

(Andrew Bulin) #6

This passage in Ezekiel addresses specifically the proverb mentioned in verse 2:

What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying,‘ The fathers eat the sour grapes, But the children’s teeth are set on edge’?

This passage has nothing to do with the final solution of Christ’s sacrifice providing salvation for all. Ezekiel is addressing a theological belief born out of an abuse of Deuteronomistic theology developed in Israel’s early formation. Previously we can see that YHWH dealt with Israel corporately as seen in the generational curses in some matters. However, this is not an absolute, and is contrary to God’s dealing with childrens’ sins separate from the parents (Deut. 24:16), or the removal of only one generation in the desert rather than the removal of the children too (Num. 14:28-33).

This passage is likened to Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 31:29-30 NASB
[29] “In those days they will not say again,‘ The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ [30] But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge. …

It is important to know why the people were making this complaint to begin with:

Lamentations 5:6-7 NASB
[6] We have submitted c to Egypt and Assyria to d get enough bread. [7] Our fathers sinned, and are no more; It is we who have borne their iniquities. …

This time period is marked by the oppression of outside forces due to the sins of the previous generations. God’s people were in the process of being completely removed from their promised land and carried off into exile.

So what about the people who were faithful? What about the people who were not sinning as their fathers, kings and priests? God does not promise them to be outside of the conflict and exile, but to survive it (Jer. 29:10, 38:18, Ezk. 6:8).

The non sequitur conclusion that this disproves that Jesus’ death on the cross for the atonement needs to be carefully reevaluated. To assume that only the lifestyle and actions of an individual will be that which saves or condemns them starts to sound like a doctrinal belief that salvation is works based.

This is precisely why we need Christ Jesus’ eternal sacrifice on the cross for the final and permanent atonement of sins. We have the history of the Israelites trying to live up to the standard of the law while still falling up short (Rom. 3:19-20).

This is one of my favorite stories from Ravi about why the cross:

Salvation belongs to God. It cannot be purchased or won out through right living and as we try, we wind up causing more harm and even sacrificing others for our behalf. If God sees no one as good, no not one (Ps. 14:1-3), then we need a solution. God has provided that very solution through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

I hope that is helpful in some way and I really enjoyed looking into this passage. :slight_smile:

(Lori Walker) #7

Everyone has made excellent points.

As for the verse itself, I believe the point it is trying to make is don’t sin. If you keep sinning knowingly, it leads to death. You cannot attempt to pay for another’s sins even if you tried, much less redeem yourself. It would be like trying to bear one another’s pain (as an example). It simply cannot be done by man. Only God can do this, and He did when he sent Christ to die on the cross for mankind.

You would never be able to help pay for someone else’s sin, or your own, or your son’s, or your father’s. If we choose to sin, there are consequences no one else can take away. It’s cause and effect, just like any other action, and God loves us enough to warn us about it. This is my interpretation, though I am not a scholar or eschatologist.

I’d also like to point out in addition to what others have said, Ezekiel is part of the Old Testament, not the New Testament. When Christ died for mankind’s sins, a New Covenant was made and it changed everything in this respect. Jesus died on the cross and took everyone’s sin debt upon himself, all the pain and suffering, for everyone who has, or ever will live. I cannot think of any greater love or sacrifice. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be separated from The Father on the world’s behalf. Amazing grace, indeed. Blessings to you, @purposeseven_7 and I hope you find what it is you seek. Blessings to you. :heart:

(Deepak Kumar) #8

Thank you everybody for sharing your thoughts on the question I had. After reading your teachings, it has helped me to clear the doubt. Thanks once again everybody. Love and blessings to you all.

(Andrew Bulin) #9

Thank you for the great question! It helped challenge my thinking and gave me time to look into some wonderful passages. Blessings to you and your family. :slight_smile:

(Trisha Wood) #10

Is it not appropriate to say that God set the standard for the payment for man’s sin nature and Jesus was the only One Who could satisfy His standard?
In order for His sacrifice to satisfy God’s requirement for an individual, each person must accept that gift as an atonement for the sin and sin nature he or she has recognized as theirs to repent of.

(Kathleen) #11

Hi, @Truthseeker7! Yes, that seems to be a squarely orthodox understanding. :slight_smile: I often wonder, though, if the first statement could be phrased just a bit differently. I’m not disagreeing with you, but bear with me as I externally process some of my thoughts…

I lean towards thinking that it’s not so much that God ‘sets’ a standard as much as He is the standard. That standard does not exist separate from Him. That is, the moral law flows out of who he is: holy, pure, good, etc. The consequence of sin is death not only (or just) because God says so, but because to turn away from life (i.e. to sin) is, in itself, is death. And, yes, Jesus, as the true, full human being, ultimately does what we cannot do for ourselves - completely fulfil the requirements of the moral law, enabling us to be reconciled to God. :slight_smile: