Chapter 18

Perhaps, in reading some of the foregoing chapters, we may have been tempted to think ourselves not much concerned in them (though they also were written for our learning); but this chapter, at first view, appears highly and nearly to concern us all, very highly, very nearly; for, without particular reference to Judah and Jerusalem, it lays down the rule of judgment according to which God will deal with the children of men in determining them to their everlasting state, and it agrees with that very ancient rule laid down, Gen. 4:7; “If though doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” But, “if not, sin,” the punishment of sin,”lies at the door.” Here is, I. The corrupt proverb used by the profane Jews, which gave occasion to the message here sent them, and made it necessary for the justifying of God in his dealings with them, Ezek. 18:1-3. II. The reply given to this proverb, in which God asserts in general his own sovereignty and justice, Ezek. 18:4. Woe to the wicked; it shall be ill with them, Ezek. 18:4, 20. But say to the righteous, It shall be ill with them, Ezek. 18:4, 20. But say to the righteous, It shall be well with them, Ezek. 18:5-9. In particular, as to the case complained of, he assures us, 1. That it shall be ill with a wicked man, though he had a good father, Ezek. 18:10-13. 2. That it shall be well with a good man, though he had a wicked father, Ezek. 18:14-18. And therefore in this God is righteous, Ezek. 18:19, 20. 3. That it shall be well with penitents, though they began ever so ill, Ezek. 18:21-23, 27, 28. 4. That it shall be ill with apostates, though they began ever so well, Ezek. 18:24, 26. And the use of all this is, (1.) To justify God and clear the equity of all his proceedings, Ezek. 18:25, 29. (2.) To engage and encourage us to repent of our sins and turn to God, Ezek. 18:30-32. And these are things which belong to our everlasting peace. O that we may understand and regard them before they be hidden from our eyes!