Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Ezekiel
Book: Ezekiel
Chapter: 18

God has No respect of persons. (1-20) The Divine Providence is
vindicated. (21-29) A gracious invitation to Repentance. (30-32)

1-20 The soul that sinneth it shall die. As to eternity, every
Man was, is, and will be dealt with, as his conduct shows him to
have been under the old Covenant of Works, or the new Covenant
of Grace. Whatever outward sufferings come upon men through the
sins of others, they deserve for their own sins all they suffer;
and the Lord overrules every event for the eternal good of
believers. All souls are in the Hand of the great Creator: he
will Deal with them in Justice or Mercy; nor will any perish for
the sins of another, who is not in some sense worthy of Death
for his own. We all have sinned, and our souls must be lost, if
God Deal with us according to his holy Law; but we are invited
to come to Christ. If a Man who had shown his Faith By his
Works, had a wicked son, whose character and conduct were the
reverse of his parent's, could it be expected he should escape
the Divine vengeance On account of his Father's Piety? Surely
not. And should a wicked Man have a son who walked before God as
righteous, this Man would not perish for his Father's sins. If
the son was not free from evils in this Life, still he should be
partaker of Salvation. The question here is not about the
meritorious ground of Justification, but about the Lord's
dealings with the righteous and the wicked.

21-29 The wicked Man would be saved, if he turned from his evil
ways. The true penitent is a true believer. None of his former
transgressions shall be mentioned unto him, but in the
Righteousness which he has done, as the Fruit of Faith and the
effect of Conversion, he shall surely live. The question is not
whether the truly righteous ever become apostates. It is certain
that many who for a time were thought to be righteous, do So,
while ver. 26,27 speaks the Fulness of pardoning Mercy: when
Sin is forgiven, it is blotted out, it is remembered No more. In
their Righteousness they shall live; not for their
Righteousness, as if that were an Atonement for their sins, but
in their Righteousness, which is one of the blessings purchased
By the Mediator. What encouragement a repenting, returning
sinner has to Hope for Pardon and Life according to this
promise! In verse 28 is the beginning and progress of
Repentance. True believers watch and pray, and continue to the
End, and they are saved. In all our disputes with God, he is in
the right, and we are in the wrong.

30-32 The Lord will Judge each of the Israelites according to
his ways. On this is grounded an exhortation to repent, and to
make them a new Heart and a new Spirit. God does not command
what cannot be done, but admonishes us to do what is in our
power, and to pray for what is not. Ordinances and means are
appointed, directions and promises are given, that those who
desire this change may seek it from God.