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Ezekiel 18

Can someone pay for others' sins? (Ezekiel 18)
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.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Muslims often quote this text to disprove the notion that the Jesus died for our sins.They say that according to this passage neither sin is inherited, not can someone else be accountable for others' sins.

So does this passage from Ezekiel prove the Christian concept of salvation wrong?.Let's see.

We have to understand the contexts in which various parts of the Scripture are written.

When Adam sinned, according to the Bible, all creation was condemned along with him and the coming generations will also bear the price of the Adam and Eve's sin (Genesis 3:15-19, Romans 5:12-14).

Moreover, even in the Old Testament, we find verses which talk about inheriting sin:

Psalm 51
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,  
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
This is David himself affirming what our Muslim friends generally ascribe to Paul.

So now, the question arises, how can we reconcile the above passages with the one from Ezekiel?

It is simple.The quotation from Ezekiel was spoken for the Israelites.It has a legal meaning.

Israel was a nation under the rule of the Law in this world.So it is within this system that whoever breaks any Law, only he or she only will be held accountable for that transgression (cf. Deuteronomy 24:16).For example, a couple committing adultery will be stoned to death, their parents or children will not be punished for that SPECIFIC act.

It is in this sense that the "sons will not bear the sins of their fathers"

So, as we can see, this passage contradicts neither the teaching of inherited sin, nor does it cancel out Christ's death for our sins.

God Bless You.

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