Ezekiel 18:24 Explained
(No, you cannot lose your salvation!)
By David J. Stewart
"But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die."
The best way to interpret the Bible is with the Bible! I've read so much heresy surrounding Ezekiel 18:24. As an example, the Congregational Holiness Church, the Wesleyan Holiness Movement, and the Charismatic Movement all misinterpret Ezekiel 18:24 to teach that a Christian can lose their salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Oral Roberts and his family came from the Holiness Movement out of Oklahoma. He was a product that came from the Latter Rain Pentecostal Movement of the late 1940’s, and was a well known demonic faith healer. Taken by itself out of context, Ezekiel 18:24 does appear to support the doctrine that a man can fall away from salvation. However, as you will see from other Scriptures in Ezekiel, this is NOT the case at all.
Ezekiel 33:12-13 states ...
"Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it."
Did you read that? ... “If he trust in his OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS.” This is the heart of the matter here. God is simply condemning self-righteousness. The New Testament states in Romans 10:3-4 ...
“For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
To claim that a person who commits sin can lose their salvation is to totally ignore such powerful Scriptures as Genesis 15:6 concerning Abraham, “And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.” The Apostle Paul plainly stated in Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” These Scriptures clearly eliminate “works” as a necessity to one's eternal salvation.
The damnable heresy which falsely teaches that a believer can lose salvation is nothing less than a form of Lordship Salvation. Whereas the Lordship Salvation crowd teaches that a person must forsake their sins to be saved; the eternal insecurity crowd teaches that committing sin will cause a person to lose salvation. BOTH heresies are based upon self-righteousness.
Just Get On the Ark
Why cannot men just leave God's salvation alone. Salvation is as easy as getting on the ark.
The ark represents salvation. Getting on the ark is representative of one's faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice in Genesis 7:16 that God closed and sealed the door to the ark, so that no one could either leave nor enter. Genesis 7:16, “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and THE LORD SHUT HIM IN.” God shut Noah, his loved ones and the animals safely in the ark. This represents the Biblical doctrine of Eternal Security, which teaches that salvation can never be lost. Salvation is completely 100% of God. We have no part in God's salvation other than to get on the ark by faith, i.e., by believing on Jesus as the Son of God, the Christ, Who came into the world to save sinners. Thank you Lord Jesus!
Noah preached righteousness for 120 years; but not even one person cared enough to heed the gospel warning. No one obeyed God. Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:37,38 that it would once again be in the Last Days as it was IN THE TIME OF NOAH. Matthew 24:37-38: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.”
The Gospel Defined in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4
The gospel saves us. The Bible defines the gospel in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 as the DEATH, BURIAL an the RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ for our justification. If a person acknowledges their guilt of sin for breaking God's Commandments, and receives Jesus' death, burial and resurrection as payment for their sins, then they are saved my friend. Jesus paid it all, by the shedding of His blood. Simply receiving God's gift of eternal life is all we nee to do to get to Heaven.
Nearly all people today are sold-out to Satan. Most of them don't realize it; but rather, just think they're doing their-own-thing. That's exactly what the Bible tells us in Matthew 24:37-38... the people were just having a good time, living for them selves, partying, eating, drinking and marrying. The term “giving in marriage” I believe is a reference to parties and feasts, as we see it is something different than marriage which is mentioned separately. Also notice that there's no mention here of drunkenness, fornicating, or wild debauchery parties.
Although horrible sins abound everywhere in our demonic U.S. society today; the greatest sins of all are pride, indifference, and selfishness. Philippians 2:21, “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.” This is a horrible sin. No one cared in Noah's day about seeking God, except Noah and his immediate family. The world went to Hell. If only 8 people survived the flood, prey tell me why should we think that millions of people are going to be saved today in these Last Days? Jesus even addressed the issue of there not being any faith when He returns (Luke 18:8). Instead, everybody just wants to have a good time these days.
Enjoying life is not a sin by itself; but it is a sin if that's all you do and God has no place in your life. In Noah's time the people were eating, drinking and marrying; but not one of them heeded Noah's Gospel preaching, not one of them. Nobody took Noah seriously. Noah was a novelty to them, just as the Bible has become a novelty, take it or leave it, to so many people today. That's why God, the Bible and prayer were kicked out of all our public schools. In so doing, we have invited the Devil in.
Ephesians 2:8-9 is clear on the matter of salvation ... "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Again, carefully read Romans 4:5... "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
This does not give the believer a license to sin, which is clearly evident in Romans 3:28,31, "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law ... Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Just because we are saved by faith without works does not give us a license to sin.
Tom Brown is a Charismatic false prophet who pastors in El Paso, Texas. Here is a quote from one of his writings, which will allow you to see firsthand how such sinister ministers misinterpret Ezekiel 18:24 ...
God was the first to ask whether or not people could lose their salvation. We find God asking this question in Ezekiel 18:24: "'But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sins and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live?'" God is asking, "Will he live, if he departs from his righteous ways?" And what was the answer? "'None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will DIE.'"
SOURCE: (Can Christians Lose Their Salvation?)
In Lieu of Ezekiel 33:12-13, it is clear that Ezekiel's warnings were to the unsaved self-righteous; not believers... "When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered..." Anyone who trusts "in his own righteousness" was never saved to begin with!!! Carefully notice that the Bible says a man's righteousness won't be remembered only if he trusts in his OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS. This is why Romans 10:3 warns people about trying to establish their OWN righteousness.
In contrast, a man who trusts in the Lord for his salvation, even if he become backslidden--his good works will NOT be forgotten. Proof of this doctrine is in Hebrews 11:32 which lists king David as a great man of faith. Yet, it was David who impregnated Bathsheba in an adulterous affair and then murdered her husband, Uriah, in an attempt to hide his sin. David was a righteous man, not because of his own works; but because he trusted upon the Lord's righteousness. Abraham BELIEVED GOD in Genesis 15:6, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
What a wonderful God, who has made salvation free and simple! Are you trusting in your own self-righteousness? If you believe that you can lose your salvation, then you are indeed self-righteous my friend. Salvation is of God; not man. Please read, The Simplicity of Salvation by Dr. Jack Hyles.
Mr. Brown is misguided and wrong to teach that believers can lose their salvation. In sharp contrast, the Word of God teaches that once a lost sinner is saved, they're always saved ... "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise ... And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30).
The moment a person trust Christ as Savior, that person is SEALED with the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Holy Spirit, God Almighty, comes to live inside that believer forever). The new birth in Christ is as irreversible as is our physical birth. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 states, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." To claim that a believer can lose salvation is to say that one who is a new creature (i.e., born again) in Christ can become an old creature again. There is NO such teaching in the Scriptures. "Once saved, always saved" is Biblically correct. The whole matter is put to rest by Romans 4:5 ... "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
What the Bible Says is So (by Pastor Roy Thompson)