Ezekiel 33: 12-16
“Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’ When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live.”
The above passage speaks about the difference between righteous and wicked men. And how God deals with them if they turn from their ways. Here it says that a person who led a holy life all throughout but leads an unholy life later on, the good done by him will not be remembered. Though it may seem to be a bit unfair or cruel, that’s how serious God is when it comes to sin. We can view that with an example. Say, a runner is competing in a 400m race, is it of any use if he runs fast and steady for the first 300m and then stops? No, it isn’t, because the prize is for the runner who finished the the entire race. When we look at the above verses from this light, it begins to make more sense. We may also read 1 Corinthians 9: 24-26 to highlight this further.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.”
Whereas, for the wicked person too God has kept this matter in mind. If the wicked turns from his evil ways, hears the Word and turns to the Lord, the evil done by him will not be remembered. This is not to say that there are no consequences for wrongdoing. There is. Because God is righteous, there will certainly be consequences for the wrong done. But more importantly, a soul will be saved. During Jesus’ crucifixion, we read about 2 robbers flanking Him on the Cross. One repented from his ways. Luke 23: 40-43 is as below
“But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
True repentance began the moment the robber realized he had done wrong and he accepted the punishment he was given. Did Jesus send His angels to rescue him? No. The repentant robber died but there was an eternal life kept for him because Jesus saw and knew his repentance was real.
If you had been walking through the right path but somehow lost your way in between, please turn back to Him. If you have been walking the sinful path all your life but you’ve heard the message of Jesus and you are convicted of your sins, repent and turn to Him. It is never too late to repent and put aside the ways of the world for He is indeed only a prayer away.