Today we reinforce a key learning about individual accountability. While some believed that parents’ sins were visited upon future generations, in fact each person is responsible for their own sin and grace is the same. No one else can have faith in God for you…
5 After the kingdom was firmly in his grasp, [Amaziah] executed the officials who had murdered his father the king. 6 Yet he did not put the children of the assassins to death, in accordance with what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses where the Lord commanded: “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.”
One of the confusing concepts in ancient times was whether children would be punished for the sins of their parents. The issue is clarified for us in Deuteronomy 24:16 and Ezekiel 18:20, and now in this story about king Amaziah. He had several people executed for murdering his own father. And when the assassins were dealt with, Amaziah did not kill the assassins’ children.
The idea is that parents will not be punished for their kids’ sin and children will not be punished for their parents’ sin.
Each person is responsible for their own sin.
Now, I have a slight issue with this because when my own children were in trouble with their school, somehow I had to attend the Principal’s office. My question to them was always, ‘Why, when you did something wrong, did I get a detention?‘ What happened to me, however, is not how God deals with us.
God deals with each of us according to our own sin. Let’s take a moment to be thankful for that truth…
Now brace yourself for the accompanying truth which perhaps matters even more. The faith of my parents does not count for my personal salvation. My relationship with God is my own, and my trust in his sacrifice for me in the person of Jesus Christ is what matters in heaven. My parents’ faith is the test for them.
There is individual responsibility to deal with truth of Jesus in each of our lives.
So where are you? Especially if you are a young person, have you been relying on the faith of your family or your upbringing or your tradition? A religious tradition, even if it is Christian in nature and practiced diligently, is not a substitute for faith in God through Jesus. We must only rely on the person of Jesus and his grace for our eternal relationship with God.
Today is a good day to take stock of your own relationship with God.
Get personal and don’t rely on anyone else for your future with the Lord.