Read Ezekiel 14
Focus on verse 20
I had an unexpected visit today from a very nice couple that came to my door to drop of some literature from the religious organization to which they belong. They were polite and friendly, and we had an amiable discussion as they attempted to convince me of where I was wrong in my theology. At one point I asked them if they would say they were at the point in their spiritual life that they knew with certainty that they would spend eternity with God. After some hesitation the answer was “no I would have to say I do not know that”. They then tried to explain that it was their belief that it is impossible to know that with certainty, because it hinges upon their own personal righteousness, which they attempted to validate with some impressive sounding, but out of context, verses out of the book of Job.
In today’s reading in Ezekiel we find God addressing the issue of human righteousness. He writes, “even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it (the city of Jerusalem), as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.” (v. 20)
The point that is being driven home here by God through Ezekiel is that human righteousness is not enough. It falls short of saving anything beyond the righteous individual. This is why humanity needs a deliverer…a savior, whom God provided in the person of Jesus Christ many years after Ezekiel prophesied.
Jesus clearly claimed to be God on several occasions in the New Testament. According to Old Testament law it was a serious offense (blasphemy) for a human to falsely claim to be God. This was one of the reasons the religious leaders felt obligated to try stoning Jesus to death when he made this claim in Capernaum. (John 8:57-59)
I’ve encountered more than a few people who deny the deity of Christ claiming that He might have been a prophet and was certain a good man, but not God. As apologist and author C.S Lewis pointed out, there is a fundamental problem with that line of thinking. Of all the things Jesus could be – just a good man – is not one of them! A good man, who was just a man, would not openly claim to be God. He might have been a lunatic, and He could have been a liar, but either of those would disqualify Him from the “good man” category. The only other possibility is the He actually was who He claimed to be – that He actually IS God! One of the names the Bible uses for Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God with us”.
Jesus was the only human who lived a perfectly sinless life. He had to be human in order to take the place of humans when He died on the cross, but if He had been only human He could have only died in the place of one other human – which in this case would have been Barabbas. He had to be divine in order for His sacrifice to be infinite – covering all the sin of all humanity, so God provided the perfect sacrifice in Jesus, the perfectly righteous God/man, who makes it possible for us to know with certainty that we have the hope of eternal life with Him.