26A20. Ezekiel 18:25-28. God is the only source of life; everything or everyone else apart from God can only produce death. Iniquity or sin is a rejection of God as our source of life. The fruit of sin is death that has no redemption. What counts at the time of judgment is where our life is at the time of judgment. If God finds us on the right road of the straight and narrow at the time of judgment, we are on our way to heaven. On the other hand, all the past good we have done will not cancel out the present state of sin we are in.
Matthew 21:28-32. Ezekiel’s reading parallels today’s parable. Yesterday’s sin is wiped away by today’s change of heart. However, today’s sin is not wiped away by yesterday’s goodness. The ‘yes’ that the chief priests and elders said to God yesterday does not gain for them forgiveness for today’s rejection of Jesus. On the other hand, the tax collectors and prostitutes who were sinners yesterday but today accept and follow Jesus are on their way to heaven. The old saying is that we are sinners on our way to becoming saints; not saints, on our way to becoming sinners. We can never become complacent on our way to heaven. This world, the devil and some of our own natural tendencies can easily put us back on the wrong road.
Philippians 2:1-11. “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory.” Jesus said in Luke 9:23-24: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Original sin, imbedded in human nature, calls us to grab everything for ourselves before others get it. That is life lived on the basis of the survival instinct, where all our lives are all about oneself and those one considers part of oneself. Jesus demands that we live in him and he lives in us (John 14:4) or that we lose our grep on own lives so that we can live in his life-giving strength and will. Paul says that Jesus emptied himself of living only in a divine state in heaven but humbled himself by taking on human nature. His infinite love for us led him to become human so that he could sacrifice himself for the sake of our redemption. “Because of this, God greatly exalted him” so that we may all declare that “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” If God is everything for us, then we will have everything that is good and have it forever.