October 2019

Can a Christian be cursed with generational sin? Part 4

The arch enemy of God shrewdly blurs the line between non-biblical thinking and God’s Word. Human thinking lures people away from God’s truth with the certainty of the gospel (2Pe 1:3-9). Only Christ offers absolute freedom once for all (Heb 10:10).

Can a Christian be cursed with generational sin? Part 4Titus explains the sufficiency of salvation when he writes; “he (God) saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7).

Salvation is totally the work of God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Any and all sins are included in the cleansing regeneration of salvation. No human assistance is needed, nor can it benefit the repentant sinner one bit. Faith triggers the Holy Spirit’s response; who recreates the sinner to become a Saint, a whole new creation in Christ (2Co 5:17). Spiritual rebirth and justification are unable to be affected by ancestral sin or demons.

Paul proclaims; “For our sake he (God) made him (Christ) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). If the sins of ancestors could pass down to a Christian, then everything Scripture declares to be true of Christ is wrong. Because Christ has victory, we have victory in Him, by faith.

Those who teach the curse of generational sin often associate demon possession in the same package of error. Such people often claim you need deliverance once they have labelled you as being under the curse of generational sin. So, can a believer be demon possessed? Scripture would answer a resounding NO!

Actually; there are no biblical examples of believers being demon possessed or under a curse of ancestral sin. The New Testament only speaks of unregenerate people possessed by unclean Spirits. To be demon possessed, means they have direct and complete control over the thoughts and actions of a person (Examples: Mat 17:14-18; Luk 4:33-35; 8:27-33). Whereas, to be oppressed means they attack or use any means at their disposal to influence and direct a person into sin.

Obedience is God’s answer to oppression, not deliverance of something you don’t have. John asserts that “everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God (Jesus) protects him, and the evil one (Satan) does not touch him” (1 John 5:18). Children of God are under the protection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as Satan cannot touch Christ, so in Christ he cannot touch the believer.

Scripture declares believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:9-11; 1Co 3:16; 6:19; Eph 1:13-4), and that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). That’s because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Consequently, the Holy Spirit neither shares a believer nor moves over for any-one, especially Satan. Instead, God’s Spirit frees the believer to sanctified security and glorification.

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice… that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Faith focuses on Christ and His victory more than on your enemies. It looks to your heavenly home more than this world. It rejoices in Christ’s strength more than wallowing in human weakness. Faith stands secure in the unchangeable certainties of Christ’s supremacy, not focused on or stressing over defeated enemies.

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Can a Christian be cursed with generational sin? Part 3

God’s Word speaks clearly to those promoting a curse of generational sin on the Christian. When a sinner turns in faith to Christ, dependent upon His appeasement of God’s wrath against their sin, justification takes place. Justification acquits the sinner’s guilt and declares them righteous before God. Faith recognises the sacrifice of Jesus’ life on the Cross as the only way of satisfying the justice of God (Romans 3:26).

Can A Christian Be Cursed With Generational Sin? Part 3In recognition of faith, God responds by transferring Christ’s righteousness to the repentant sinner. God’s wrath is appeased (Calmed to peace), the sinner is declared righteous, and the Holy Spirit seals the validity of the spiritual transaction. “In him [Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13).

Every Old Testament requirement of the Law was fully satisfied in Christ at the cross. The righteousness of Christ is gifted to the repentant sinner without any assistance from obedience to God’s Law. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law… the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:21-25).

Salvation is complete because it is totally worked out by God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Mankind has no part to play in the regeneration of a sinful soul. The sinners only involvement, which is enabled by God (Eph 2:8-9), is to believe.

The implication is this; if the sins of your forefathers are passed down to you as a believer in Christ, then Christ has failed. If this is true, God’s wrath still requires appeasement, and the Holy Spirit has failed to bring about rebirth and sealing. Paul speaks to this forcefully; “…you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). God will never undo the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit; not for anything or anyone.

Peter adds to this; “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ brought you to the Father without the baggage of any other person’s sins. The writer of Hebrews details this; “Therefore he (Christ) is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant” (Hebrews 9:15).

Christ’s death fully satisfies all God’s requirements for all offenses made to those people living under the controls of the Old Testament covenant. Therefore, when a sinner comes to faith in Christ, they are redeemed by the mediation of Christ which enters them into the new covenant. This new covenant was purchased and sealed as a full and complete transaction by the death of Christ (Luke 22:20). Nothing can be taken away from this new covenant, nor can anything be added to it. The transaction is done! Sin cannot get added to your account. It can never be opened for renegotiation, nor can the terms of agreement between the Father and Son be altered or even considered for an amendment. Your sins are forgiven!

I encourage you to praise God for your complete and secure salvation.

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Can a Christian be cursed with generational sin? Part 2

When discussing consequences for sin, justice, and forgiveness, it’s important to remember God’s character. Isaiah described the Lord’s nature this way; “The Lord is ready to show you mercy; he sits on his throne, ready to have compassion on you. Indeed, the Lord is a just God; all who wait for him in faith will be blessed” (Isaiah 30:18 NET). The prophet Micah further explains; “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love (Micah 7:18).

Can A Christian Be Cursed With Generational Sin? Part 2With God’s nature in mind, think of Israel’s sin of idolatry. When Israel turned from worshipping idols to worshipping God; He saved them and He removed the curse (Jdg 3:9, 15; 1Sa 12:10-11). In giving the warning against idolatry to Israel (Ex 20:5), Jehovah never intended for it to become a permanent or irreversible consequence for people guilty of idolatry. So, even in Old Testament times, there could be total freedom from the so-called curse of generational sin through repentance.

For us today, the sufficiency of Jesus death and resurrection is the larger issue being challenged by alleged generational curses. If God can still condemn someone for another’s sin, Christ’s death has obviously failed miserably. This limits salvation, with no real change in your relationship to God. If the guilt of another person’s sin can be transferred to you as a believer, the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is redundant.

However, the Word of God is clear regarding the atonement sufficiency Jesus accomplished on the Cross of Calvary. Faith in Jesus’ substitutional death brings total forgiveness. Because of this certainty, Paul could boldly state; “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). In Christ, there is no partial forgiveness, no partial freedom, and no partial condemnation.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of a generational curse in your life, rest assured, that only existed temporarily for Israel in the Old Testament. However, God’s remedy for idolatry today is still repentance through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and living a life set apart to Him. This remains the only once-for-all solution.

The apostle Paul explained this to the Church at Rome; “…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:1-2). Stop thinking and behaving like you did before you came to Christ. Stop thinking as other people tell you to think. Think as God’s Word thinks. Behave as God’s Word instructs you to behave. Then you will experience the liberating transformed life of Christ.

Salvation is not some half-hearted act on God’s part. The New Testament language is definitive and clear; “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10). God does not partially save you while partially leaving you under condemnation for sins committed by your ancestors. Repentance of sin, confession of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, and belief in Christ as your substitute on the Cross brings full and absolute justification before the Lord (Rom 3:21-24).

I encourage you to rejoice in knowing that God the Father sees Christ’s righteousness in you, if you believe.

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Can a Christian be cursed with generational sin? Part 1

When unable to explain life’s problems, well-meaning people sometimes suggest that you could be under a curse for the sins of an earlier generation in your family. The implication is obvious; God is judging you for ancestry sin. So, I thought we should take a few weeks to explore what God’s Word has to say on this matter.

Where does this idea come from?  
It’s extrapolated from the Old Testament Law; then wrongly applied to Christians today. When God gave the Law to Moses, He detailed severe warnings for Israel’s idolaters (Idol worshipers). The Lord said to Moses; “You shall not bow down to them (Idols) or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me” (Exodus 20:5. c.f. Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9).

As we all know, children often copy the wrong behaviour of their parents. In this sense, Exodus implies that the repeated sin of idolatry continued from one generation to the next. For God, idolatry is hatred toward Him. So, in giving the Law through Moses, Jehovah explained the consequences for those families guilty of idol worship.

A few observations
First, generational judgement was not for any old sin that all parents find themselves guilty of. No, this was specifically for those Israelite families guilty of bowing down to idols in violation of the first two commandments (Exodus 20:3-5). God was warning Israelite families that the guilt of continued idolatry brings a curse for future generations as part of the Old Testament Law. This consequence was specifically for the nation of Israel, and for the specific sin of idolatry.

Notice how the Lord followed the generational judgment with the corresponding generational blessing for obedience of the same first two commandments. God’s multiplied His mercy thousands of times more than His judgment when He committed to “showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:6).

Second, although Jesus reiterated much of the Old Testament Law, He never reiterated generational judgement for idolatry. In fact, the apostles didn’t repeat this Old Testament generational judgment teaching either. It was unique to Israel for a short period of time during the Old Testament era.

, the Old Testament records no less than four times where the Lord specifically reverses generational judgment of sin for the sins committed by a different generation.
* “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deuteronomy 24:16).
* “…Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. But each one shall die for his own sin” (2 Kings 14:6).
“But everyone shall die for his own iniquity…” (Jeremiah 31:30)
* “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20).

I encourage you to rejoice in God’s fairness; “Ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:3-4). Next week we shall continue our study with ‘Part 2 – Can a Christian be cursed with generational sin?’

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Care because Christ cares

It’s a terrible thing to think that no-one cares for you. While there can be many reasons for this, the ugly reality is crushing. However, the comforting news is that there is always someone who cares. Your creator God, He cares deeply. What’s more, He demonstrates His loving care in many ways, both obvious ways and subtle ways.

Care because Christ caresThe Lord’s perfect character should give you confidence to cast “all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). God’s Word records the testimonies of many people who trusted in God when all seemed lost, and God proved Himself faithful and trustworthy.

Therefore, growing out of God’s enormous loving care, the Bible speaks to this most basic human need; to feel cared for. As the Lord is caring, so His people are to be caring just as their Saviour is. In fact, every believer, every member of the Church is to “have the same care for one another” (1 Corinthians 12:25). The strongest foundation for Church unity grows out of commitment to God’s Word and loving, unbiased care for the people of God within the congregation He has placed you. Through giving care we often receive care.

When Paul was saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, amongst other things, he specifically instructed them “to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). As the members of the Church have been bought with a high price, they are highly valued by God. Likewise, beginning with Church leaders, God’s value of His Church should be remembered, and the members cared for accordingly.

There are many ways to express care, and at its best, it expresses love. The simplest smile to the greatest self-sacrificing gifts of service can express love. Love is fundamental to the Christian faith and best expresses the heart of God. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).

The most common way we experience the loving care of God is through the loving care provided by God’s people. However, we must be willing to receive the care offered, otherwise it can’t be experienced. So it is with love, unless it’s received, it’s wonderful benefits can never be experienced. Jesus invitation is as valid today as it was 2000 years ago. What He offers can only be experienced if personally received. Just as you cannot do anything to earn or achieve Jesus’ blessing, neither can another person’s faith earn you favour with the Lord.

So, Jesus says to you today; “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). Are you exhausted from trying, from labouring to make life right? Are you fed up with being unable to earn peace with God? Have the pains of life and separation from God worn you out? Are you exhausted from slaving over living independent of the love of Jesus Christ? Then today is the day to surrender!

I encourage you today, receive the loving care of Jesus Christ as your Saviour and God. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Once you have received the care of Jesus, you will be equipped to care for others with Jesus care.

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