Can a Christian be cursed with generational sin? Part 3

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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.

Can a Christian be cursed with generational sin? Part 2

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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.

Can a Christian be cursed with generational sin? Part 1

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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.

Third
, 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?’

Care because Christ cares

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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.

Thoughtful concerns of an apostle

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Much of the Apostle Paul’s writings express his concerns for the health of the New Testament Church. Paul understood Jesus words on the relationship between spiritual health and behaviour. Every state of inner health bears its own unique fruit; “every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 7:17).

Paul, like Jesus, gets to the point quickly once he’s evaluated who he’s speaking with. So, Jesus crystalized the truth on spiritual health; “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:18). Jesus spoke with such black and white words in order to be clear and definitive. Likewise, Paul does the same for the same reason.

Consider Paul’s confidence in Timothy. He was a younger man replicating Christ’s concern for God’s children. Paul says; “I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare” (Philippians 2:20). Our Churches need more forward believing, forward concerned people like Timothy. Believers benefit from being part of a congregation possessing this degree of dependable concern for each other. Concern, not so much for the frivolous matters of life; but concern for the whole person that takes the required time with the needed patience. This concern has Christlikeness, purity, biblical truth, marriage and family relationships, plus the raft of everyday health and well-being issues which we all live with at its heart.

The Church of Jesus Christ needs to “take care… lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13). Sin can so easily seduce you through self-centred thinking. Since in God’s wisdom, He has designed His Church with Christ as the head and not the almighty “I”, we need to look out for each other on Christ’s behalf.

Genuine Christ-like character is concerned about the Saviour’s glory (1Co 10:31) and how to glorify Christ through our relationships. It longs for opportunities to express the loving grace of God into other’s lives for the purpose of salvation, then sanctification, then glorification (Rom 8:29-30; 1Co 1:30; 1Th 4:3). Along the way there will be discipleship in personal life issues, healing and recovery from pains, and victories over sinful inner strong-holds.

The holiness of fellow Christians should captivate our attention. How easy it is for us to lose focus of God’s design, His desire for His Church. God’s eternal plan is straight forward; “those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:30). Therefore, we Christians should walk in unity with Christ; encouraging, uplifting, equipping, and exhorting one another to selfless, holy, and more joyfull mature living for Christ (Eph 4:12-16).

Christ’s selfless character is our bullseye target in personal development; “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). But how do you do this? “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). When you have a thought for self, chose to have a similar thought for others. When you plan to treat yourself, plan to treat another also. When you pray for self, pray first for others. When you dream to bless self, dream and plan to bless others.

I encourage you today, to check your priority of concerns. Align them with God’s concerns, Christ will be honoured, others will be blessed, and you shall be satisfied.

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