Recently someone sent me a letter about generational curses. They believed the sin they were caught up in was because of the sin of their parents. They believed that placing their faith in Christ was not enough to set them free. This is unbiblical and unsound.
There are a few verses in the Old Testament mention God cursing generations. They are Exodus 20:5; Numbers 14:8; and Deuteronomy 5:9. In each case, however, it never talks about a generational curse. It talks about the character of God and His expectations of His people. For example, in Exodus 20:5b says “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate me’
This verse shows how horrible it is to God when we worship something other than Him. This is not just another religion, or some statue, but it is anything that gets in the way with your relationship to God. He wants to be first in your life. He does not want to come second or third after your family, or your activities and other pursuits. God had a covenant with Israel. He was to be first in their lives. However, look what God says about those who love Him in the next verse. He says in verse 6 “but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love me and keep My commandments”. This verse is a contrast to verse 5. When taken together, the verses show the greatness of God. What He actually says is that He will punish the generations of people WHO HATE HIM, but that He will bless the people who love Him. This is not a generational curse. It is the direct result of a person’s choice to love or hate God. God does not punish innocent people. If He did, He would not be the God who would also go to the Cross-to atone for all sin.
When we take Exodus 20:5-6 together, we see that in context God is not talking about generational curses, but rather idolatry and unfaithfulness to Him. This is clear in Ezekiel 18:2, where God actually says
“What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge?” (2) “As I live declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel.(3)” “Behold, all soul are mine: the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die”(4)
In the rest of the chapter, God goes on to say, that if a man is faithful to God and keeps His rules, then he shall live. This verse denies generational curses. Therefore, if we choose to believe in generational curses, we choose to defy God. That is not a good position to take.
The other examples are the same. Each of them show the goodness of God to those people who love Him back. God is calling for loyalty and love, not stern punishment. The point is not to blame sons for their fathers’ sin. It is for fathers not to teach their children to hate God by not honoring God, and keeping their covenant with God. This was the Old Covenant with Israel.
The second problem with the idea of generational curses is that it denies the sufficiency of Christ for the atonement of sin, as well as denying the New Covenant of Grace. This was a problem for a few of the early churches. Paul wrote much about the sufficiency of Christ in 2Corinthians, Galatians, and Colossians. Let us take a look.
When Christ came to fulfill the Old Covenant of Works, and to bring in the New Covenant of Grace, believers were still credited righteousness because of their faith and not by their works (Ephesians 2:8-9). The author of the book of Hebrews tells us that this was the same way that Israel was granted righteousness as well. In chapter 11, the faith chapter, we see example after example of this. God expects His people to be faithful. There is a difference between the Old and the New and that difference is Jesus.
Before Jesus came, Israel showed their righteousness by honoring the covenant they had with God until the Messiah came. They had rules to follow that showed God that they cared. When Christ came, however, He fulfilled that covenant. He told the people in the synagogue that He was here to proclaim the year of Jubilee. Jesus had come to bring in the Kingdom of God, where the rules would change. Now the covenant was open to all nations just as God had promised Abraham. Anyone who would believe in Messiah (Jesus) would be able to enjoy a covenanted relationship with God. It is by faith, not by works.
This presents a problem for those who would believe in generational curses. Generational curses are based on works. One has to “be good” to get blessing. God’s covenant, however, is based not on works, but on a loving relationship; it had always been that way.
Paul addressed this in 2Corinthians 5:17-21. He tells us that when we accept Christ, we are a new creation, and the old is gone. That would include generational curses. To say that generational curses exist says that God is a liar.
Colossians 2 says that we are already complete in Christ. To believe in generational curses says this is not true. In Galatians 3, Paul tells us to remember the freedom we have in Christ. This idea also contradicts the idea of generational curses. It says that Jesus is not enough to take away sin.
We have seen that the idea of generational curses is not biblical. It is an idea that, taken out of context, focuses on man. It gives some people a way to justify their sin and it denies the good character of God and denies the power of Jesus Christ.
I would encourage you to study the following verses. Pray, ask God to show you the way.
Using a unique combination of traditional and modern electronic musical elements, David Acton produces inspirational and moving music. The album “Prodigal” presents a personal and honest collection of songs that could be described as the soundtrack for the life story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).”Prodigal” takes the listener to a place where the timeless, unconditional love of God is experienced.
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