written by Shelly McGraw
1 Timothy 1:12-20; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 4; 1 Timothy 5:17-22; Ezekiel 18:21-32
No one has a perfect family tree. No matter how “put together” someone seems, there’s always a heritage of mistakes, regrets, and skeletons just waiting to be discovered.
For some, it’s a legacy of substance abuse or other addictions. For others, it’s unbelief, greed, malice, selfishness, theft, or envy.
No matter what’s in your family tree, the cycle of generational sin can be broken in your life and in the lives of your children and grandchildren.
When it comes to passages in the Bible that speak of generational sin, these are probably two of the most popular:
5 …I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me. ~ Exodus 20:5
20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them. ~ Ezekiel 18:20
At first glance, it appears they contradict each other. But a careful look at the context paints a different picture.
Choices Have Consequences
In Exodus 20:5, God is warning that an individual’s sin and the resulting consequences will affect their children and their children’s children.
I can think of generational sin in my own family that has resulted in subsequent generations dealing with the consequences of choices made decades and even centuries before. In fact, some of the same exact sins seem to manifest over and over, generation after generation.
Have you ever stopped to think about your family heritage? Do you notice similar struggles or weakness presenting with each new generation? Are there individuals in your family today that are living differently because of choices adults made when they were younger?
Start A New Legacy
In our reading of Ezekiel chapter 18, however, God is giving an encouraging word that generational sin may affect you, but does not have to define you. There’s freedom in Christ to break the chains of sin and there is healing for those who have been forced to deal with the consequences of someone else’s choices.
This section of Scripture is a promise that the wicked will pay for their deeds and the righteous will not be held accountable for their parent’s or ancestor’s rebellion.
There is hope and restoration in starting a new generational legacy of faithfulness, goodness, and obedience-a godly heritage of faith and God’s love.
The heritage of your future descendants starts with what you choose today.
3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness. ~ Psalm 145:3-7
I praise you today for the life You breath into me when I spend time with You through Your Word. Lord, I pray for my family and loved ones. I pray for healing for those who are struggling with addiction, shame, anxiety, or anger. I ask for restoration of faith, restoration of physical bodies, and restoration of sound mind so we may be healed and break the cycle of generational sin in our lives. God, I pray that you use my life as a testimony that there’s freedom in Christ and hope for the future, regardless of where or who we come from.
If you would like to join us in reading through the New Testament during the rest of 2017, go to the YouVersion Bible app found on iTunes and click on the OWNit365 reading plan.