Generational Sins and Curses

If you have been crucified with Christ, you also have become a new creation. Paul states: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17 ESV).

That’s right, you are a new creation and everything associated with your past is gone too. Every sin you have committed before you believed in Christ has been covered by His blood. This is called Justification. And if there were curses attached to you, they would all fall off like old Post-it stickers. It is exactly because Christians have not fully understood what it means to have died with Christ, be buried with Him, and then be raised with Him, that many find themselves still in bondage long after they had believed in Christ. I do not speak in judgment against them because I was one of them.

As a young believer, I feared that my marriage would end in a divorce; not because I was a terrible or unfaithful husband, but because my parents and my wife’s parents both were divorced. I was told that as a result a curse had been passed from the previous generation to mine. I lived in fear for many years of my life until I learned that I had nothing to fear because I am a new creation in Christ, and the old has passed away.

There is a doctrine that has become quite widespread within Christian circles. It is the Unscriptural doctrine of Generational Sins and Curses. According to this doctrine, a person inherits the sins and curses of his forefathers. Even when he has become a believer of Christ, those sins and curses remain with him until they are dealt with through renunciation and deliverance. Those who hold to this belief have only one verse of Scripture to support their claim: Exodus 20:5 (ESV), which says, “You shall not bow down to them 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.”

At the first glance, this verse does seem to support the existence of Generational Sins and Curses. But they don’t. Here’s why.

If Generational Sins and Curses does exist then, as a case in point, the second generation of Israelites should not have been allowed to enter the Promised Land on account of the disobedience of the previous generation. For that matter, neither should the third and fourth generation be allowed to enter the Land for the same reason. But this wasn’t the way it happened. God allowed the second generation to enter AND possess the land. Was God’s action inconsistent with His words? Certainly not. He is always consistent and constant. When God’s action does not align with His words, it is most likely our interpretation of His words that are faulty.

But upon closer examination, what most have neglected to consider are the last 5 words: “of those who hate me”. They are there for a reason. They qualify what was said just before it. In the light of these 5 words, we know that God will visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation only if they all hate Him. There was one nation that met this condition: the Amorites. In Genesis 15:16, where God was telling Abram about when his descendants will inherit the land. “And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete. (ESV)” In other words, God could not execute judgment on the Amorites and give their land to the Israelites until four generations later when their iniquity was complete.

If you still insist that that is such a thing as Generational Sins and Curses, then here is one reason why it has no effect on us. The sole supporting Scripture, Exodus 20:5, is part of Law under the Mosaic Covenant (the Old Covenant). We, however, are under the New Covenant. Thus, if Exodus 20:5 does speak of Generational Sins and Curses (which it doesn’t), we who are under the New Covenant are not affected by it. Praise the Lord.

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