There are many differing opinions among theologians about generational sin and its affects today. They use many passages of scripture to support each of these views and most positions are supported by Bible truths. Many times they disagree with each other, however. Identical scriptures are used to support differing views and the result is much misunderstanding about generational sin. We do not want to fall short of the truth on this matter.
My ministry in spiritual warfare now spans more than 17 years and has helped hundreds of people. Often I have found that people cannot be set free from demonic strongholds until generational sin is dealt with by the acknowledgement of it in the family line and the person’s repentance of any part they had in continuing to allow Satan to continue to influence them to commit the same sin. I cannot say that one can always draw a parallel between the sins of previous generations and the sins of the person to whom we were ministering, however, the bondage from sins perpetrated by previous generations is present in almost 100% of the cases. We also have to acknowledge there is a problem with some ministers in spiritual warfare in that they develop patters in their methods and soon fall into the “one size fits all” methodology, therefore, I will hasten to say also that generational sin is not always present in those we have dealt with because they have either not fallen for Satan’s ploy to continue the sin in the family line or they have overcome him by the blood of the Lamb of God. What we must tell you, based on scripture, the mandate is on the Pastor to always listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His lead. Spiritual warfare is a necessary part of ministry and therefore, Pastors must have faith. We cannot minister based of our education or wisdom, its not enough, we must be led by the Spirit of God. Too many pastors tell me that there are many spirits talking while they are in the Spiritual Warfare setting, therefore, they can be mislead. Pastors must be led by the true Spirit of God. If we cannot tell which spirit is talking to us, we need some time alone with God in preparation for Spiritual Warfare to get closer to him and learn to hear his voice and to recognize it. Jesus said “my sheep know my voice.” Having faith that the Holy Spirit is guiding because of your humble submission and the fact Jesus has sent you forth to be a vessel used by him and that his Holy Angels are assisting you is essential in Spiritual Warfare and setting the captives free. You should not be ministering to anyone until you have it!
Generally we advocate two methods of determining if generational sin is present:
1. Let the holy spirit reveal it to you.
2. Listen to what the person tells you. For instance if the person being prayed for brags to you his ancestors came from Sicily, Italy and that they were involved in the mafia there and takes pride in the fact some of his sins in previous years follow the pattern of his ancestors, it doesn’t take a lot of spiritual power to determine there is a generational sin problem. In such a situation there is a red flag about generational sin and the remaining demonic influence of pride and a possible lack of true salvation. True salvation comes as the result of a repentant heart and a strong desire for God’s grace in leaving the old life behind.
A weak doctrine of sin produces a weak doctrine of salvation. Those who have not seen their sin situation as desperate, helpless and hopeless haven’t been saved. Those who have not had the humbling experience of Romans 3:23 and have repented with tears and anguish and are serious about submitting to God for his power in correction do not yet have the kingdom of God.
“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
New creatures in Christ have no interest in bragging about their sin, neither the sins of their fathers. We must be careful in spiritual warfare not to fall into a pattern of the same diagnosis for each case. If we are following the lead of the Holy Spirit, this will not happen.
Many theologians do not believe generational sin is applicable today based on scriptures like Jeremiah 31:30
“But everyone shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eatheth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.”
While this scripture is absolutely true, that each man shall die for his own sin, it does not erase the affects of generational sin. Satan has certain rights and the minister of the gospel must recognize this. We will find as we examine this subject that revoking Satan’s rights is Spiritual Warfare and the only way to set the captives free.
Consider Lamentations 5:7
“Our Fathers have sinned and are not; and we have born their iniquities”
Satan has permission through the family line.
Some argue against this based on Galations 3:13
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is everyone that hangeth from a tree.”
This is absolutely true. But consider Romans 3:31
“Do we make void the law through faith? God forbid, yea, we establisheth the law.”
There is no doubt Jesus work on the cross of Calvary was a new covenant for mankind, one that God declared with an oath. (Heb 7:20)
This new covenant is good news to mankind because it sets free those who will believe in Jesus Christ as their redeemer. Jesus did set free true believers from the curse of sin and the sins of their fathers. However, this relief from the curse is contingent upon a couple of things. First, that we have truly found ourselves completely without excuse regarding our sins, realized our hopeless situation and that we are worthy of death and eternal punishment and that we accept the relief provided by God through Jesus Christ, who was God’s blood covenant and became our new permanent High Priest.
Second, we must realize we are immediately justified and continually sanctified.
Matthew 5:17 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”
John Wesley in his sermon “The law established through faith” preached that one of the ways we establish the law is by endeavoring to preach it in its whole extent, to explain and enforce every part of it, in the same manner as our great teacher, Jesus, did while upon the earth.
1 Peter 4:11 “ If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God: if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all thins may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen”
Based on scripture it cannot be ignored that the sins of the fathers have a profound affect on the present generation. Every mouth whether Jew or Gentile must be stopped from excusing or justifying himself.
Romans 3:19 “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
The workings of the law shall not justify any flesh in God’s sight. Christ was sent by God to be the propitiation for sin.
Galations 5:3 “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Vs4 Christ is become of not effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
We know scripture tells us that faith without works is dead. The point the Spirit is making to us is that Faith has to be applied. Christ did not provide an automatic deliverance from the law as some would argue. The oracles of God cannot be blotted out so let us not be ignorant of the use of the law. Man has to be convinced of sin. John Wesley said “The operation of God is to convict sinners by the law and that only” (Page 449, The Works of John Wesley, Sermon title “The Law Established Through Faith”
The gospel is not the means God chose to wake up men. It is the law that is used to convict men of sin. Satan is an expert in the law of God and he uses it to operate. It behooves guilty sinners to be convicted by the law and flee to God for grace. We are missing the mark in churches today, preaching love to sinners without regard to the law. We think the love of God wakes men up which is not scriptural. The law convicts, the grace of God saves through grace. Jesus related to this fact when he said those who are well do not have need of a doctor, only those who are sick. Christ cannot be successfully offered to men who can see no need for him. Men find Christ when they have a broken heart. To preach otherwise is castings pearls before swine only to have them trodden under foot.
We must preach Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 1:23. Holiness is no less necessary now than it was before Christ came.
God has not changed. He is changeless. We must be cleansed from all unrighteousness and the cleansing must entail cutting ourselves off from the sins in our family line. It’s a cleansing, not a condemnation. Why would we not want to take away Satan’s right to harass us with the same temptations that caused our father’s to sin. Deliverance is revoking Satan’s right to harass us based on the sins of our Fathers by repenting of the fact the sin is present in our family line and for our own involvement in it.
2 Samuel 12:14 - David and Bathsheba’s son died because of their sin.
Nehemiah 1:4-9 – Jerusalem was small and struggling, and being harassed by local enemies, Nehemiah prayed, confessing the sins of the children of Israel, himself, and the sins of his father’s house.
Sin carries a penalty. Do you want to authorize Satan to harass your children with your sins? Of course not! Do you want Satan to be able to harass your children with the same sins perpetrated by your Father or Grandfather? Of course not! We must acknowledge the sins in our family line, repent of our own sins and cut off Satan’s rights to keep using it against our nation, our family and ourselves. No sin has a right to us if we apply the blood of Jesus, declare our intent to follow Christ, which is to repent.
Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
If Satan had no rights there would be no more temptation and sin. But He does have rights and he uses our family background, its weaknesses and he uses them effectively.
Ephesians 4:27 “Neither give place for the devil.”
2 Chronicles 12:7 “And when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be oured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.”
Psalm 32:7 “Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.”
Today more than ever God needs deliverance workers. We cannot win men by preaching that the love of God will save them. We must preach the WORD and the WORD is that we are all sinners and our hearts must be broken over our sin against God. Unless we reach this state we cannot be saved and we cannot be delivered. God is faithful to save and deliver those who see their folly and fall at his feet with remorseful hearts. He loves us and wants to save us and deliver us but it requires a full confession as with the prophets of old. Daniel did it, Nemiah did it, Ezekiel did it, are we better than they? Has God changed his mind about confessing sin. No, if we are to find favor with God through continual sanctification, we must confess the sins of our Fathers, Our nation and our own. We must take away every legal right Satan has to overwhelm us with his temptation through our family weakness. God will cut it off from future generations if we will but repent.