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Tuesday
December 07th, 2021
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gary damronMY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron

 

Last week we paused the series on Abraham’s family of faith, to examine whether there’s such thing as a generational curse which affected twin brothers Jacob and Esau. The concept was introduced in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, with verses that seemed to indicate people’s wrongdoings were punished – chastised, reprimanded, disciplined – even to the third and fourth generations. Our Creator does have laws, but he also forgives iniquities. My conclusion was that a parent’s sins do not have to be manifested in the children. 

Obviously, there is evil in the world, and people do wrong. If we were to bullet-point the problem, it would be:

• the first people Adam and Eve had human nature

• because of their sin, human nature became sinful, and the whole human race was damaged

Paul lamented, “... I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate...” (Romans 7:15). So, if we’re not dealing with a generational curse, what is the reason for sin? Ever since the first people willfully chose to disobey God and eat forbidden fruit (Genesis chapter 3), mankind has had a sin problem. Turning away from God brought to all humanity an inclination to sin. This abuse of freedom was seen in Cain who murdered his brother. Abraham struggled with deceit; Isaac started out well but faltered, and from him, Jacob and Esau also inherited Adam’s fallen nature. Paul and every one of us struggles with inherited Sin - a condition with capital “S” - which influences bad thoughts and actions. 

Are we accountable for it? Yes, when we become aware of it. But God provides a cure in Christ, who was born in the lineage of Abraham. He died, was resurrected, and left the Holy Spirit to help us live with a “new heart”. The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians about “a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1) and to the Romans about the “law of Sin and of death.” But he encouraged that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” can set us free (Romans 8:2). Transformation and salvation are available through Jesus Christ. We are fallen beings who can be reconciled to God by accepting Christ's atoning death for our sin. God's grace provides more than forgiveness; it also offers deliverance. 

The apostle Paul told the people of Corinth that we inherited death from Adam, but new spiritual life in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:21-23). In Romans 5:17,19 he wrote, “For if by the transgression of the one [Adam], death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” 

Tendency to sin, and consequences of sin, are passed on as a fulfillment of the natural law that everything produces its own kind. Adam could only transmit his nature corrupted by sin. Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in his own image”, but in Genesis 5:3 we find, “Adam … begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image.”

Other Old Testament references include Proverbs 22:15. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child”, and “…the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). David in his prayer for a clean heart confessed, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). His words were not an excuse; he was accepting responsibility for his sinful acts as well as the nature within. 

The solution is to be made alive in Christ. God’s grace in Christ provides a cure for original Sin and redeems our fallen nature. The apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This cleansing occurs as we allow the Holy Spirit to become the controlling principle in our life, regulating our inward and outward life. Obedience to his promptings enables us to walk according to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17 and Romans 8:3-4), rather than the flesh. 

Paul also wrote, “And you were dead in your offenses and sins. … But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgression, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5). 

Yes, we have a sin problem, which can be summarized as putting anything or anyone ahead of our love for God. Influences and consequences will still have to be contended with, but sinning is a result of individual choice. Christ came to liberate us from ourselves. Jesus told his disciples, “…if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36). God created us and our world. Throughout the Bible we find his plan for our freedom, which brings not just forgiveness from sins, but deliverance from Sin. His daily presence and empowerment by the Spirit enable us to live a changed life. 

Next week we plan to look at Jacob’s transition from a man of deceit to a father of faith. 

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