Summary: We do not inherit sin. Simply said, we make a conscious choice to do or not to do.
Our Sins Are Ours Alone, Plain and Simple
The more I delve into this reading, the more intrigued I become. Sometimes God’s Words just cut right through a lifetime of humanness and totally clarify our weakness. This is just such a reading.
I am not at all fond of “hellfire and brimstone” preaching and this message is not intended to be such.
We will stand before God – ALONE.
Shall we plead that our sins are handed down to us by our ancestors?
Exodus 20:5New King James Version (NKJV)
5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,
Numbers 14:18New King James Version (NKJV)
18 ‘The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.
The prophet Ezekiel is addressing this prevailing belief.
In those days they shall say no more: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
But everyone shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
We must understand two thoughts here.
1- We cannot inherit sin. It is a learned behavior. We step over the line because we follow a personal desire. The fact that we derive this desire by seeing like behavior in others and are enticed, in no way removes that personal choice.
2- Howard says (that’s me) that the sins of the father YES can be visited upon the children, but not in the sense that it is inherited or handed down. How is that pastor? Well, I tell you. If a father gets drunk; comes home and abuses his children that sin is visited upon the child.
The wayward father/husband who brings home a sexually transmitted disease which infects his unborn child is a sin that is visited upon the children.
Most addictive behavior is observed by curious children and too often emulated.
Judi was a member of our mission church in the Dominican Republic. Her husband died of AIDS, before anyone was aware that he had become infected. We had Judi and the children tested and found that
Neither of the boys were infected but Judi was seriously infected and died within a short period of time. Although the two sons were not infected, they were certainly affected by their father’s sins. Wouldn’t you agree?
16 “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.
So, we can now understand that we do not “inherit” anyone else’s sins. We may choose to imitate others’ behavior but it is a choice, albeit ill advised.
Point in question:
14 “If, however, he begets a son
Who sees all the sins which his father has done,
And considers but does not do likewise;
15 Who has not eaten on the mountains,
Nor lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,
Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife;
16 Has not oppressed anyone,
Nor withheld a pledge,
Nor robbed by violence,
But has given his bread to the hungry
And covered the naked with clothing;
17 Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor[a]
And not received usury or increase,
But has executed My judgments
And walked in My statutes—
He shall not die for the iniquity of his father;
He shall surely live!
Here it is plain and simple: We have a choice!
18 “As for his father,
Because he cruelly oppressed,
Robbed his brother by violence,
And did what is not good among his people,
Behold, he shall die for his iniquity.
That brings us to the final and VERY important part of this lesson: Is it too late to change?
It is not too late to change.
Ezekiel 18:21-24New King James Version (NKJV)
21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?
24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.