Sins Passed On to Children?

Our Pastor referenced this passage from Exodus this morning:

I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:7 NLT)

It is worth considering if this changed in the new covenant which God established with the people of the earth, through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. Some people at that time mistakenly believed all people who were blind were born or made that way because of the sins of their parents. Jesus corrects them as documented in the Gospel of John:

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:1-5 NLT)

Sins of parents and grandparents DO affect both current and future generations. We are such consumers,  we buy a cool kids electric cars here and there,  and then wonder why they have no sense of value or worth. Sin has a powerful and negative affect on all it touches, but the power of sin is broken when we confess to God and ask for His forgiveness through Jesus.

Sin does not always account for disabilities or suffering, however. We shouldn’t assume to know the reasons for these things. Through all circumstances and conditions, God works for good through His people who are called according to His purpose. Rather than focusing on trying to understand the source or cause of suffering (which we may never understand fully in this life) we should focus on the purpose with which God has called us to act in the midst of suffering.