“In those days they shall say no more, ‘The fathers have eaten a sour grape and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’  But, every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man that eats the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.”

Jeremiah 31:29-30

Even though external influences (e.g., family background, societal pressures, genetic disposition, etc.) play a role in our decisions, ultimately we’re all personally accountable for our own choices and sins.

That’s a pretty strong statement, isn’t it, Pilgrim?  And, it’s certainly not a popular or politically correct one—especially in this day-and-age of so many “diseases” and “syndromes.”  However, today’s Manna is quite clear that none of us are sinners because of someone else’s sin.

Now, it’s clear in Ex. 20:5; 34:7 and Num. 14:18 that God will “visit (Heb. ‘paqad’—‘muster, charge, deliver, call to remembrance, etc.’) the sins of the father upon the third and fourth generations.”  But, that doesn’t mean those later generations are guilty because of the father’s sins; it simply means they’re likely to still suffer from their “wages” and residual effects.

That’s why we must see them as generational “cycles of sin.”  Statistically it’s true:  The child of an alcoholic has a much greater likelihood of becoming an alcoholic.  A physically abused child is much more likely to become a child abuser than a normal child.  But, again, those cycles can be broken by Jesus’ Indwelling Presence and Resurrection Power.  And, even then it takes a conscious, intentional effort on the individual’s part through “dying to himself and coming alive to Christ” (Gal. 2:20) before that’ll happen.

Society’s “enlightened ones” lambaste such statements—labeling them archaic, misguided, bigoted, etc.  They say “Oh, he’s an alcoholic because of his genetic disposition.”  Or, “He’s a homosexual or she’s a lesbian because that’s how God created him/her.”

But, dear Pilgrim, if those beliefs are true, then God is the guilty culprit, not them.  And, it puts Him in direct opposition to and contradiction of His own commands concerning such sinful lifestyles.  Again, we’re sinners by nature and by choice—and our failure or refusal to acknowledge this is a willful submitting to “the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13).

No one ever became an alcoholic without taking the first drink.  No one ever became a homosexual or lesbian without first engaging in such forbidden, reprobate behavior (Rom. 1:18-32).  No one ever became a thief without first stealing something.  No one ever became a liar without first telling a lie.

Sin is sin—no matter how we view it or describe it.  And, we’re all guilty sinners who fall short of God’s Glory because of our own sinful choices, not someone else’s (Rom. 3:23).

Therefore, the only way to be forgiven is by coming to Christ and trusting Him as Savior and Lord.  And, the only way we can be freed from our “strongholds of sin” (II Cor. 10:3-5) is by surrendering our lives to Jesus’ Lordship. . . “denying, dying to and dedicating ourselves in following Him” (Lk. 9:23). . .and daily “seeking Him first in all things as we stay yoked to Him, abide in Him and walk in His Spirit” (Mt. 6:33; Mt. 11:28-30; Jn. 15:1-7; Rom. 8:1).

May 18, 2011