I was listening to your study on the book of Ezekiel chapter 18 and I was wondering if you could clarify on the matter of generational curses. You said that each man will be judged only on their sin and not on that of their fathers, but how then can you explain the following: Numbers 14:18 and Exodus 20:5. I ask because this is a really big issue in my community.
First of all, Exodus 20:5 and Numbers 14:18 have nothing whatsoever to do with believers. That point needs to be emphasized.
The first biblical reference to this "generational judgment" is in the Exodus passage where God says: "You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me..." (Exodus 20:5) The last five words of that passage are KEY. ...of those who hate me. (This is repeated in this same way in Deut 5:9.)
So God is saying here that there is a generational judgment that will linger to the third and fourth generation PROVIDED THAT those future generations continue in their hatred toward God. But when someone, even in the SECOND generation, turns to the Lord, all that is broken and any curse that may have existed before is gone!
Paul's statement to the Corinthians is proof of this: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17(NIV)
If there is still a generational curse on someone who has come to Christ, then the old has not gone--and Paul's statement is, in fact, untrue.
The teaching on generational judgments (curses) as being applicable to believers is absolutely without biblical warrant and clearly a false teaching. There is not one single shred of biblical evidence to support the idea that believers in Christ must deal with some form of generational consequences.
Even under the old covenant turning to God would break whatever judgment or curse might have existed before. That's the point of the teaching in Ezekiel 18. God clearly states that if a man sins and is judged for his sin, and his son turns from the sins of his father and does what is right and good, the son will live, and his sins will not be counted against him.
So remember, generational consequences are only applicable for those who continue in their hatred and rejection of God, as Exodus 20:5 and Deuteronomy 5:9 clearly point out.
I will end with the words of Jesus in John 8:36 "...if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed"
And as Paul writes: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2 NIV)