Tony Evans - Reversing Generational Consequences
All of us bear the DNA of our mothers and fathers. They have transferred physiologically their makeup. The physical DNA is not the only thing that gets transferred. There is a spiritual DNA that transfers as well. This is an unseen reality that passes between parents and children, grandparents, parents, and children that leads to generational consequences. It's a spiritual DNA. We not only pass to our children our good looks. I'll let you say whether that applies to you or not. But we also transfer or have transferred to us the patterns of sinful behavior. That many who do what they do, think what they think, and act as they act because it's transferred. It's part of your life, even if you don't like it. I know we all make this statement, it's not a great statement, but it's a true one, "That's who I am".
This pattern of behavior unaddressed produces built-in consequences to our well-being, our peace, order, stability. My parents lived in debt, I live in debt and bear the consequence of never getting out of it. Patterns that are generational. You have to understand that God is a generational God. "I am the God," he says, "of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob". Generations, goes on and on. He thinks generationally. In the Scripture I read to you from Ezekiel 18, God says, "You Israelites are saying a proverb". A proverb is a saying. And here's the proverb, verse 2 says the proverb was, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, but the children's teeth are on edge".
That was the proverb or the saying. What was it meaning? Daddy has eaten sour grapes, and that's made my teeth crooked. The reason why my teeth are messed up is cause of what daddy ate. In other words, I am how I am because daddy was who he was. Mother and father may have transferred it, illustrated it, demonstrated it, amplified it, but you took it on by choice. In other words, don't use what somebody else did in a previous generation as an excuse for you to keep it going. He says, "I am the God of the father". Verse 4, "The soul of the father is mine, the soul of the son of mine, so it is the one who sins that shall die".
So, if you are messed up like your mama and daddy were messed up, it's because you choose to adopt their mess. Romans chapter 5, verse 12 says, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, so death spread to all men because all have sinned". Verse 15 says, "For by the transgression of the one many died". Do you know the only reason you have to die? The only reason you have to die is because of what Adam did that got transferred to the human race. Death was the transfer of rebellion against God. He says and that was inherited from Adam, and has been passed down from generation, to generation, to generation, to generation, to generation, and nobody is exempt, nobody.
So, the first problem is this thing of sin that produces death is built in, creating this cloud cover over the human race. But then within time between birth and death are choices that are made, decisions. God says that the consequence of our sin we bear because we make a decision to repeat the practice that may have been transferred to us. He says, "The soul of the father is mine, the soul of the son is mine, so don't use daddy made me do it". So, what you see in the Bible, stay with me here, is the transfer of consequences when another generation makes the decision to pick up what the previous generation did.
In Joshua chapter 7, Achan and his whole family were judged by God because he stole the things that where under the ban, banned by God, but his children consented to the theft. When his children consented to the theft, they bore the judgment of the father who stole, because they went in on the decision to steal. So, when the judgment came on the father, it extended to the children because of their decision to participate. Exodus 34, verses 6 and 7 says that God visits the iniquity of the father and the grandparents onto the children because of their disobedience. So, the cycle, the cycle of consequences keeps flowing from the rebellion of God's people.
Now, God makes it clear in Ezekiel 18, verse 20 that the kids do not suffer the consequences of the iniquity of their parents. He says that also in Deuteronomy 24:16. He says the consequences of the children is because of what they choose to do. Demons ride on top of the transfer. Let me, let me... I don't want to lose you on that one. There is a spiritual realm occupied by God and angels and the Holy Spirit, as well as Satan and demons. And I know because it's unseen, people don't think it's real.
1 Corinthians chapter 10 says that Christians can sit at the table of demons, verse 20 and 21. You can actually sit at the table, that means fellowship with them. He says there's a table of the Lord and there's a table of demons. And if you fellowship with the table of demons, it doesn't mean you invited a demon to dinner, it means you fellowship with the sin, which they assume was an invitation to them. He comes in verse 10 and he says in Galatians 3, "For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse, for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law to perform them.' Now that no one is justified by the law before God is evident, for the righteous man shall live by faith. However, the law is not of faith, or on the contrary, he who practices them shall live by them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.' In order that in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles". We're Gentiles here. "So that we would receive the promise of the spirit through faith".
Okay, stay with me. He says the rules of God, the law, that's the Ten Commandments, the rules of God cannot fix your problem. Paul is saying all the law can do, which is good, is to condemn you 'cause it's just gonna show you what's wrong. But you need to know that, you need to know what's wrong, but the law can't make it right. So, wait a minute, if committing myself to the law can't make it right, it can only tell me what's wrong that I'm doing that I shouldn't be doing, that I got from my parents, that I'm passing to my kids, what's going to make it right? He says in verse 14, "In order that in Christ Jesus, the blessings of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the spirit through faith".
Watch this now. On the cross, Jesus broke the back of Satan. The Bible says that in Colossians 2, he condemned the devil. So, Flip Wilson was incorrect. The devil can't make you do anything. The cross broke, watch this, his authority. It did not remove his power, but it removed his authority. Authority is the legitimate use of power. He's got one scheme, and his one scheme is to get in your head. 1 Corinthians 11 says, "Like Eve, who was deceived, he's got to trick your thinking".
So, the demonic realm uses its power of deception to put it into your life so that it becomes your habit or your action, so that you bear the consequence of your decision 'cause it came from your mind, even though the idea may been introduced by your parents. So, God says, "The death of Jesus Christ broke the curse of the law," he says, "in order that God might give you the Spirit". Watch this now, this is the most important feature. It is the Spirit's job, if you've accepted Christ 'cause those are the only ones that have the Spirit, it is the Spirit's job to make happen what the law says should happen, but doesn't have the power to make happen. The Spirit's job is to make happen what the law requires. The law requires it, so you need to know what's required, but the law can't help you do it.
Galatians 5, verse 16, he says the Spirit's job is to bring the promises of God into your life. Verse 16 of chapter 5 of Galatians. "But I say you walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh, for the flesh does desire against the Spirit, the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition of one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. For if you are led by the Spirit, you are not underneath the law". Whoa, whoa. The law is like a standard transmission, you got to keep moving it to try to, the Spirit is like automatic transmission, it changes its own gear. The job of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is to make real the law of God activated in your life, my life, regardless of what you got from mom and daddy. That's his job, that's his full-time job is to make it real. How does he make it real?
Verse 16 says, "Walk in the Spirit and you will not act out the desire of the flesh". He says the flesh, what you want to do outside of the will of God, and the spirit will never get along. They're in opposition to one another. So, what you want to do outside of the will of God, the flesh, the Spirit will never agree with that and work with you. But the flesh will never agree with the Spirit. So, those two are in conflict, which means you will be in conflict 'cause you got the flesh and the Spirit. He says no, no, no, the Spirit's job is to give you the ability to override the flesh, even if the flesh still wants to do wrong and it goes into the deeds of the flesh, the very simple habits, attitudes, and actions in those following verses. Even though, even though the flesh wants to do wrong, you know you're walking in the Spirit 'cause you used to yield to it.
And now, you're saying no to it, even though the flesh still wants to do it. What the Spirit does is override the flesh even when the flesh is still fleshy. So, that raises a question. God has given the Spirit to everybody who comes to the cross. Jesus Christ broke the curse of the cross, so you're no longer under a curse. You may feel like you're under a curse, you may feel like mom and daddy has given you a curse, that's a lie. We just read Jesus Christ broke the curse. So, don't ever talk about you being cursed again if you know Jesus Christ. The curse, the consequence of the law is broken, but the flesh is still there. And when the flesh wants to do its thing, he says, "I want you to start walking".
So, walking means you're moving. Walking is continuous movement, right? One step after another. Those who walk in the Spirit, meaning every single time that desire comes up, you are to invite the Spirit's power to override it. So, you are in movement with the Spirit whenever it comes up. And it's going to come up depending upon how deep you're into it, whatever the addiction, or the sin, or the circumstance is. It's going to keep coming up. "Lord, right now, I desire to do that which is outside the will of God. But because you broke the curse on the cross, I now invoke the Holy Spirit to give me the ability right now to override".
What you just did was walk in the Spirit. If it pops up an hour later, you walk an hour later. If it pops up two hour later, you take another step. If it comes 30 minutes later, you take another step. If it comes ten minutes later, you take another step. So, you learn to stay in stride with the Spirit, whose job it is to make the law come alive in your life and to do what the law cannot do, cannot fix it. He says, "And when you do this, you're no longer under the law," meaning under its condemnation.
Now, I want to show you one thing in closing. This is good news, let me read it from Ezekiel 33. Ezekiel 33, verses 14 and 15, "But when I say to the wicked, 'You will surely die,'" I love this. "And he turns from his sin and practices justice and righteousness, if a wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live, he shall not die". But God said you shall surely die, that means surely. But then it comes right back in the next verse and says, "When that person repents, he shall not surely die". Wait a minute, there's been a reversal of consequences here. 'Cause the consequence is death. He says when you turn, repentance, when you turn from sin to God by means of the Holy Spirit we just went over, who has given you victory, there is a reversal of consequences.
Now, God decides how much and all of that, but there is a reversal in that statement, surely. But that raise a question. The Bible says God cannot change. It says he's the same yesterday, today, and forever. So, how can he tell me I'm gonna surely die, but then tell me if I repent, I'm not gonna surely die? Did he not mean the first surely? Which we hope not, but he said surely. Sure enough, you're going to have to pay a substantive consequence. But then he comes in the next verse, says you repent, you shall not surely die. But he says he doesn't change. Sounds like he just changed to me.
One thing is this, what we have is the attributes of God. God has attributes, perfections, characteristics, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, veracity, grace, mercy, truth, justice, wrath. He got all these different characteristics. God reacts to sin by justice and wrath. He has to because that's part of his makeup, and he must surely respond to it. But when you turn by means of the Spirit, who gives you power to override the cry of the flesh, once you turn and return, you are switching attributes you are relating to.
See, when you were over here in disobedience, you were under wrath. But once you turn and return, you're now located under mercy.Your turning hasn't changed God, he still got wrath, he still got justice, but you're no longer operating under that. You have turned. And when you've turned, you're now operating under his mercy and under his grace, which frees him up to relate to you from over there instead of over here, but he still hadn't changed. He still got justice, he still got wrath, but you have relocated yourself.
And once you relocate yourself, he can now relate to you to your new location, and he hasn't moved an inch. Because he remains constant, but repentance means you've turned by means of the Spirit so he can offer you something different at his own sovereign will. And so, the question is, is it time to break the cycle? To say, "God, I don't care what mom and daddy did, what grandma and daddy did, that's not me now. And I'm not going to be locked into that mess that's I've inherited. 'Cause you've given me something to break the curse by the blood of Jesus".
One of the sad things we all observed is our children picking up our faults, doing things that we did and regret, saying things we said and regret, and then seeing that generational transfer of bad spiritual genes. But we don't want to pass on and see them pass on our wrong. We don't want to see them transferred to our grandchildren and great grandchildren, our failures. So, we want to see those generational curses reversed. And the beautiful thing is that God can change generations starting with us.
See, if we change, we can change the genetic outflow, we can interfere with it. Once it get reversed with us, we've opened up God to reverse it with those that we love, who might have picked up our bad traits. Sometimes, we wish that our offspring wouldn't do what we did when we're still doing what we did that's keeping them doing what they do. But if we can get right and then ask God's favor on them as a way of demonstrating his acceptance of our getting right with him, we've opened up the door for the next generation to benefit from our repentance and to literally piggyback on it.
Yes, I know, the Bible says that to the third and fourth generation, judgment will come because of our failure. But it also says that when we or they, better yet we and they, turn back to God, he can turn things around and he can make bad better, he can make things that don't look great very good. And guess what? He wants to because he is a generational God, and he wants to see our future winding up better than our past. So, let's do what we need to do so that we can transfer to them what they need to do, so that we can see healing in a generation that desperately needs clear spiritual direction.