In part 1 of the same series, the reader learned Jesus’ answer for why some reject Him. In that initial installment, we noticed the effect of sinful actions on one’s responsiveness to the Light. According to Jesus, rejection of Him is one’s preference (love) for darkness, because of evil deeds done. Those who follow the light will receive more, but those who reject the common grace of God in general revelation will never be illumined to the Gospel (special revelation). This is the same principle of ‘use it, gain more; don’t use it, lose it‘ seen other places in the Scriptures (Matt. 25:14-30).
As the first part of the series examined all of the inner causes of one’s unresponsiveness, this part 2 will examine the outside and demonic influences which affect one’s ability to choose Christ. Just as the first article revealed faith is not a work and is not due to one’s being “better” than unbelievers in any way, so part 2 will support those findings.
Let’s continue to see just what Christ meant when he said, “men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.” In short, we must expose the lie which states ‘our own wickedness cannot affect other generations.’
Backing Up to the Beginning:
Genesis 3, the third chapter of the Bible, tells us of 2 promised yet very different generational lines. In verse 15, these two lines are described as both physically distinct and spiritually distinct. But, these days, its all a wash, since Jesus successfully arrived through a well-preserved blood line.
The truth of 2 separate lines of descendants begins in Cane, who despite his parents’ repentance, did not himself follow the prescribed atonement for sin. He wanted to approach God his own way (offering the works of his hands) and was jealous when his “sacrifice” was not accepted. When one, through pride feels that his works should be acceptable to God instead of God’s prescribe means of atonement, then those works (even good deeds) become a sacrilege (essentially a witchcraft — “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft”–1 Sam. 15:23), and this sacrilege binds the soul in darkness. Of course, this blindness is designed and promoted by the prince of this world to appeal to our fallen natures… all with the intention of keeping us in said blindness, unless we should see the glorious light of the gospel and believe (2 Cor. 4:4).
Abel, (being the younger, and so, exposed more than Cane to progressively sanctified parents) saw the repentant faith of his parents and responded positively to it. Do not pity Cane for Abel’s seemingly unfair advantage. Cane’s advantage was his opportunity for wisdom that only age can bring, as well as direct intervention from God (as mentioned further down).
How was Abel’s heart different from Cane’s? We can only say that despite Cane’s receiving a very intimate and direct intervention about repentance from God Himself, Cane chose rather the false comfort of self-pity (from inflated narcissistic self concept, due to previous self-indulgent choice patterns, or the “deceitfulness of sin”–Heb. 3:13) and further maligned God’s character as being unreasonably penal (Gen. 4:13). This same duplicitous effect was displayed by one of those who crucified at the side of the Lord Jesus. He rejected Christ through doubt of Christ’s identity/character while the other saw the godliness and merciful purpose in Christ’s compassionate suffering.
The Added Element of Binding, Blinding Generational Sins:
Cane was cursed for his refusal to repent (i.e. pride), and the descendants of Cane took on the same characteristic sin patterns of their father, exploring them deeper and further (see genealogies). As John Piper notes, the sins of the fathers become the sins of the children. This pattern of plumbing the depths of wickedness and passing it on is that which (in the law of perpetuity) isolates individuals, whole family lines, tribes and peoples and nations from the gospel.
These two — Cane & (Abel replaced by Seth) are the two general lines promised in Gen. 3:15 — one seed line for the Serpent to “own” and one through which the Serpent Crusher (“the Seed) would arrive. Of course, there were examples of anomalies in both lines; but overall these lines were (according to God’s plan) kept separate and intact until the time of Gen. 6, when the godly had become so compromised that they (deceived) saw either advantage or nothing wrong with mixing their genes and their souls with dozens of generations of rebels, witches and sorcerers. Satan wished to corrupt all lines through which Messiah might come.
The spiritual bondage that had been generally isolated to the lines of Cane’s descendants now fully infiltrated the lines of Seth. Furthermore, as some submit, I too agree that this wickedness led to more unbridled wickedness–even cohabitation of fallen angels with humans (Nephilim), due to the witchcraft and sorcery developed over the previous generations in the lines of Cane.
Thankfully, God saw that Noah was pure in his genetic lineage and in his spiritual beliefs (Gen. 6:9). God spared the human race by preserving Noah and his family. But through either Noah’s provocation of his sons (while drunk) or through the sole fault of Ham, the line of evil resurrected and the Canaanites and others of Ham’s line were cursed by Noah.
We Each are Not Isolated Entities:
The book of Hebrews presents an odd but real perspective on how generations and their actions can affect each other for good or bad.
Consider then how great this Melchizedek was. Even Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, recognized this by giving him a tenth of what he had taken in battle. Now the law of Moses required that the priests, who are descendants of Levi, must collect a tithe from the rest of the people of Israel, who are also descendants of Abraham. But Melchizedek, who was not a descendant of Levi, collected a tenth from Abraham. And Melchizedek placed a blessing upon Abraham, the one who had already received the promises of God. And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed.
The priests who collect tithes are men who die, so Melchizedek is greater than they are, because we are told that he lives on. In addition, we might even say that these Levites—the ones who collect the tithe—paid a tithe to Melchizedek when their ancestor Abraham paid a tithe to him. For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham’s body when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him. (Hebrews 7: 4-10 NLT)
Even though it is hard to understand everything presented in the above Hebrews passage, one thing is shocking but clear. The unborn are represented through the actions of believers. In God’s way of thinking, Levi gave tribute to Melchizedek when Abraham gave tribute to Melchizedek. Levi was not yet born, but since his (Levi’s) grandfather gave homage to the the ancient King of Salem, and since Abraham is the family patriarch of Levi; then God considers it both Levi and Abraham who paid tithe to Melchizedek.
Adam was the Original Patriarch and Head of the Human Race
When Adam and Even fell from innocence into sin, the entire human race fell with them, altering our inner natures. Just as Levi could do a good thing through Abraham, even so, all of us were represented for evil in Adam. Before the fall, all of us were innocent in Adam. But, when Adam fell, all of us (as God sees it) actively participated in Adam’s sin.
Now, Adam and Eve did accept the prescribed atonement presented by God–a symbolic ritual representing faith in the coming Christ. As all were in Adam when he fell, all were in Adam’s loins when he chose to accept the God- prescribed atonement for sin. But, apparently from the evidence of Cane and Abel, not all in Adam paid homage to Christ. Therefore, we can rightly deduce that when Adam chose God’s salvation, only some of Adam’s unborn descendants were actively participating in his acceptance of God’s atonement… just as it was only Levi (1 of 12) who actively paid tithes while in Abraham. Only time and the unfolding of generations will tell who was in this second class. It is a thing known only to God. The point is, if you would like to be one among the number who accept Christ, then DO IT!
No Man is an Island unto Himself
My point is to highlight biblical evidence for the postulate that none of us are an island unto ourselves. Younger generations are represented in us, and our ancestors’ spirituality (good or evil) does have an affect on our own lives. Our actions affect descendants in definite spiritual ways.
At this point, I must encourage the reader to visit What About Those Who Have Never Heard? And, I am quick to add that the false teachings of Mormonism’s ‘baptism for the dead’ and oaths for future generations as well as the Catholic heresy of burning candles for the dead are damnable and not supported by proper interpretations of the Bible. In fact, these are rituals promoted by the doctrines of demons, meant to keep the participant and future generations in darkness. Spiritual blindness thusly can be attributed to whole families, people groups, nations–and for several years, decades, centennials or even millennia at a time (Matthew 27:25; Luke 21:32; Acts 2:40; see also Romans 12 use of aion)
However, there is a wonderful truth about how the living believer can positively affect his living children and relatives and future generations.
The Sanctification of A Believing Spouse and of a Man’s House
Both a believing man and a believing woman positively affect their families and households. God calls it a “sanctification” (or, setting apart) that greatly serves to preserve and/or advantage the spiritual receptivity of the Gospel. Observe the following:
And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here; and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ (Acts 11:13-14)
They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy (1 Cor. 7:14).
The believing wife/husband sanctifies (sets apart) the children and husband/wife–the children because they are progeny (issued from their souls and her body)–her husband, because “two become one flesh.” (Ex. Yadda, “He that is joined to the lord is one spirit” – 1 Cor. 6:17).
This is not to say that children and husbands receive Christ personally within the time frame we expect or as the direct result of our words and actions. That is not a given (1 Cor. 7:16). But one thing is sure… God indicates their being set apart for the special work of the Holy Spirit would not happen without the believing spouse/parent.
Principles for Today
If someone is born into a family that is full of darkness, then the chances are that person will have a longer road before trusting Christ, if they respond to God’s call at all. Likewise, someone has a greater chance of trusting Christ at an early age if that one is born into a family with parents who have trusted God and grow in grace. Why? because there is shelter from soul-binding evil (as we saw in part 1). This is not to say that the Gospel is ineffective, nor is it to say that the Holy Spirit’s work is ineffectual. It is only to assert that whereas some hear the Gospel and so believe, others hear the Gospel and reject it for the reasons given in part 1 and also for the element of binding and blinding generational sins.
The children and spouses of believers are not altogether guaranteed, though. While I am not passing off the saying, “There is one bad apple in every bunch,” as spiritual truth; I am also not declaring that when you get saved, your whole family is automatically caused to possess salvation. The idea of physical lineage having a right to grace is rebuked in Romans 9. They will have their own spiritual battles and choices to face, especially the choice to repent of sin within and to place trust in Christ. What I am saying is your being saved and allowing God to transform your life into Christ’s likeness gives your family the best chances possible for salvation. They are ‘set apart.’
Even though I paint a grim picture of those in raised in “wickedness,” the devil can overplay his hand and God is the Master persuader. In the case of those born into (shall we say) “heathen” families, evil works will be so blatant that the light (kindness, truth, goodness, love, gospel of a believer) will be that much more powerful; and as is God’s pattern, the person will be confronted with the truth and works of God, and she will be convinced of the dramatic difference (ex. Rahab the Harlot)
God delights in redeem people from every tribe (lit., folk), tongue (language), people (lit., relation), nation (lit., ethnicity)–[Rev. 5:9; Biblehub.org]
Paths of Gold: Praying the Way to Christ for Lost Friends and Family by Terry Gooding