The Sins of the Fathers Quotes

The concept of God punishing the children for the sin of the fathers is troublesome to many people. If you would like to learn more about this, I encourage you to look at last week’s message called The Sins of the Fathers, taken from Exodus 20:5. You can also find a quick outline of the message at Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 9/30/2007.

Here are some quotes from the message:

“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)

“Sin is hereditary. Sin gets passed down from one generation to the next. That is a weight most of us would rather not bear. But we will not overcome this burden by ignoring or denying it. We must face the terrible truth of generational sin in order to deal with it, so that we may indeed break the cycle of sin for ourselves and for our children who follow.” (RF)

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)

“The law of the harvest says that you will reap what you sow. The law of the generational harvest says that others will also reap what you sow, especially your children and grandchildren, your family and immediate descendants.” (RF)

“The curse of the Lord righteously rests not only on the person of an impious man, but also on the whole of his family.” (John Calvin)

“Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12)

“When Adam and Eve fell into sin, the whole human race fell into sin. The most precious, sweetest-looking innocent baby has a sinful nature just waiting to break out. Sin is a congenital disease which within a few years of birth presents itself in every human being born on the planet.” (RF)

“The collective consequences of a father’s sin . . . does not eliminate the personal responsibility of the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.” (Jochem Douma)

“There are two ways that God punishes for sin. There is what we might call active or direct punishment, where God punishes a person directly for the sins he has committed. And then there is punishment by consequence, where God allows the person to suffer the natural consequences for his sin.” (RF)

“The sanction of the second commandment can never be used as an excuse by children who argue that they are suffering judgment for what their fathers did. On the other hand, the sanction does contain a serious warning to fathers: Consider the destruction your sin can cause, not only in your life, but also in the life of your family!” (Jochem Douma)

“Who can avoid the sins of the fathers?
But you go ahead kid
It’s your turn to walk on water
Do your best to undo the sins of the fathers
Go ahead kid
It’s your turn to walk on water.”
(Terry Taylor; Daniel Amos; Songs of the Heart)

“Remind me of this, Lord, with every decision:
Generations will reap what I sow.
I can pass down a curse or a blessing
To those I will never know,
To those I will never know.”
(Sara Groves; Conversations)

“Every new generation has the capacity in Christ to break the cycle of generational sin. We read in Philippians 4:13 – ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.’ Colossians 1:13 tells us that God ‘has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.’ There is hope in Jesus Christ to overcome any and all sin in our lives, and to break the chains that bind us. Praise God!” (RF)


  1. Margaret says:

    Thanks for sharing thoughts on these Scripture passages, which are difficult for all of us. Thanks for sharing the positive aspect that each generation has the opportunity for change. This change of course is through the power of the Holy Spirit within a Christian.

    I know an elderly brother and sister who grew up in the most appalling conditions in their home. These people are wonderful, loving and forgiving, committed Christians. I see them as examples of the power of Christ within us.

  2. Sharon Gamble says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, too. It is good to know that we can always start over as a Christian! It’s also very true that the patterns we see are the patterns we imitate if we aren’t actively seeking God’s help to change. Hey – by the way – I like your new picture with your blog. You look like you are in the middle of a profound sentence of some kind. 🙂

  3. Ray Fowler says:

    Knowing me, I am probably asking what’s for supper!

  4. Robin King says:

    Thanks, Ray, for the collection of related quotes. There’s a lot of food for thought there, especially for an older person with children and grandchildren, watching their lives – and personalities – unfold. Sad fact is that one can only compensate for ones life’s mistakes – and the consequences of these – to a limited extent. Receiving forgiveness from a younger person is even rarer.

  5. Ray Fowler says:

    Robin – Life on a fallen planet is never going to be easy, but thank God we have Christ to forgive us and the Holy Spirit to comfort and encourage us along the way. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Ron Flores says:

    Do you know if there’s specific prayers that can be said to relive the son from sins of his father?

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