There are very few in Christianity that disagree with the fact that we are born with what is referred to as a “sin nature.” Yet many fail to recognize this is not only just a generalized sin nature at work. We must understand that many sin battles in our lives we have inherited. Some of the biggest battles you face in your life have been in your family tree for hundreds it not thousands of years.
Some of our sin issues come as a result of our own journey in coming into agreement with the enemy, yet most of our deepest struggles are inherited ones.
We are actually born with certain sin battles that have been undefeated in our family tree. Generational sin is not some generic sin floating in the sky. These specific sin struggles are waiting for the opportunity to repeat in us what has already been in our biological past. These inherited sins are the work of iniquity.
Iniquity can be defined as the sins in our family line that have not been defeated. Because of inherited sin, not only are we born with a seed of sin, but we inherit the unconquered sins of the family.
Iniquity in David’s Life
This is what David realized in Psalms when he came to repentance over the sin of adultery with Bathsheba. He said in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”
Iniquity can be defined as the sins in our family line that have not been defeated. He not only addresses the fact that he was born with sin, he was also born with iniquity, inherited sin. David realized that he had a generationally inherited lust issue that was passed down from his father. This lust was given more fuel through the rejection of his father. Unbridled sexual lust increased exponentially in David’s son Solomon, who had 700 wives and 300 concubines! Clearly we see here how inherited sin has a compounding work.
Lying in Abraham’s Family Line
In the Scriptures, Abraham had a lying problem. Because of his battle with a spirit of fear, it gave way to a lying spirit. This drove him to lie to King Abimelech, saying that Sarah was his sister, not his wife. Abraham’s son Isaac years later ended up doing the same thing in the same situation. Isaac’s son Jacob also delivered a bold-faced lie to his aging father, by deceiving him into thinking Jacob was actually his brother Esau. This was all done to steal his brother’s blessing. Even Jacob’s name means deceiver!
So did Abraham take his sons and grandsons to lying classes each week? Did he sign them up for “How to Lie About Your Wife and Lie to Your Family?” This was ingrained in their spiritual DNA.
What is Visiting Our Families?
Iniquity is what Jehovah spoke of to Israel in delivering the commandments of God. In Exodus 20:5–6, He said, “For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” The word “visiting” shows us that the same temptations and struggles will approach the next generation to repeat it. They will track down the inherited line.
If you notice, the sins traveled mainly through the fathers, because they represent the seed. This is why Jesus was born of a virgin. If He had been born through the natural seed of man, he would have been born with iniquity. Jesus could not be born with iniquity if He was to be the sinless Lamb who would take away the sins of the world; another proof of the inherited work of iniquity.
We love the idea of receiving an inheritance of blessing from God through our family history, but we despise the notion of receiving the iniquity of our family lines. We can either ignore the issue, blame our families for our problems or we can take a stand for our generation and the generations to come.
I love the heart of Nehemiah. He watched what the sins of his family did to his nation and his own personal life. If we would carry this same heart as Nehemiah, we would not only see our lives healed, but the land transformed.Instead of whining or complaining, he had a prayer fest with God; addressing not only his own sin battles, but the ones he inherited that were still affecting the land. If we would carry this same heart, we would not only see our lives healed, but the land transformed.
Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. Nehemiah 9:1–2
Daniel took the same approach in his time. He did not go into blame or accusation; he simply recognized how the agreement of his generation and past generations had affected his nation. His response was personal humility and repentance, for the sins of his own life and those of his generations.
Confusion Over Generation Sin
Many Christians believe that when they received salvation, all the inherited battles in their life were broken. We say this, but it does not prove true in the whole view of Scripture nor in real life application. I have watched Christians of just about every background repeat the same exact sin battles of their parents; often at the same time their parents did. Most would say it is because they learned these sins from their parents. That is a contributing factor, but not the main reason. I have even observed this in children that did not live with their parents. Adopted children will repeat the exact sin issues of the parents, without ever being raised by them. It is an inherited struggle that must be faced and torn down.
Let us be honest. The battles of mom and dad that they could not or would not overcome are taking us on for size. The inherited iniquity will often manifest at a time in the person’s life when it can do the most damage, to the person and to those around them.Everyone could make their parents turn red, white and blue in the face because of the sin battles they struggled with. Why? Because you struggle with the same ones! No one was taught all these temptations by a human being, but by an invisible kingdom that worked in the generations. This is the work of iniquity.
An Often Time-Released Attack
Iniquity is often time delayed, like a time released pill would be in the person who takes a medication. The inherited iniquity will often manifest at a time in the person’s life when it can do the most damage, to the person and to those around them. For example, if a man has sin issues that he is not addressing in his marriage, the inherited battles he carries will often lurk under the radar until it is time to do some serious damage to his wife and children. This is what often ends many marriages, ministries and government organizations. The headlines seem to come out of nowhere, but the iniquity was there the entire time. It was never addressed, so it waited to release its venom.
This is why iniquity does not just blow up when a child is a toddler. Although there are certainly many battles that manifest in our children, the most dangerous occur down the road, when spouses, relatives, children, communities, businesses and churches can be hurt the most. If you honestly examine your own family trees, you will notice the same patterns occurring. The same rebellion that took place in you or your family is now at work in your children around the same time. Unless addressed and broken, men will inherit the anger battles of their fathers. They hate the anger they experienced, but manifest the same anger in the same way, yet worse! The need to be loved and addiction battles are the same ones that seem to chase you down. It may not be the same drug of choice, but the addiction roots find another pathway to manifest.
A father’s abandonment is repeated in his son’s life when he becomes a father, often at the same time and in the same way. A mother’s unrelenting struggle with mental illness is now taking on her sons and daughters. Promiscuity and sexual temptations that rise up in our children often seem to be a shock to the parents, yet their own past sexual battles were never brought before God to be broken, thus giving room for the children to become vulnerable to the same temptations. The issue was hidden in the closet. They would say, “the past is in the past,” until they see the past being repeated in the present generation.
In our transformation journey, it is helpful to know that of our tough sin issues were inherited in our family line. Most of the sin issues were swept under the rug, so we fell into shame when those same battles hit our doorstep. Other inherited sin battles were more obviously not conquered in the family tree, because we saw them in operation growing up. It can be relieving to know this, because there are some sin battles we will face that can bring shame as we wonder, “Where did this temptation comes from?” The problem is that our ancestors were accustomed to hiding their inward battles, so generations to come were left hanging in their torments and struggles.
I often find that the battles which are generational often take some time to overcome. Not always, but often. Its encouraging to know this, so we don’t give up on a battle that could shake our entire family line for the good of the Kingdom of God.
Not Condemnation But Empowerment to Parents
This insight of generational sin should not condemn parents, but empower them. Instead of sinking down in shame and guilt over the areas we watch our children struggle with, why don’t we stand in and take care of the sin in us that they inherited? In fact, when I am ministering over children, I do not even need to meet the child. I just need to work with the parents, especially the father, because he represents the leadership and priesthood of home. Most often, there are dynamics in the parents or issues in the marriage that are being carried down to the child. As we break the strongholds in the parents, the flow of blessing will at some point hit the children to usher in greater freedom! I have even seen grown children take responsibility for the sin issues of the family and their parents experienced supernatural breakthrough shortly after. Amazing upstream blessing!
One of my greatest passions is to minister a spiritual renovation to our homes and families, because the invisible God has chosen to be represented in the visible home. When these inherited patterns are broken in our families, revival will chase us down and overtake us! When the spiritual dynamic shifts in our households towards God, we will not have to worry about praying for revival or begging for God to move. When these inherited patterns are broken in our families, revival will chase us down and overtake us!
This is a beautiful hope for us all. When I notice my biological children acting out a certain sin issue that I remember struggling with myself, I will have a powerful position to see iniquity broken as I kneel down and say, “Son. Daddy struggled with that same issue. Would you like to pray with me so we can see it broken together?” I can kneel down with my daughter Abigail and say, “Honey, Daddy knows what that battle is like because I struggled with that. Would you like to pray together to see this broken?” To me this is the highest level of generational change. It will take a great deal of humility and pushing down our pride battles, but this is what God spoke of for the healing of our land.
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
In our marriages, we have to realize that two people are coming together with their inheritances–some good some evil. When you are by yourself, it is you and your sin. When you get married, it is your combined junk to the hundredth power. The man carries his women issues as well as his mothers and father’s battles. The woman comes to marriage with her men issues as well as the generationally inherited sins of her father and mother. We hate it, and we try to run to the opposite end, but without the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of Jesus Christ, we often repeat it.
I am so passionate to helping people break the power of what they have inherited that is hindering their health, whole relationships and fruitful living.
To get more information on breaking sin and strongholds that are generational in nature, get your copy of Inside Out Transformation!