(This morning I have been asked by several people for my teaching on generational curses so I thought I would bring everything together in a new blog post for you!)
What is a Generational Curse?
Most charismatics define a generational curse as a curse on someone’s life caused by their families’ sins, maybe parents, grandparents or great-grandparents. So, basically what they would teach is that granny sinned fifty years ago and was then cursed for that sin, and that curse went onto mummy and then onto you, and the reason your life is not successful or you are sinning or sick or broke is because of granny’s sin. Therefore you need to go back up the family line, find out granny’s sin and repent of it and break that curse in the name of Jesus so you can receiving your blessing, healing, freedom, and abundance.
It is taught so frequently, but as with everything we do and say and teach must be backed up with Scripture, and we must remember that we live in the New Covenant, are new creations, and must view the Scripture through the lens of the New Covenant.
Genealogies Matter in the Old, Not The New
In the Old Testament, blessings and curses were indeed passed down the family line. If dad was a priest, you could be a priest. If not, you could not be. When Achan stole from Jericho, he and his lineage were all put to death. What family you were in mattered. 1 Chronicles 1 to 9 is all genealogies. Even Jesus, who was born in the Old Covenant, has two genealogies in the Bible, Matthew takes it through Joseph, Luke through Mary, so we can see his legal and physical lineage back to David and to Abraham, and with Luke, all the way back to Adam. Lineage matters in the Old Testament, and people were warned not to sin as it would affect their children. This is the origin of generational curse teachings today, and everyone who teaches in generational curses today has to dig deep in the Old Testament to teach their sermons.
However, we live in the New Covenant, and one of the greatest and central truths of the New Covenant is the new birth. Jesus told Nicodemus that we must be born again, and this new birth is in the spirit not the flesh. Later on, Paul lets us know that:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5.17-21, NIV)
We are now new creations! You and I as Christians are born of God and the old has gone. So, now our geneaology can be summed up in three words: born of God. You are born of God. One of the joys of the new birth is that lineage doesn’t matter any more. We know Jesus’s heritage back to Adam, but we do not even know Paul’s mum’s name! This is because lineage is made completely irrelevant by the new birth:
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3.28, NIV)
The moment you are in Christ, it is irrelevant whether you are from Jewish or Gentile background, whether your parents were slaves or free, none of that matters – you are all in the new family in Christ. Your DNA is now from God, your lineage is from God, and you are now blessed with every single spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1.3).
You Are Redeemed from the Curse
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Galatians 3.13)
Part of our redemption as Christians is that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us. All curses find their origin and their source in the law of Moses, even generational curses. It is the law of Moses that insists that the children have to pay for the iniquity of their parents and grandparents (e.g. Exodus 34.7, Deut. 5.9). However, as born-again Christians we are no longer under the curse of the law, God has set us free from the curse of the law by putting all of that curse on Jesus Christ. Yes, your parents sinned, your grandparents sinned, your great-grandparents sinned – but all of that sin and the resulting curse was laid on Christ and killed him. Now Christ has defeated all the curse of the law once and for all – you are no longer under a curse. Christ has nailed the law to the cross (Col. 2.14), so the generational curses are laid on Jesus, once and for all on the cross. Every single curse was once and for all paid for on the cross. The moment you are born again, your curses are all gone, you are a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come, your lineage has changed, your Father has changed, your family has changed, and you are now blessed with every single blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1.3).
You do not need to go chasing up your lineage and find out granny’s sins. You need to turn your eyes onto Jesus, the author and finished of our faith and consider Him!
Practical Issues with this Teaching
- It takes our eyes off Jesus. As Christians we should be looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, not looking to granma’s sins. That gets our focus on what could be some murky thoughts. We are supposed to honour our father and mother, not dig into their lifestyle and investigate and expose their nakedness.
- It causes us to believe the cross is insufficient for our redemption. It is not believing the cross and you finding out the sins of your family. It is just believing in the cross. We just need to believing in what Jesus did, it does not need to be added to by you finding out nana’s behaviour at age 7, 17 or 77. The work of the cross is and always be complete.
- It mixes the Covenants. One of the single greatest reasons for the church to live in defeat is that they are mixing the Old and New Covenant, and not realizing that the beginning of the new covenant is the ending of the old. The New Covenant calls the old covenant obsolete, and though we can absolutely learn from it and be admonished by it, we are not under it, and should not look to the law as our authority, anymore. To teach generational curses you have to drag up the Old Covenant that we have been delivered from, and bring us back under it, and the sad story is this: if we live under law, we will be under the dominion of sin (Romans 6.14), and never walk in victory.
- It never leads to good fruit. I have found that if I preach about freedom from the curse I see so many healings in my ministry, because this teaching holds people in defeat, they are always looking at their parent’s family tree, and never looking at Christ.
- You are never going to know all your families’ sins – the task required under a generational curse way of seeing the world is impossible. What if granny doesn’t want to tell you what she got up to as a wayward teen? What if you have never met your own biological father? What if granddad lies to you? It’s a futile task and if completing it is essential for your walk of victory, then you are in trouble.
- It takes away from the power and completeness of the new birth. Colossians 2.10 says that we are complete in Christ, and anything that detracts from that, is going to detract from you believing the Word and walking in victory. We cannot allow this!
- It Causes Conflict in Families. As a pastor, I want families to walk in peace, and as long as people are digging dirt on each other, they are disrespecting each other. It’s not a healthy doctrine for building healthy families.
The Revelation of Completeness
My passion as a pastor is to present people to Christ aware of their completeness, aware that the work of Christ on the cross has made them complete. Aware that every curse, every sickness, every negative aspect from the fall, was laid on Him and now He gives us freely His righteousness, His blessing, His grace, His goodness. We are redeemed from every single curse, even the ones from our family tree, as the moment we are in Christ we are born again, we are new creations, the old has gone and the new has come.
Why is this teaching so ubiquitous in charismatic churches? The reason is this – a lot of people live in a blame culture, they want to blame others for their lack of victory. They are looking for reasons why they are failing in personal discipline and holiness, why they are not walking in victory, health and abundance. The truth is that they need to start walking by faith and digging into the Word and looking to Jesus seem too simplistic to them, they have never seen the true glory of the cross and the glory of the new covenant. And then some preacher comes along and says the reason you are not living in victory is because that your family is dysfunctional and your grandparents sinned. And you think – hey my family is dysfunctional and my grandparents did sin – because everybody’s family has some level of dysfunction and everyone’s grandparents sinned. But that is not the cause of your trouble, your trouble is caused, your destruction is caused by your lack of knowledge (Hos. 4.6) of the complete work of Christ and your new creation status. I pray for all of you reading this that you would have a fresh revelation of your new identity in the new covenant.
In fact, for free of charge, I have three hours of teaching on the new covenant that will really help you – the link is here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLq_f-YVwDLC1jqXv6uj6skmJ9mT3YPbL7
Love you all, please feel free to post comments and questions below.