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Exodus 20:5... I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
Deuteronomy 5:9... I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
Children suffer the consequences of their father’s sin. The primary example is that of sin and death passing upon all of Adam’s offspring because of Adam’s disobedience.
Romans 5:17... by one man’s offence death reigned by one;
Romans 5:19... by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die...
The Jews have suffered for the sins of their fathers – a witness to all nations.
Matthew 27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Individuals are subject to collective suffering for the sins of their fathers, but God deals separately with each individual as far as eternal salvation is concerned. This is made clear in Ezekiel 18:1-32
We bear the responsibility for our own disobedience.
With Adam’s fall God promised salvation through the ‘seed of the woman’
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The hope has been the same from Adam onwards – that God would provide a way of escape from sin and death for those who were prepared to live by God’s precepts.
The way has been provided through Jesus Christ. He ‘bruised the head of the serpent’ in that he did no sin. He destroyed in himself that which has the power of death.
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Eternal life is freely offered to the individual who believes the gospel, repents of his evil way of life and is baptised for the remission of his sins. God forgives sins on the basis of the voluntary giving of the life of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for sin.
We will suffer the consequences of our father’s sins – as sons of Adam we will die – but if we obey the gospel and live a new life in Christ we will be raised from the dead to eternal life when he returns.
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
‘All be made alive’ does not refer to universal salvation but to those who have obeyed the gospel.
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
I hope you have found this helpful.
May God bless you,