Can children inherit their parent’s sins through birth & Expound on 1 Timothy 5:24.
1) In the context of Numbers 14 and Lamentations chapter 5, yes! Children can inherit their parent’s sins (in terms of consequences which is what these passages are dealing with).
The Israelites children suffered for 38 years in the wilderness due to their choice not to believe God and courageously go into Canaan on His timing. The children then had to wait until that generation of adults had died out before they received another chance to go in.
In Lamentations, the children were suffering incredibly due to the sins of their parents (and the sins of their parent’s ancestors which their parents had continued in) when Jerusalem was seized by the Babylonians and in the siege prior to that.
Sin has awful consequences for others. This is an aspect of why sin is so utterly wicked and sinful. We should let examples like this remind us how grievous sin is, and how sins committed can greatly harm others. The world needs to know this, and Christians need to be reminded of this.
Many innocent children died in the flood in Noah’s time due to the wickedness of their parents. Many other examples could be given, especially that Adam and Eve’s descendants were born into banishment from God’s presence and into a fallen world of pain, sorrow, sickness, and death due to Adam and Eve’s sin.
We rightly emphasize that no one goes to hell because of the sins of others. We rightfully emphasize that everyone is accountable for their own sin and emphasize that, due to the grace of God which is available to us, no one needs to sin. We can’t blame Adam and Eve for our moral failures. No one will go to hell due to their sin. None of this is coming against those truths. Nevertheless, sins which people commit can make life painful for others and can make doing righteousness more difficult and complicated for others, especially their own children.
No one has suffered more due to the sins of others than Jesus Christ. And that is both due the complicated, difficult circumstances He had to overcome in order to offer Himself up as the Perfect Lamb of God to make an atonement for the sins of the world; and it is due as well to the curse of sin which was put upon Him as He died on the cross in making that atonement which caused him to suffer, suffer due to the sins of others, more than words can express.
2) I doubt I have more insight on this than you do brother. I think that Paul was emphasizing to Timothy that even though you must be extremely careful in choosing elders and do all in your power not to ordain a hypocrite or a spiritually immature Christian, there is still a point where you can righteously investigate no more. When that is reached, you can trust God to reveal sins, and perhaps other issues like weaknesses and immaturities, which ought to disqualify a man from being an elder. Likewise, you may honestly not see that a man is qualified to be an elder, but if you pay attention and aren’t a respecter of persons, you can trust that a man like that will have his good works and good character revealed publicly by God’s own sovereignty over time.
I think Paul’s point here is, Be extremely careful about the elders you ordain but still know that you may not make the best choices anyways due to your limited information. The information to show who is best qualified will eventually come out, but it may take some time. Therefore, be ready to adjust afterwards even though you should do all you righteously can to make choices which won’t have to be regretted.
Hope that helps brother. Great questions.
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]