Punishment for Sin

Pastor Jeff Struecker

We have been talking about sin at the society level. We’ve been talking about sin at the personal level. Last week we looked at who God is as our Father and why He condemned sin. And today, we’re going to talk about the punishment that goes along with sin.  

I want you to understand how big of a deal sin is and how it impacts generation after generation. I grew up in a house full of drinkers, people who drink a lot of alcohol, and my parents, even though they separated early on. They really struggled with alcohol. In fact, my mother spent most of her life as an alcoholic and now has been in recovery, trying to fight alcohol for many years. And I recognize inside me this tendency that if I were to get a hold of the bottle, the bottle would get ahold of me. And now that I’m a parent, I have had to tell our children, “Be careful if you get a hold of that bottle. Unlike other people, that bottle can easily get a hold of you, and it’s because of the family that you were born into. You didn’t even have to do anything wrong.”

You see, I learned from my parents the idea that I’m trying to warn my children about. This idea is biblical about how sin carries over from one generation to the next. From parents to their children to their children’s children. I want to put these two scripture verses in front of you, and I think you should work hard this week on committing these two verses of the Bible from memory. If you pay close attention to where these verses come from, it’s Exodus chapter 20. God speaks with an audible voice to the people of Israel when He delivers the ten commandments, and God is going to warn Israel that if you don’t pay close attention and break my commandments, it will follow you and your children and your children’s children. So would you do the hard work this week of memorizing these two verses from Exodus chapter 20 when God speaks a warning with an audible voice to all of the generations of Israel?

Memory Verse

This powerful warning is right at the beginning of the ten commandments. And God is saying, I need you to listen very carefully to what I’m saying to you, and I need you to obey these because sin carries consequences and punishments.

And for the generations that don’t love me. Those parents are handing down the sin, and because they’re handing down the sin, they’re also handing down the punishment for that sin from one generation to the next. But you could step in, and you could break that curse. You don’t have to hand down that family curse to the next generation. In fact, the Bible says, for those generations that love me, I bless them for 1000 generations.

See, there’s a very powerful principle that Exodus chapter 20 tells us about: the amazing love of our God. Who knew that we were going to sin, that sin carries a punishment and that punishment is death, and who loves us enough that He would be willing to go to the cross and die for us.

Now that we have understood that there is a generational curse, that when parents sin, they hand that desire to sin off to their children like my parents handed off this desire for the bottle. And if I’m not careful, I will hand that off to my children. So, somebody has to step in and break that family curse. And here’s the question that I want to leave you.

A Challenge

The way this question is worded, you can’t break that family curse on your own. I couldn’t break it on my own, but with God’s help, I’m convinced you can, and then He loves those who love Him to the 1000th generation. I hope you’re so overwhelmed by the love of God that when we think about the punishment of sin, you no longer feel guilty and ashamed because of what you did wrong. But you feel overwhelmed by a God who would leave the throne, come to earth, and take your place on the cross.