Generation to Generation

“From generation to generation of those who fear the Lord…” If you are an avid Bible reader, this is a phrase you may have come across. In fact, throughout the Bible, God talks about truths that surpass generations. I’ll mention three: our sin, God’s power, and God’s mercy.

In Exodus 34, we read as Moses proclaims that the Lord is slow to anger and “abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to the thousands…” (vv. 6-7). And “yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:7, NIV) 

What can we glean from this? Well, the truth is that sin is inescapable. Ultimately, the curse that started with Adam continues to be spread to every human. And we have no one to blame but ourselves. We all are guilty of sinning against God. And the only way to break free from the bondage of sin that plagues each generation is the cross work of Jesus Christ.

Trusting in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for our sins is the only way to be free from sin! This is a key truth that we can share from generation to generation—and watch the Lord bless it. 

In the book of Psalms, David, a man after God’s own heart, declares, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who come.” (Psalm 71:18, NIV). Daniel also speaks of God’s dominion continuing from generation to generation and that His Kingdom is eternal. On this side of eternity, we can only personally experience our one life. But the truth is this: God is everlasting. His love, power, authority, rule, and blessings continue eternally, as such is His nature. 

A thousand years for us seems as but a breath for God. And yet, this eternal, omnipotent Creator of the universe cares about us and our life. And He cares about our children and our children’s children. He desires us to know Him and grow in our relationship with Him. Jesus told us that “his mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” (Luke 1:50, NIV).

That mercy is compassion and forgiveness toward us, that even “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NIV) We deserve death, but are given eternal life through Him. And we in turn are asked to both love mercy and share God’s mercy with others!

There are certainly more. But here are three key truths that span the generations: our sin, God’s power, and God’s mercy. What should we do with this?

With regard to our sin we should repent! With regard to His power, we should praise Him! And with regard to His mercy, we should share it!

One of the greatest acts of love we can demonstrate is to share the Gospel with others. It’s Good News that will not only change their life but perhaps also the lives of their children and their children’s children. Their family tree (with regard to their eternal destination) could be changed by one single act. And all we have to do is step out and share! Plus, God commissions us to do it! He wants every person to hear about His mercy and grace (Mark 16).

So let us be bold witnesses for Christ and stand firm on His promises. Let us put our faith in our eternal God and take the step of faith to share the Gospel with others. Let us be a part of seeing the generations know and love God and serve Him with their whole hearts. Let us continue…until every person has a chance to hear.

John Sorensen (Doctorate of Divinity, Knox Theological Seminary & Doctor of Humane Letters, Montreat College) is the president of Evangelism Explosion International (www.evangelismexplosion.org) and host of Share Life Today (www.sharelife.today). Sorensen has authored the books Well Done and Your Story Counts and travels the globe for Evangelism Explosion. This past year Evangelism Explosion International equipped more than 435,000 Christians worldwide to be witnesses for Christ, and saw, by the grace of God, more than 7.9 million people make a profession of faith in Jesus. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife, Ann, and he has four adult children and six grandchildren.