1 John 3: 4
“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the 20th session on the 1 John Lecture series.
I will continue with the explanation on 1 John 3:4.
It says, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”
To practice sin is to violate the law of God, namely to practice lawlessness.
If we practice lawlessness, we will be judged according to the rules of the spiritual realm, and the timing and method of judgment vary greatly.
It’s because the law of justice is very complicated and it is applied differently case by case.
For example, if the ancestors did very evil things, their descendants are affected by it.
They have to pay for the sins of the ancestors as well as their own sins.
But even though the ancestors did a great deal of lawlessness, the descendants can be protected by God if they walk in the light and live in the truth.
Or, if the parents or the ancestors served God well, their descendants can receive more blessings than their own actions deserve.
Even if the descendants commit sins to cause anger of God to come upon them, their punishments can be reduced because of the good deeds of their ancestors.
The timing of the punishment can be delayed, too.
When the kings of Judah worshiped idols and committed sins, God was patient with them remembering their father David.
Had God immediately forsaken the kings and people who committed sins, the nation could have fallen right away.
But God did not do that. He continually sent His prophets to advise them, and sometimes He humbled them through the invasion of other countries.
It means He repeatedly gave them chances to repent from their sins and turn away.
God gave them many opportunities for a long period of time, but the kings and people continued to commit sins. As a result of those accumulated sins, the kingdom of Judah finally collapsed.
They were judged according to their deeds.
On the contrary, even though the parents or ancestors did many evil things, in many cases the descendants received compassion of God if they themselves were good.
As explained, the descendants are affected by their ancestors, but this influence is not the only factor.
The most important deciding factor in receiving salvation, blessings, and answers is our own deeds.
The reason why I am explaining the rules of justice is that it will help you receive your answers and blessings more quickly if you know many different cases that you can refer to.
It will also help the leaders when they take care of the souls.
In this session, I will elaborate on the influences of the sins of the ancestors on their descendants.
Brothers and sisters, I explained in the last session that if the ancestors stored many sins like standing against God, conducting sorceries, or idolatry, the retribution will come upon their descendants, too.
What I am explaining now is when the ancestors did great evil to others.
Even though the ancestors did not stand against God directly, when their evil deeds towards other people were beyond limits, it can affect their descendants.
It can appear as sicknesses or some form of calamity. They may have mental disorders, personality problems, or lack of adequate ability to think.
They may lack discernment between good and evil, or sense of guilt and responsibility.
If you see people in prisons, some of them are ashamed of their past and suffer pain due to their sins.
On the contrary, some others just blame others saying that the world and the difficult situations made them do what they did.
Other people suffered damage and pain because of them, but they don’t have any sense of a guilty conscience, and they are incapable of sympathizing with other people’s pain.
Some of them have not been able to sympathize with the pain and suffering of animals or other people since their childhood.
Even when they see something good and moving, they cannot feel anything.
They have serious insufficiency of the discernment between good and evil and ability to think morally.
It is a kind of disorder that causes lack of thinking and perception ability.
For your information, there is an antisocial psychological condition with symptoms referred to as ‘psychopathic’.
Such people do not have normal emotional response because a part of their brain is not active.
So, they don’t understand other people’s viewpoints, and as a result, they are very selfish, impulsive, and extemporaneous in behavior.
Some can lie witout batting an eye, and even if their lie is exposed, they immediately make up other lies without getting embarrassed.
But this kind of symptom is not easily seen externally in their everyday lives.
They can mingle with others very well. They may even appear as knowledgeable, capable, and charming.
The seriousness of the symptoms varies from person to person, and usually their other abilities are normal so they can get a job and socialize with others.
But in extreme cases, they can do very cruel things without hesitation that ordinary people cannot understand.
They can cause social trouble by becoming heinous criminals.
These symptoms also appear because they receive the works of darkness caused by their ancestors’ influeces.
When God created men, He gave us basic thinking ability and discernment.
Of course, people have different feelings and thoughts.
Some have rich emotions while others have relatively dry emotions.
Some are good at controlling their feelings while others are more implusive.
Some are sensitive about their own or other people’s faults while others are not as sensitive about them.
There may be differences as above, but there is a normal range of feelings and thinking of human beings.
Also, those who have normal thinking and perception can discern between the good and evil, and they know what they should do and what they should not do.
If they don’t do something they should or vice versa, they feel the pangs of conscience.
If this kind of ability is seriously lacking, it is considered a mental disorder.
They may say, “I can calculate well, I have good memory, and I am sociable, so nothing is wrong with me,” but, when discernment is outside of the normal boundaries it is a type of spiritual curse.
Even if they don’t have physical illness or other calamities of life, they are already cursed.
Though the magnitude varies, we have some church members who belong to this category.
They seriously lack the discernment to perceive good and evil and choose what is good. They also lack the ability to feel shame caused by sins.
Even though they listen to the truth, it doesn’t touch their hearts. Even if they learn about good and evil, they don’t really accept it.
Whether or not others are suffering or injured, or whether it is something good or evil, they just do whatever they want to do.
Even though they learn something is very evil, they cannot really understand why it is evil.
Even though they are taught that it is a sin leading them to Hell, they cannot really feel the truth of it.
So, they cannot repent from the heart.
Last year, one person committed many works of the flesh and came before me for repentance.
He was saying he was repenting, but I was very worried in my heart.
His face was telling me he was not repenting, and he was so insensitive and did not shed any tears of truthfulness.
Of course, if you commit sins leading to death and the spirit of repentance does not come upon you, you cannot repent no matter how much you want to.
But in this case, it was a little different from that case where you feel sorry for what you did but cannot repent of it.
If he had truly realized his sins, he would have been so very sorry and embarrassed that he wouldn’t have been able to lift up his head, but it seemed he didn’t even know what kind of wrongdoing he had done.
If you receive the Holy Spirit and understand the truth, how afflicted you feel when you commit sins!
You have the guilty conscience and think like, “I am so sorry before God and before my shepherd. Why did I do such a shameful and evil thing?”
Also, you will rebuke yourself thinking like, “How much damage did I cause to that person? How can I make it up?”
But to my surprise, this person did not have any sense of guilt.
Even though his sins were revealed and he was reprimanded, he didn’t take it seriously.
He could feel only something like, “We make mistakes and there can be many things in our lives.”
In this case, it’s not that God did not help him at all just because he lacked discernment and thinking ability.
He had a weak part in his body, and through that weakness God gave him a chance to look back on himself.
At that time, he had some fear because he was having pain, and he tried to look back on himself, but it was only for that moment.
Because he couldn’t realize deep in his heart that he really had done wrong, he didn’t have the willingness to repent truthfully.
What if he lives without repenting and meets the Lord in sins?
He will only be judged and fall into Hell.
What a fearful thing it is!
Now, what is the reason that this person seriously lacks the ability to feel sense of guilt or shame?
It’s because the walls of sins of the ancestors affected the heart of the descendants.
Of course, when a person is raised in out-of-ordinary environment and does not receive sufficient love in their childhood, they may have emotional or thinking disorder.
But in case of a person who seriously lacks discernment between good and evil and sense of guilt, usually the innate influence of the ancestors is the major reason.
Usually, even unbelievers say if the ancestors store up good deeds, their descendants are also well-off.
This saying is in accordance with the spiritual justice.
Usually, those who are good live a good life, revering heaven or God even when they do not know the gospel.
Then, their descendants also receive blessings, have relatively good hearts, and live comfortable lives.
They are not only good-hearted but also wise, so they benefit many others and have very positive influence on the society.
On the contrary, some people pile up evil upon evil following their desires and lusts.
They do not hesitate to create schemes to seek their own benefit.
They frame others to destroy them or do the things that will make other people resent them.
Some of them betray and sell out the country to cause pain for so many people.
Some people do not even hesitate to kill other people.
Some of those who have power massacre others to keep their power and wealth.
Some people do very evil things and even kill others because of jealousy or just because they don’t like somebody.
When Cain killed Abel, it was not because Abel did something wrong or harmed Cain.
When such evil deeds are stored up and go beyond the limit, in that one moment, they can be captured by darkness, suffer from pain of heart, and even commit suidice.
Their children and descendants might also be captured by darkness due to their ancestors’ influence and commit suicide.
Also, they may have mental disorders like the examples I just gave you.
They have intellectual, social or other emotional disorder, and they seriously lack discernment between good and evil and thinking ability.
They may have depression, mental disorders, or the impulse to commit suicide. They may become cirimnals and live miserable lives.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, how moved do you become by something good?
How much do you hate evil things?
If you have goodness in heart, you delight in hearing and speaking of good things.
You would soon burst into tears when you hear a moving story; when you see something pitiful, you would want to provide help, and not become cold-hearted.
You would hate to see or hear evil things.
You would not want to hear somebody talk badly about others. If you see others do evil for their benefit, you mourn over it.
You would naturally want to avoid things that are brutal, violent, and adulterous.
But as the generation becomes more evil, people enjoy seeing and hearing evil things.
The various media forms also show lustful and provocative things more and more.
Even though you don’t have deficiency in emotions or thinking ability, you would be planting more evil in your heart and your conscience will become increasingly numb if you continue to invove yourself with those things.
Your guard against sins will become weaker, and your good emotions about good things will disappear.
Matthew 11:16-17 says, “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children  and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'”
You should not say, “I don’t lack sense of guilt due to influence of ancestors, so I don’t have anything to do with those things.” You have to long to have more goodness in you.
I hope you will cultivate pure and clean hearts like that of children, so that you will be moved greatly by good things and you will hate and distance yourself from evil things.
Also, even if you belong to the above category, you must not be disheartened or discouraged.
You can just try your best to repent of your evil and accumulate more goodness before God.
Even though you cannot really feel the good things or the evilness of sins deep in your heart, you can still discern between the good and evil with the standard of the word of God.
I hope you will hold on to the word of God and choose goodness in every matter.
While attending this church of grace, if you try to change yourself longing for the compassion of God, you will certainly receive it.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when the sins of the ancestors are passed down to their descendants, the descendants may suffer from negative thoughts.
Several years ago, there was a person from another country who came to receive my prayer.
He had many weaknesses including bone fractures, inflammations, and herniated disc. His heart was also in trouble.
God let me know that, in his case, all the problems were caused because he was very pessimistic and sensitive.
When people face the same kind of problem some people deal with it with a positive attitude while others become edgy and pessimistic.
This person belonged to the latter type of personality.
If he began to worry about something, though it was something small, he soon became obsessed with it and made the problem bigger.
He suffered in his heart so much as if he were in a very difficult problem.
But he wouldn’t do that just because he had negative characters of personality.
Even though he tried to think in positive way, his thoughts would soon become negative because he had accepted darkness in his heart.
This affected his body as well, and that is why many sicknesses and weaknesses come to him more easily than to others.
If the evil is accumulated from previous generations like in this case, it is not easy to believe the gospel they hear.
Even if they have the good fortune to accept the Lord, they have to try harder to show more good deeds than others to receive the grace of God.
For example, for some families, once one of the family members accepts the Lord, all other members would soon accept the Lord too.
They receive God’s grace easily and lead a happy and energetic Christian lives.
They have many kinds of testimonies, too.
We have many families like this in our church.
When one person gets healed or becomes changed by the word in this church, all the family members soon come to church.
They easily receive the power of prayer and realize spiritual things easily, so they soon grow as workers of the church.
On the other hand, some families are hard to evangelize, and even if they come to church, they cannot easily have faith.
They may diligently attend the worship services and try their best, but understanding the word takes place slowly and God’s grace cannot easily come upon their hearts.
This shows us the different influences of the deeds of the ancestors on their descendants.
When people accept the Lord, receive the Holy Spirit, and repent thoroughly of their sins, the bad influence of the ancestors might be cut off.
But if the evil is too grave, it is not easy for the evil influence to be cut off just by receiving the Holy Spirit and repenting thoroughly once.
But I am not saying you should give up.
I am not delivering this message so that you will become discouraged thinking, “My heart is so evil. My ancestors accumulated so much evil that I am so slow to understanding and I constantly receive works of the darkness.”
I am explaining these things for you to find the solutions to these problems.
Many church members here reap as they sow and receive answers to their prayers.
But if you do not reap what you sow and do not receive the answer to your prayers for a long time, you should realize the reason why and find the way to receive answers.
That is why I am explaining the justice of God.
So, what do you have to do?
As you learn about each rule of justice, you can just understand each point and continue to store up goodness with truthful faith.
You may not know what happened in the past. But even if there is accumulated evil by your ancestors, you can just store up goodness that can destroy it.
It may be a little more difficult for you than others, and the timing may be a little delayed, but it is never impossible.
As you keep on storing up goodness, the proper measure according to the rules of justice will be filled, and you can suddenly receive the answer and blessings in a moment.
Then you can give glory to God more greatly.
As you now know the spiritual rules, you can just accumulate goodness more diligently; you don’t have to put the blame on your ancestors or your circumstances.
Moreover, even though you have problems of ancestors or your circumstances, nothing will matter if you just go into spirit.
You will receive blessings in full in spirit and body and enjoy the grace of God.