“I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my commands.”-Exodus 20:5-6
In Exodus 20:5-6, when God speaks of punishing the children for the sins of their parents to the “third and fourth generation”, and displaying grace to the “thousandth generation”, these phrases are not to be take literally.
They are simply Hebrew idioms.
“Into the 3rd and 4th generation” means for some period of time but NOT forever.
On the other hand, “into the 1000th generation” means forever.
Notice the contrast.
God’s judgment and the ensuing negative consequences due to sin lasts for a relatively short time period, whereas His love and kindness continues on for all eternity.
Another thing I want you to notice is the word “grace” in verse 6.
“Grace” was NOT some New Testament dispensation.
Ever since God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins (the first sacrifice) in the Garden of Eden, salvation has always been via grace through faith.
What I like about verses 5 and 6 is that it clearly defines the type of person who “hates” God versus the one who “loves” Him.
God clearly states that the person who DISOBEYS His Word hates Him.
And the person who OBEYS His Word loves Him.
One might object and say what if I have violated God’s Word in ignorance?
That doesn’t mean I HATE God now, does it?
Well, umm, yes it does.
See, it’s not our perspective that matters, it’s God’s.
And God makes it clear that the person who breaks His Word is demonstrating hate towards Him, plain and simple.
The truth is, for centuries up until the present day, Christians have held a mistaken notion of the true Biblical definition of “love” and “hate”.
For the Christian, “love” and “hate” is all about how one “feels”, it’s one’s emotions that take precedence in the matter.
However, from a Hebrew linguistic perspective and mindset, “love” and “hate” are things expressed through one’s actions.
Based on this definition, loving God equals obeying His commands whereas hating God equals disobeying His commands.
However, understand I’m not talking about salvation here.
There is a difference between “loving God by obeying His commandments” and “trusting Him for salvation”.
Salvation is trusting in the work of Yeshua.
Loving God by obeying His commandments is NOT a requirement for salvation.
Yet loving God should be the natural response towards the One who has saved you.
On judgement day, there will be many who will profess their love for God.
But just because they loved God in their minds and in their own way does not mean they will be saved.
Because salvation ONLY comes from accepting the saving provision of His Son Yeshua the Messiah.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“If you love me, keep my commands.”