Posted by: tjrobb | May 26, 2020

sins and shadows

“Old sins cast long shadows.“

Have you ever heard that saying before? There are probably as many interpretations for it as the number of years it’s been around (quite possibly since the 1600’s).

Peter Adam, a vicar emeritus at St. Jude’s Carlton in Melbourne, speaking of how the aborigines were treated long ago by the country of Australia uses the ancient words in that context when he says: “Ancient wrongs have consequences which last for generations. Innocent people suffer because of the sins of people they do not even know, who lived in the past. ‘Old sins cast long shadows.’”

All sin has consequence. At times, those consequences are immediate and finite. But there are also times when the consequences linger, and their effects are felt for generations. As Christ-followers and students of scripture, we see this principle pictured over and over in God’s Word. Genesis chapter three records the very first disobedience that opened the door to sin (separation from God), that mankind has been dealing with ever since.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Romans 5:18-19 (ESV)

The words of Paul centuries later, referring to Adam’s first sin.

But hear these as well …

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1 Peter 1:3 (ESV)

Did you catch that? God in His great mercy sent the second Adam (His precious Son) to right the wrong caused by Adam and Eve’s disobedience.

Perhaps you’re struggling today with the results of sin in your life. Perhaps, unbeknownst to you, it is a pattern of sin which began generations before. As a Christ-follower, first ask your Heavenly Father for forgiveness.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (ESV)

Then, heed the words of James in stopping your own pattern of sin, and possibly one that began generations before you …

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 (ESV)

Hear clearly today that Jesus’ death on the cross broke the power of sin over our lives, and generational sins can stop with you. You can begin today (right now) to create a new story for you and for those to come. You may struggle but the struggle matters, especially when it is lovingly and prayerfully exposed as an example for those who follow.

And then, as fitting punctuation to all of it, Hebrews 10:17 calls back through the ages to the words of the prophet Jeremiah:

I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.

All of this to say … there is forgiveness from sin and in Christ a hope for today and the future.

Begin today …… Old Sins Need Not Cast Long Shadows


  1. Praise the Lord! He does set us free from the shadow of old sins!

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