According to the dictionary, the word, “acquiesce” means to agree or consent quietly without protest.” In our Christian life, acquiescence means spiritual passivity, and to live passively is to accept defeat by default. Spiritual freedom, however, can only be found when we actively make a series of choices based on the truth of God’s word. For example, we were all born spiritually dead and separated from God because of Adam’s sin (see Romans 5:12-15; Ephesians 2:1-3). When we were born again, we became new creations in Christ. But our minds were not instantly reprogrammed, and many of our old habits are still with us. Now that we are alive in Christ, you and I can be transformed by the renewing of our minds (see Romans 12:2). That renewal won’t happen, however, unless you are “diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 timothy 2:15). Spiritual victory is realized as we actively choose to place our faith or trust in Jesus Christ for justification and sanctification, rejecting dead works and other false means (see Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:4-9).
Dealing with intergenerational and corporate sin also calls for an active faith. For that reason, in Step Seven, “Acquiescence versus Renunciation,” we take an active stand by faith against any sins of our ancestors that may result in spiritual problems in our lives today (see Exodus 20:4-6). It is important to understand that we are not guilty for our parents’ sins, but that because they sinned we are likely to suffer the consequences. Some people struggle to accept the fact that sin can have intergenerational consequences even though one of the most well-accepted phenomenon of our day is the fact that the cycle of abuse continues in families from one generation to the next. The wonderful truth is that we can stop that cycle of abuse if we actively take our place in Christ.
Some people might explain the transmission of sin environmentally and genetically but not spiritually. But Jeremiah 32:16-18 says that iniquity is passed on into the bosom of the next generation, a statement which negates the role of the environment. The argument that iniquity is passed on genetically doesn’t fit with the definition of iniquity. (Iniquity refers to self-rule or self-will which operates from an independent spirit.) The issue is also a spiritual one, and we therefore need to actively choose to confess and renounce all the sins of our ancestors so that we may find the freedom God promises (see Leviticus 26: 38-40 and Ezekiel 18:18-22). If, like the kings which followed Jereboam, we simply continue in the sins of our ancestors, the spiritual bondage will continue.
Hear God’s admonition to actively assume responsibility for our minds and actively resist the devil: “Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit….Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Peter 1:13; 5:8, 9). Even the armor of God requires active participation on our part: “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore…” (Ephesians 6:13,14). A passive faith just doesn’t work.