Man's work is futile, God's work is grace


John 9:1 And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.


John 9:2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?"



/They did not ask Him, this is not the word for asking. The word here is epotao (e)rwtaw) which means to interrogate.\


Aorist tense: they interrogated Him in this point of time. They are standing around discussing a person who is listening to them, and a person who is blind has very keen hearing.


This discussion is going on all around him and their talking about him as if he’s not even there. They discuss him as though he was a piece of beef on the pavement.


/They have no sensitivity to his sensitivity. They are not aware of the fact that a blind beggar could have a soul and be as sensitive as anyone else.\


/Lack of spiritual growth breeds self-absorption, arrogance, and lack of sensitivity to others.\


If you are one of the fortunate ones to be advancing spiritually and you happen to find yourself around believers who are weak, you must apply the royal family honor code.



/Rom 15:1

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.\


However, Christ is going to rebuke them gently as well as teach them the proper principle, since He is not only their Savior, but their teacher and trainer. Therefore a gentle rebuke along with correction may be in order when you are dealing with a weak believer, but that is between you and God.


You who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength.


/“saying” – they kept on saying. They didn’t say it once; they said it enough times that this person could have fallen apart from self-pity.\


“who did sin, this man or his parents” – the disciples are looking at a body, but that body has a soul.


“that” introduces a result clause; “with the result that he was born blind?” There are two theories.


/Some held to the “this man” theory – he sinned so he was born blind (not logical), some to the “parent” theory – his parents sinned so he was born blind (a distortion of doctrine).\


Both of these positions are wrong.


The culpability theory is the religious theory. Number one theory is philosophical; number two is religious.


/The culpability theory is a distortion of scripture, a misinterpretation of Exodus 20:5. This view was held by Judaism. It says his parents did something terrible and he is paying for it.\


/Several points concerning the doctrine of culpability.\


/1. The principle of culpability is given in Exodus 20:4-6; Deuteronomy 5:8-10. The true law of culpability as stated in these two passages merely says that when the parents have weaknesses they often teach their children to be weak in the same way. It has to do with how parents rear their children.\


Ex 20:4-6

"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.


Deut 5:8-10 is an identical passage.


This is important and has application to us in the N.T. because in our day and age a lot is blamed upon the parents. Parents are being made culpable which children are given rights above the parents.


/If you go around blaming your parents for any of the bad things in your life you are a weak, arrogant believer.\


There are no perfect parents. Some parents are better than others and some parents commit horrible mental, verbal, and physical acts upon their children. Some parents don’t protect their children’s bodies and souls like they should.


We could all share war stories and some of us would have more war in our lives than others, however, bad decisions and failure to overcome bad circumstances are never the fault of someone else. God has provided a way of escape.


/1 Cor 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.\


/2. The law of culpability only runs for four generations and then there is a change. Exodus 34:6,7; Numbers 14:18.\




Ex 34:6-7

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."


/3. The mechanics of the four-generation curse is given in the Hebrew of Proverbs 30:11-17.\


Prov 30:11-17

11 There is a kind of man who curses his father,

And does not bless his mother.

12 There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes,

Yet is not washed from his filthiness.

13 There is a kind —  oh how lofty are his eyes!

And his eyelids are raised in arrogance.

14 There is a kind of man whose teeth are like swords,

And his jaw teeth like knives,

To devour the afflicted from the earth,

And the needy from among men.

15 The leech [vampire or demon] has two daughters, "Give," "Give."[gimme gimme – the fourth generation is never satisfied and four categories are given…]

There are three things that will not be satisfied,

Four that will not say, "Enough":

16 Sheol [death is not enough, they want to devour more lives], and the barren womb [having a lot of children was a status symbol so they insatiably want more children – more status],

Earth that is never satisfied with water [lust is never quenched],

And fire that never says, "Enough." [the fire wants more wood to burn so they want more things to consume]

17  [here we are back to the start of it all – disrespectful teenagers]The eye that mocks a father,

And scorns a mother,

The ravens of the valley will pick it out,

And the young eagles will eat it.


Therefore we have the end of either a family line through the sin unto death, or the destruction of a nation under the 5th cycle of discipline.


Our nation is on this trend. More death – get the undesirables out of the way. If you look at trends the orthodox Christian is quickly becoming the undesirable while the so-called Christian who is willing to play ball with the government is becoming desirable.  More status – more fame, more power, more approbation. More lust – hedonism – the frantic search for happiness. More to burn – more things to consume.


/4. The true law of culpability is given in Deuteronomy 24:16 – God will bless your family down to the thousandth generation where Bible doctrine is perpetuated in the home.\


/Deut 24:16

"Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.\




Basically in Israel Bible doctrine was taught in the home.


Some of you through PVTD and your push to spiritual maturity will have saved their families and their nation through blessing by association.


/5. When there is a family curse (poor rearing) cursing can be turned into blessing always – and doctrine breaks the curse. Jeremiah 31:29-34; Deuteronomy 6:6-12; 7:9; Psalm 100:5.\


John 9:3 Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.



Verse 3 – Jesus answers them, and He rebukes both the philosophical and the religious view. The word “answered” is an aorist passive indicative which means ‘Jesus had an answer’ – Bible doctrine in His soul.


“Neither hath this man sinned” – Jesus refutes the theory that was the culpability concept of the Pharisees.


The reason for the man’s congenital blindness? The Lord does not imply that the man or his parents have never sinned, but He says that the sins of this man and those of his parents have nothing to do with the blind man’s condition.


/Principle of application: It is wrong to assume that good health the sign of salvation or spirituality. Loss of health or illness does not give the right to judge others.\ 


“but” introduces a purpose clause. God had a purpose in this congenital blindness; “that the works of God should be manifest.”


The works of God here represent divine good. The word “God” is literally “the God” and refers to God the Father and His plan.


The works of the God


/1. This is a reference to God the Father, author of the divine plan, who knew in eternity past that this man would be blind and that he would have +V.\


/2. God also knew the combination of genes which would produce congenital blindness.\ 

© Grace and Truth Ministries / Pastor Joseph Sugrue • • All rights reserved.