Skip to comments.Sin Lieth at the Door
Posted on 05/25/2019 5:41:15 PM PDT by pcottraux
Sin Lieth at the Door
By Philip Cottraux
Eden was paradise on Earth, a place where the Lord came down to personally walk and talk with man. How much closer to God can you be this side of heaven? Yet because of sin, only one generation later, Adam and Eves children were killing one another. What a fall from grace!
You could be a great witness for God your whole life, preaching the gospel, laying hands on the sick, and seeing miracles and healings. It could take decades of fasting and praying to reach such a high spiritual level. But sin takes over much faster than the anointing. Climbing a mountain takes time and perseverance, but little time at all to fall from the summit to the ground. Once you yield to sin, everything you gained for God goes out the window and youre suddenly at a lower level than you ever thought possible.
The story of Cain and Abel is very short, only taking up 15 verses in Genesis. Yet its complexity is truly amazing, revealing universal truths about mankind as old as time itself. Though Cain is remembered as historys first murderer, the narration of Genesis 4 is entirely from his point of view. We learn little about Abel; the Word of God seems to make a cautionary point about Cains mindset to keep us from making the same mistakes.
Genesis 4:1-2: And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Some have described this storys emergence from the dawn of mankind as a parable of the conflict between pastoralists and agriculturists. However, I think theres something more profound going on here, and its not just a contemplation on how our children can become the worst of sinners because of our mistakes. The real moral is that envy is one of the most destructive forces on planet earth, causing wars, murders, and broken homes, and has unfortunately been part of the human condition since the first siblings were born.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (verse 4). Blood had to be shed as atonement for sin. As a shepherd, Abel sacrificed the best of his flock, and God honored it. Cain may have given the best of what he had as well. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground and offering unto the Lord but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell (verses 3,5). Fruits and vegetables cant atone for sin. God didnt ask for Cains works; He asked for his obedience. Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22).
Cain was angry because things werent working out very well for him. His brother was blessed while he got nothing in return. But God didnt join his pity party. He starts verse 7 by saying If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? When someone is in Cains situation, whats the last thing they want to hear? The brutal truth that it might be their own fault. Cains misfortunes were because of his own actions, not his brothers. But the Lord didnt just assign blame; He also challenged him to do better. Humility and obedience would turn his circumstances around.
Blaming others for our misfortunes is the easy way out. Envy is the primal urge that drives so many to terrible deeds. Maturity requires self-accountability. God warned of the destruction that lay ahead if Cain wouldnt correct himself: And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door (verse 7).
We can easily hold this up as a mirror to one of Christs most famous statements at the exact opposite end of the Bible: Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20). But Jesus isnt the only one who knocks; if were not careful, sin lies like a wild animal at our doorstep, waiting to devour us. Be careful who you open your door to.
God never forces His will on mankind; His Spirit tries to woo us to the right decision but He never violates our free will. One of the great tragedies of the human race is that so many, like Cain, let envy, self-pity, and refusal to take responsibility drive them to destroy others. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him (Genesis 4:8). This story is so ancient, yet still so relevant. Animalistic savagery is at the heart of Marxism; the desire to take out ones frustrations in life against others who are more successful still drives socialism and those who try to implement it. Perhaps the reason socialism fails every time its tried is because the fate of Cain waits on the other side.
Once Cains act of murder was complete, he immediately found himself trying to hide his actions. But you cant hide anything from God. Verse 9: And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brothers keeper? But God saw through this act. And he said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brothers blood crieth unto me from the ground (verse 10).
God pronounced judgment on Cain in verses 11-12: And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brothers blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. Just think of how Cains life could have played out differently if hed listened to God. Accepting responsibility for our mistakes, while more difficult in the short run, can lead us down dramatically different long-term paths than blaming others. Cain might have even been blessed greater than Abel. But he chose his feelings; and now, for the rest of his life, he would be cursed as an outcast and a wanderer.
Yet amazingly, notice Cains response in verse 13 still shows nothing but self-pity: And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is more than I can bear. No remorse for his brothers life. Only selfishness. All he cared about was how this would affect his life.
God is calling us to be Abels in a world full of Cains. We are to surrender to God what He asked for, not what we think He should accept. Not that we will never make mistakes, but when He calls us to address and correct our behavior rather than get angry and defiant, in the long term, we will be more like Him. And those who oppose us will rise up in anger and resentment for our obedience. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
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Thank you, good analysis
I’ll add this from Ellen White’s chapter on Cain and Abel from her book “Patriarchs and Prophets”:.......
“Cain obeyed in building an altar, obeyed in bringing a sacrifice; but he rendered only a partial obedience. The essential part, the recognition of the need of a Redeemer, was left out.”
“Cain and Abel represent two classes that will exist in the world till the close of time. One class avail themselves of the appointed sacrifice for sin; the other venture to depend upon their own merits; theirs is a sacrifice without the virtue of divine mediation, and thus it is not able to bring man into favor with God. It is only through the merits of Jesus that our transgressions can be pardoned. Those who feel no need of the blood of Christ, who feel that without divine grace they can by their own works secure the approval of God, are making the same mistake as did Cain. If they do not accept the cleansing blood, they are under condemnation. There is no other provision made whereby they can be released from the thralldom of sin.”
Thank you for the commentary.
“Thralldum of Sin”
I’m not familiar with that Term.
Lucifer first envied God, leading to his rebellion and predicament. Envy.
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