Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Are you “Abel” to rule over your sin?


Are you “Abel” to rule over your sin?

Not exactly Jerry Springer here guys…

Genesis 4:1 (ESV) Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

This is by far one of the most taught, most well-known passages in the bible today. It is the scene of the 2nd generation of man and the scene also of the first murder. Adam the first man and Eve the first woman had already sinned against God and then began to fulfil God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. (Genesis 1:28)

So here we have a happy family with two sons, not exactly Jerry Springer material here is it? Adam and Eve have the fruit of their love and all is well, Abel and Cain were given two different jobs, one was a keeper of the sheep and one worked the ground. Both are good trades, neither are regarded higher than another from a biblical perspective. What separates these men is their hearts. 

Called to a battle, a heavenly war

You see we are called to a battle, some may say a heavenly war and as we attempt to do the will of God in our lives we will be attacked on a spiritual realm, I have found often times that myself and my home are attacked most when I am being used by God (I say being used by God as anything I do for God is from God and not from me as I have little merit on my own) for the will of him and doing what he commands and using the gifts he has bestowed.

Thy will be done before my will be done

That attack may come directly to me, my countenance may fall or it may come in the form of attacks on my house, my wife may come under tremendous spiritual attack, my daughter or even people I care about and I cling to the verse seven in this passage as it truly is true for me on a day to day basis. We are in a battle against the flesh, the easy route is the sin route, the selfish route, the “my will be done” route, the “serve me first” rather than “serve others first” but it is not just about the flesh, we battle one who desires to control the flesh. Let’s look at Paul’s epistle to the Ephesian church…

Ephesians 6:10 (ESV) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Cain chose darkness over light, he chose to not give the best of the best and when he was called out by God, who really knows what is in our hearts he was mad at GOD! The LORD called him out in verse 6 asking him “why his face had fallen and why he was angry?” and gave the pearl of wisdom that sin was crouching at the door, that it desires over us. When we choose darkness over light with no repentance then it often spirals out of all control, let’s read on to see what happens to Cain and Abel…

Genesis 4:8 (ESV) Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.

Remember, Cain was mad at GOD not his brother, he was jealous that his brother got glory from God, I believe that in some part even if Cain was “going through the motions” then I don’t think that he wanted to displease God, I just question that he was giving the “best of the best”. When God requires sacrifice from us, he requires us to be “all in” as my wife reminds me often. When we are “half in”, when we are lukewarm then we really are not asking for Gods blessings. I have no idea whether Abel teased Cain about getting the glory, there is no record of sibling rivalry but I have a brother, I want to measure up it is natural.

Cain slew his brother in vengeance and we are not told how, whether he used a farm tool, (I wonder if the gun control people should read this blog, it was a heart issue rather than a weapons issue) a rock or whatever method he used but his heart had degenerated to such a place that he wanted to make someone pay, God was untouchable so he took it out on Abel. One thing is true and we read it in Jeremiah 17…

Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

So the next time someone says “follow your heart” what will you say?

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Much like his conversation with Adam and Eve when the original sin happened God asked a question to enable Cain to tell the truth, Cain chose to lie to God and claim he did not know where Abel was. As shocking as that sounds, how often do you lie to God in your prayers? Do you talk yourself up instead of falling on your face and begging for his leniency?

Cain was just like Adam and Eve, they tried to hide their shame with fig leaves and Cain tried to hide his shame with untrue statements, God called him out on it and Cain was guilty of his brother’s blood. He allowed sin to brew like a craft beer, the sin began with a thought, the thought was meditated on, it was allowed to permeate and poison the heart and then he acted upon it…

In layman’s terms – He got mad – He got jealous – He hated in his heart – Despite counsel directly from God he acted on his sinful nature and slew his brother.

It happens today

I see this often times in the church too, brothers go all “Cain-like” if they think someone gets more kudos than others, they hate in their heart if they believe they were passed over for a ministry and I have never seen behavior like I have seen in the church in the real world and it hurts more because we expect more from our brothers and sisters in the LORD. However, the church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for the saints. Romans 3:23 tells us “we have all fallen short of God’s glory due to sin”. But it is important that we rule over that sin and rule over it quickly.

What do you struggle with? Do you hate your brother? Do you not love your wife as Christ loved the church? Are you “going through the motions with God? Do you dislike your brothers in Christ because they were blessed in ways you weren’t? Is jealousy running rampant in your life? Do you succumb to your sin? Do you live your life in sin?

There is hope, call on the name of Jesus, repent and seek his forgiveness. Tell your brothers and sisters in the LORD and pray for one another, grow daily in the LORD and be blessed. I pray this was a challenge and I pray that should you have comments then please comment below and I pray you are blessed today.


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