|Vol. 15 No. 6 June 2013||
Terry G. Jones
Sin is the great plague upon the earth, and every mortal is engaged in warfare against it. Failure results in terrible consequences, both temporal and eternal, a fact verified in the Scriptures as well as by personal experience. Victory is achieved through close adherence to the Word of God.
In Genesis 4, we read of the second recorded sin in the Bible. There, the sons of Adam and Eve each offered a sacrifice to God. “And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering” (4:4-5). God’s rejection angered Cain, which prompted the Lord to reply, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:7). In these words we find four things that should be of great help to enable us to win against sin.
The Defense for Sin
God’s thought-provoking question to Cain was, “If you do well, will you not be accepted.” That seems simple enough. If Cain would have done what God had said, then he would not have been rejected. Let us briefly consider three things. First, there is an adage. Remember the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Cain could have prevented that whole mess if he would have simply followed God’s commands. The best defense for sin is to do what God has said.
Second, there is an admonition. God admonished Adam not to eat of the forbidden fruit and warned of its consequences (Genesis 2:16-17). He did well until the time that he failed to heed God’s instruction. We would do well to heed the admonition of Galatians 6:7-8. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
Third, there is an application. “Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering” (Genesis 4:4). Hebrews 11:4 clarifies that Abel’s offering was accepted by God because he offered “by faith.” Abel is proof that the best defense for sin is to obey God.
The Danger of Sin
“And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door” (Genesis 4:7b). Whenever we fail to heed the Will of God, sin is near and ever ready to inflict painful consequences upon us. King Saul painfully learned this when he failed to carry out the Lord’s will among the Amalekites and was rejected by God as Israel’s king (1 Samuel 15). “Evil pursues sinners, but to the righteous, good shall be repaid” (Proverbs 13:21).
The Desire of Sin
“And its desire is for you…” (Genesis 4:7c). Here is an allusion to the aggressive nature of sin. Sin is to the individual what a starving lion is to a crippled animal. Sin is aggressive because Satan is relentless. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
The Defeat of Sin
“…But you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:7d). Here is God’s assurance that we can win over sin. With God’s help, we have the power to rule over sin. Paul said, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). He could defeat sin because he had “been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). Paul told the Romans, “…sin shall not have dominion over you…” (Romans 6:14). Since the penalty for sin is eternal death (Romans 3:23), it is imperative that we give heed to God’s words to Cain so that we may win against sin.
I read a story the other day about a man who attempted to rob a bank for $1.00. My first thought (along with the bank tellers) was that this guy was just joking around. Turns out we were wrong. He was seriously trying to steal $1.00 from the bank.
My second thought was that if I were going to rob a bank, it better be worth a lot more than $1.00. I am not going to give up the blessings of my freedom for that little.
Yet spiritually, we do the same thing. Sin is not worth much – even though it might feel like it for a moment. In the end, it is basically worthless. However, when we succumb to it, we are really just like the guy trying to rob a bank for $1.00. He gave up a lot to try and get a little. When we constantly give in to sin (to the point that it is willful), we are giving up the blessings in Christ for not much at all.
Lately, what have you been giving up for sin? Today, how can you make sure that you do not give up something so important for something so worthless?