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: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. 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. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? KJV
I wish to continue my thoughts from last month. It will be a benefit if you would refer last months “A Change of Mind”. In it I refer to God’s command for all men to repent. I wrote, “Repentance is much more than regret, or deep sorrow for past sins; and it applies to everyone. God has commanded every human being to repent! The biblical word for repentance is “metanoia” in the original Greek. Meta means “change” and noia means “mind,” so literally it means “a change in mind, heart, and life, wrought by the Spirit of God.”
And so repentance is for a fundamental change of mind not only to turn us from the sinful past, but transforms our life, plans, values, ethics, and actions, As we begin to see the world through God’s eyes rather than ours a transformation takes place and it begins the moment we humble ourselves and turn toward God.
In 1Corintians 6 the Apostle Paul lists and gives us heaven’s view of sins and also gives us God’s remedy.
1 Cor 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality, Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God.
We live in a day in which many reject the very idea that they can change but God commands every human being to repent, to turn from their ways, and trust in him! Notice Paul the Apostle in his admonition in First Corinthians chapter six He speaks of God’s promise to all who are truly ready for change in their life:
1 Cor 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. KJV
In our reading today we have another verse that has great potential for personal hope and encouragement. The Lord is speaking to Cain and describing two conditions to him: 1) what happens if he does well (acceptance), and 2) what happens if he does not do well (a chance to make amends).
The usual interpretation of this verse is that sin is like a ravenous animal at the door ready to pounce on and devour the one who sins. But that is not what God is really saying here. Without getting too technical with the language, we can interpret the Hebrew word translated sin (chatta’th) (khat-tawth’) as a “sin offering:’ As a matter of fact if you will look at some good Bible Commentaries you will find a more complete understanding of this word. For example Matthew Henry’s commentary say’s:
[1.] “If thou hadst done well, as thy brother did, thou shouldst have been accepted, as he was.” God is no respecter of persons, hates nothing that he had made, denies his favour to none but those who have forfeited it, and is an enemy to none but those who by sin have made him their enemy: so that if we come short of acceptance with him we must thank ourselves, the fault is wholly our own; if we had done our duty, we should not have missed of his mercy. This will justify God in the destruction of sinners, and will aggravate their ruin; there is not a damned sinner in hell, but, if he had done well, as he might have done, had been a glorious saint in heaven. Every mouth will shortly be stopped with this. Or,
[2.] “If now thou do well, if thou repent of thy sin, reform thy heart and life, and bring thy sacrifice in a better manner, if thou not only do that which is good but do it well, thou shalt yet be accepted, thy sin shall be pardoned, thy comfort and honour restored, and all shall be well.” See here the effect of a Mediator’s interposal between God and man; we do not stand upon the footing of the first covenant, which left no room for repentance, but God had come upon new terms with us. Though we have offended, if we repent and return, we shall find mercy. See how early the gospel was preached, and the benefit of it here offered even to one of the chief of sinners. (from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)
Thus this verse is really extending God’s mercies to cover the failure areas of human life.
What the Lord was saying is: “Cain, if you do well, you will be accepted. If you do not do welt there is still a sin offering available for your reconciliation to Me. You don’t have to go through life hounded by failure feelings, carrying a load of guilt and condemnation, defeated by your sins.
There is a sin offering. Forgiveness can be yours. Reconciliation is to be preferred to alienation:’ We do not have to go through life carrying the sin load. Jesus is our sin offering. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29.) Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13 NKJ.) This is good news for all of us.
Doing good is wonderful. Not doing good is tragic. But even then a way out has been provided. A sin offering is available. (Jesus bore our sins to free us from bondage to sin.) Call on the Lord and He will deliver you once and for all from guilt and condemnation. (Rom. 10:13.)
I will close with the lyric of “Good Shepherd of My Soul (Keith & Krystin Getty) verse two came to mind as I wrote this month’s article. Blessings!
Good Shepherd of my soul Come dwell within me.
Take all I am and mould Your likeness in me.
Before the cross of Christ This is my sacrifice:
A life laid down And ready to follow.
The troubled find their peace In true surrender.
The prisoners their release From chains of anger.
In springs of living grace I find a resting place
To rise refreshed, Determined to follow.
I’ll walk this narrow road With Christ before me
Where thorns and thistles grow And cords ensnare me.
Though doubted and denied He never leaves my side
But lifts my head And calls me to follow.
And when my days are gone My strength is failing
He’ll carry me along Through death’s unveiling
Earth’s struggles overcome Heav’n’s journey just begun
To search Christ’s depths And ever to follow.