Life presents options, dangers, snares, risks and adventures. The right choices aren’t always clear and the possible options aren’t always so appealing. The biggest challenge we face is evil around us and the sin that entices us to participate in it. I mean a lot of things look appealing, but there is always a cost associated with them.
We know from what the Scriptures teach that sin leads to death. We learn from the bible that sin is deadly. We see how people make choices and put themselves in a place that is destructive to them or others. Yet, we still sin.
Sin doesn’t take a holiday break. Sin is always ready to pounce on us, but Jesus Christ is always ready to rescue us. We need to figure out how to avoid getting pounced on! We need to figure out how to keep sin in its place.
The story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 is a very vivid example of why sin needs to be kept in its place. Sin, left unchecked, will cause us to believe things about ourselves and others that aren’t true. Sin will lead us to do things that are harmful to us and others and push us away from God. We want to determine what we need to do in order to keep sin in its place to go from being overcome by it to being overcomers of it.
Love God Authentically
The story in Genesis 4 starts with two brothers giving an offering to God. Abel had flocks and Cain worked the soil. They had two different jobs and would be giving to God out of what they had. The issue was that one of them loved God authentically and one of them did not. We know this based on the way it was described here.
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, – Genesis 4:3-4
Abel’s offering showed that he trusted God and loved God. Cain, it says, just sort of threw something to God without much thought. An authentic love for God will trust God with everything.
As a result, God accepted Abel’s offering as a true act of worship. Cain’s was just a way to fulfill some sort of duty, but he was really not worshipping God. Cain gets angry with God and at this point that sin is ready to pounce and take Cain on a journey away from God. Cain’s lack of authentic love for God has now lead him to a dangerous place.
Sin still hasn’t completely overcome him.
Warnings are made to be heeded. Warnings are meant to keep us safe from some impending danger.
God warned Cain that the path he was on was going to get him into trouble.
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”- Genesis 4:7
He was already plotting something and sin was ready to have its way. God warns Cain not be mastered by it. You know we have opportunity to hear from God as well through his Word. God warns us about sin and its destruction. He warns us about how we treat each other and view the things of the world. It is up to us to listen and do what He says. We really have no excuse because God has given us the guide to help.
Cain kills his brother. Sin had led to death, but all is not lost.
Respond Honestly to Correction
Cain’s talks back to God when corrected.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper? – Genesis 4:9
Cain shows a complete lack of remorse. God knew what he had done and punishes him for his sin. He tells him that he will have to work all the harder and leave. Cain is not worried about his horrific sin. He is only upset that the punishment is so severe. Cain failed to see his action as sin. He failed to fall down before God and cry out for mercy. He just didn’t want to go through the punishment.
But God does not allow him to be killed. There is mercy offered, which actually gives to us a good place to go in order to overcome sin.
Sin is a powerful, but Cain is told to master it and keep it from overcoming him. Temptation was too strong and he was overcome.
So, what are we to do? We run to the cross. It is at the cross where God makes a way for us. Cain was afraid of being killed and God showed him grace. The Bible tells us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
How do we go from being overcome by sin to overcoming sin? We run to Jesus Christ. He overcomes sin. He loves you so much that he died for you and has given you instructions in his Word on avoiding sin. The Word of God was not given to you to kill your joy. It was given to protect you from the penalty for sin. You are able, in Christ, to go from being overcome by sin to overcoming sin.