Genesis 4:6… The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 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.”
Here, God gives sin a personality, like a human. “Crouching at the door, with desire for you.” God was probably not giving sin a personality, but rather, was using words Cain could understand. Whatever His intent, God let us know for all time that sin had a ‘mind of its own.’ We don’t just accidently sin; we are lured and intentionally sin. In His final comment to Cain, the Lord lets us know that sin will always come after us but we can ‘rule over it’. I remember reading an account of a man who wanted to quit smoking. He prayed and God gave him his desire. He became sick whenever he smoked, so he was able to quit. I know of countless other people who prayed for the same thing to no avail. God can deal with temptation but His plan is for us to rule over it.
Last night, in our Bible discussion group, we talked about the essentiality of having patient endurance. When encountering a trial, our endurance is tested. Do we succumb to the temptation to whine and get angry or do we patiently endure the negative circumstances, waiting for the Lord to deliver us? I believe the lord’s gift to us in our times of endurance is ‘hope’. Hope sees the end of pain and confusion. Hope is like a light in the distance. We are drawn to it. Without hope, endurance is just a discipline we employ. God’s intent for Cain was more than discipline. “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” There we see God’s intent. He looks at you the same way. He looks at all humans that way. He is not testing us to see if we are disciplined; He is guiding us to acceptance. Even in this early interaction with man, God gives the basis of salvation. Through Jesus, we are accepted in heaven. And also, through Jesus, we can rule over sin.
Right here is where some religious groups get off the train. They surmise… “Sin is not really that bad as long as we have a ticket to heaven when we die.” Salvation is not a ticket to God; it is the very essence of life for us who believe. We don’t carry it; we live by it, ruling over sin, which is waiting for us.