Thursday, April 2, 2015

God's Grace is Greater Than Law: Cain

Many people comment that God seems to be unjust. While men and women do great wrongs in the Bible, God does not condemn them to death.

One example of this seeming injustice occurs in the Book of Beginnings:

"8And 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." (Genesis 4: 8)

Cain killed his own brother, and it was all over religion, in that Cain's man-centered sacrifice was rejected, but Abel's sacrifice of a lamb was respected.

God confronted Cain immediately:

"9And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? 10And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; 12When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth." (Genesis 4: 9-12)

Cain was damned thoroughly with this statement. Cain would find no rest, no peace, but would be hunted forever for what he did to his brother. Abel's own blood cried out, condemning Cain for his crime.

Let us keep in mind that the Ten Commandments had not been revealed yet, and thus God had not put in place a covenant of law.

How did Cain respond? Did he evade or hide or justify himself? Not at all:

"13And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me." (Genesis 4:13-14)

Cain begged for mercy. He could not handle the punishment laid upon him. Instead of the self-righteousness of his failed sacrifice, where he thought that he could make himself right without the shedding of blood, Cain sees that he has nothing of himself to justify himself.

Let us now recall the true nature of our Lord:

"For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6: 6).

Cain sought God's grace, and He acknowledged that He was right to do what He did.

Today, let us recognize that before God, we cannot justify ourselves, but rather we find righteousness in what Jesus, our perfect Lamb, has done for us:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5: 21)

Today, we reject the former way of Cain (Jude 1:11), of self-righteousness sacrifice, and believe in the blood of Jesus, the new way:

"11For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous." (1 John 3:11-12)

and now

"22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." (Hebrews 12: 22-24)

The grace of God, which we receive through Christ Jesus, is greater than the law, bringing us out of all condemnation and into His life.

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