Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Good and evil

“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not 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
 

Cain and Abel both knew that there was a God! But, only Abel also believed (trusted), not so with Cain! Because of this, they didn't have the same attitude towards God. We need to differentiate between the assumption that there is a God and the belief in HIM. James makes this more than clear, in the following scripture - “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). For this precise reason God also did not recognize Cain's offer (as a tiller of the ground) (Genesis 4:4-5). Cain may have done something similar to Abel (a sheep herder), it is possible that he might even have made a lip-confession, however without actual belief and acknowledgement of his sin before God. Abel's offer shows that he understood (an animal had to die). Accordingly, that which we read in Romans 14:23 is applicable: “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Faith, so the Bible tells us (Romans 10:17), comes by hearing – this was and is valid for all time, for as long as there are people on earth. And so Cain and Abel also heard the Word of God from their parents. We may be certain of this. That sin's consequence is death, we know from Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:17). Abel understood that he needed salvation by grace. Cain did not understand this and also had no interest in it. We cannot really explain this. The love to God and to our brothers and sisters is the highest commandment (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) and we should also love our neighbours (as ourselves) (Leviticus 19:18). This immediately precedes the account of Cain and Abel in 1 John. There we see that someone (Cain) didn't love his brother (Abel) but rather hated him. And that without cause. In like manner, Jesus Christ, during his time on earth, was hated and rejected without cause (John 15:25). The evil one got his way here. We don't comprehend this because we are, fundamentally, in our hearts, also evil – and that from the beginning (Genesis 8:21). Evil is not at odds with itself. Therefore many people don't see themselves as sinners and lost. However, whoever denies his sin and need for salvation, cannot expect nor receive grace – even if he sees himself as a believer (1 John 1:10).

It concerns the deepest godly love (Agape) which cannot be brought about by our own natures. We love because God loves us. It concerns righteousness (1 John 3:10: “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”) Evil and sin are not righteous. The drama concerning Cain and Abel is the classic version of this biblical fact. Cain had much to say – Genesis 4:9: “And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?” He lied and foolishly tried to conceal his deeds (before God, Who sees everything). Rationally, not really comprehensible. That is the blind pride brought about by sin. Cain was “of the evil one” (1 John 3:11-12) and that was the reason for his unrighteous (evil) deeds and his grotesque lies and his entire attitude towards God. He epitomized the devil. As a result this led to the murder of his brother. There was nothing to prove that he did not know exactly what he was doing – it was not a crime of passion. He obviously thought he was better than his brother. For this reason he hated him. To this effect, we read in Philippians 2:3-4: “ Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Since Adam and Eve (the parents of Cain and Abel) a shadow was cast over the human race through sin. God therefore, since the beginning, needed to separate light from darkness (Genesis 1:4). In Cain and Abel, we see a first occurrence. Over and above all of this we need to know that God's righteousness always outweighs and is always “better” than our own (moral) righteousness. We may leave that which happened to Cain, up to God.

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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