Message summary: Stand firm, my brothers and sisters. Resist the enemy who seeks to do evil and engage the Holy Spirit who seeks to mature us in the faith.
“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 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 4:6,7).
As we note the progression we see a caution for our own lives as redeemed believers. We are again so powerfully reminded of the need to stand firm in our faith. We must call on God for His sustaining grace to resist the sin that results when we give into the daily temptations Satan hurls at us.
“If you do what is right” – God has revealed His will for our lives so we can know the right way. We have many other Scriptures telling us the right way, “He hath showed thee” (Micah 6:8); “This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:21); “This is the will of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Truly His “Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
“Will you not be accepted?” Foundationally being accepted by God begins by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. This is God’s appointed means of beginning to “do what is right.” Then we pursue the things of God, growing in His grace and knowledge. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:11-14).
“But if you do not do what is right.” God’s warnings are expressions of His love. When we violate God’s will as revealed in His Word, we give the enemy a foothold in our lives for further activity and progression of sin. A grim outcome is revealed in Ephesians that describes the latter stages of this progression: “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19). With the flood of evil, pornography and sexual perversions of all sorts sweeping through our world many are at this stage. Deeper and deeper depths of depravity can be expected and the evil acts that accompany it.
“Sin is crouching at your door.” The word for “crouching” conveys the posture of a four legged animal as it prepares to attack its prey. That’s the nature of sin and its crouched position is persistent. We must ever be alert, practice self-control, and stand firm, for our “enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
“It desires to have you.” Sin continues its desire to enslave you and me. A foundational step in overcoming sin is realizing this. You do well to recognize the enemy’s tactic since he desires to have you as well.
“But you must master it.” In the New Testament Paul wrote, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). In the pursuit of godliness we must, by God’s grace, master our sinful nature, something as descendants of Adam we all share.
We often hear the phrase, “No one is perfect” and, yes, that is true. Only God is perfect. But we can be a righteous people if Christ lives in us, if we apply the Scriptures to our lives, and if we resist the “charm” or deceit of our enemy. Stand firm, my brothers and sisters. Resist the enemy who seeks to do evil and engage the Holy Spirit who seeks to mature us in the faith.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber