Monday, October 5, 2009

The Way of Cain v The Way of the Cross

“The Way of Cain” Versus “The Way of the Cross”

There he was, a man who tilled the ground and grew food. His brother was a shepherd. Both men were good at what they did.
Their parents must have been so proud of their sons - Cain and Able. Mom and dad probably sat around and wondered if one of the boys was the savior God had promised after their little fiasco when they ate the forbidden fruit, got themselves and all mankind condemned to die, separated from God by sin, and forced to work for their food. Perhaps they had an idea that something was not quite right with their first son. Perhaps they knew Cain was looking for a way into heaven that didn’t require following the instructions given to them by God.
I expect that both Adam and Eve reminded their sons quite often of how disobedience to God had gotten them all into this mess in the first place. They warned against future disobedience. They knew the end of disobedience is disaster. Or put another way, ‘the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 Probably Adam and Eve didn’t know the name of the promised savior; but they did know that on the day they ate the forbidden fruit, they had died spiritually. The also began to die physically. They were able to bear their sorrow because of the promise God had given them of a coming savior. They wanted their sons to avoid their mistakes. They wanted them to be obedient to God.
Cain was not ignorant of the events that led to the fall from grace. But apparently he was willing to remain a ‘little confused’ about the remedy for rebellion and disobedience. He was ‘willingly ignorant’. In his rebellion, Cain set out to discover another way into heaven that was ‘reasonable’. Cain probably reasoned, “I surely worked as hard as my brother Able. I am older than Able, which should have made me the leader. Able isn’t a follower of anyone but God. And look where that has gotten him. He is just a sheep herder. Is that the kind of success God gives to those who follow him?” Cain became even more dissatisfied.
Sadly, Cain rejected the way of salvation as ‘too harsh’ or ‘too narrow minded’. Yet, he still wanted to be reconciled to God. He wanted the good things God had to offer; but he didn’t want reconciliation badly enough to seek it on God’s terms. He refused to obey God’s instructions and offer a blood sacrifice as a symbol of atonement for sin. He had to come up with a substitute.
Cain came up with the idea that he would give God the very best of what he had to offer. He would sidestep the time and effort it would take for him to obtain a lamb from his brother. He would also sidestep the messy spectacle of actually sacrificing the lamb. He would go to God by works. And that is what he did. Of course, God refused to even consider the offering. You know, Cain might have offered God enough fruit and vegetables to feed the current population of the entire continent of Asia. I imagine he really put on a good show. It was all in vain because God knew what was in Cain’s heart. It was rebellion. And God says ‘For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft’ (1 Samuel 15:23). God tells us ‘thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’. (Exodus 22:18) The substitute offered by Cain wasn’t even worthy of a glance from God. It was as nothing.
Able on the other hand, went beyond reason and stepped through the door of faith. And his offering God accepted.
Living by faith doesn’t mean you have given up your reason and have gone off chasing illusive and impossible dreams. It means you have found ‘reason’ an empty well or a cloud without water. It means you have sought and found truth. It means you have accepted the mercy of God that allows repentant men and women entrance to heaven. It means you have chosen the narrow way that leads to life everlasting. Within the boundaries of a life lived by faith in the Son of God, the believer is to fear (or have a reverent awe) of God and keep the commandments.
Cain gained condemnation for his offering of human reasoning and works; and Cain died in his sins. Able gained justification by faith; and Able lives in heaven for all eternity. That same door of faith is still open. Sadly, most of humanity has learned nothing from the story of Cain and Able.
The proud walk the earth like giants of old, basking in the glory of their powers of ‘reasoning’ and ‘persuasive abilities’. Measuring their abilities by the abilities of those around them, they think themselves wise. Then belonging to the elite group of wise people, they suddenly believe themselves to be able to contend with the God of creation regarding who shall enter the kingdom of heaven.
How then does ‘reason’ tell us that we may enter the kingdom of heaven?
‘Just do more good deeds than bad deeds and you can enter the kingdom of heaven.’ (‘There is non righteous, no, not one;’ Romans 3:10)
‘Die in a holy war fighting for Allah and you can enter the kingdom of heaven.’
‘Work out your bad karma through endless death and rebirth - don’t worry - you’ll finally get it right.’
‘Forget seeking and pursing peace with God, and instead seek to bring about world peace through a social gospel.’
‘Forget the God of Bible and BECOME GOD YOURSELF!!!”
‘You can’t know God - don’t worry about it.’

Human reason actually can take you to a predetermined destination. However, it is not the same destination to which ‘faith’ will take you.
Let’s consider the place to which a faith like Abel’s will take you. Able lives in the place where the God of creation lives. God owns this place. We call it heaven or paradise. God is there. The light of God is there. Love is there. Peace, harmony, joy, grace, mercy, innocence, trust, and things so wonderful that we can’t even imagine them are in heaven.
As the owner of heaven, God certainly has the right to say who can enter into his realm. Actually, He owns everything else as well, but the place of perfection we call heaven is the home of our God. To enter this place only requires faith on our part. To ask us to get to the place God calls heaven by works is like asking a new born baby to build a bridge strong enough to span a treacherous and mighty ocean. It cannot be done. Thankfully, our merciful God did the work for us. He made one way into heaven. It cost a terrible price. It is big enough and strong enough to accommodate every single person who is willing to obediently enter through faith in the promised savior - who we now know to be Jesus Christ. When a ‘religion’ offers salvation by any other name or any other way, they are not speaking of the place Jesus Christ calls home.
There is a place Allah calls ‘Paradise’. Yet the paradise of Allah not only accepts murderers, it rewards them. John 8:44 tells us ‘He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.’ This verse is speaking of Satan - the father of lies. The paradise of Allah is not the Paradise of Jesus Christ.
There is supposed to be a place called “Nirvana’ where Hindus and Buddhists supposedly go when they achieve enlightenment. Upon arrival they unite with their god - and individualism is lost.
This is not the heaven of Jesus Christ. First Corinthians 13:12 tells us, ‘For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.’ We will not only know Jesus Christ, but we will know those around us. Our saved loved ones and friends will not be lost to us, but will fellowship with us for eternity!
The Pantheist likely worships the creation instead of the Creator of all things.
The Humanist sees heaven developing on earth through the works of mankind. The ‘little god’ in all of us will come out if given the chance. This is the socialist gospel now being preached in the place of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in many churches and all aspects of society.
All these ideologies are really the same thing. They are following ‘The Way of Cain’.
They have rejected the TRUTH of Jesus Christ. They are apostates from truth.
They have reasoned their way to a ‘substitute’ for the truth. They have changed the truth for a lie. Romans 1:25 says ‘Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.’
Their end is destruction. God will not accept their offering anymore than He would accept Cain’s offering. In seeking a substitute for the sacrifice offered by Jesus Christ, they are instead following God’s adversary the devil. What does the devil offer to his followers?
He offers them lies, for he is a liar - and the father of it.
Satan lies when he helps the arrogant and rebellious reason against the truth of God.
Satan lies when he suggests any substitute will work when approaching the Most High God.
Satan lies when he offers a home in ‘paradise’. He owns no place called
Paradise - or any other place for that matter.
Satan lies when he says people will be reborn and have another chance to live a better life. (It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment. Hebrews 9:27)
The ‘RELIGION” of the individual is his or her own deeply held belief system.
It is not the religion of anyone that will get him or her into the heaven where Jesus lives. It is their “FAITH” that will get them there.
Everyone makes a decision. They will live by faith - or they will live by what seems right to them.
Romans 1:17 says, ‘For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.’
We are justified by faith in God. Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’
Walking any path except the path offered by Jesus Christ is the walking the way of Cain. The end of that path is eternal separation from God in a place called hell.

Redeemed - a favorite hymn of mine.

Thank you so much for reading my article. God bless you.

Barbara Henderson.