We’ve been walking through Genesis 4:6-7 in these posts and today we want to look at our response. The ball is in Cain’s court so to speak. How will you respond Cain? Sin’s desire is for you, but you must rule over it. Be killing sin or it will be killing you.
We know how Cain ultimately responds. But how will we? The first thing I want to consider here is:
The Lord comes to Cain in a gracious confrontation. Now, no one “enjoys” being confronted with sin, but how will we ever fight sin and kill sin if we don’t first know our sin? This is why the Lord’s word to Cain is so kind. And so is His warning.
God exposes Cain’s sin and warns him what will happen if he fails to take action. That is, doing nothing is the same as siding with sin. Have you considered God’s Word as a sword, hammer, fire, and light for us? Have you considered that one purpose of God’s Word is that we might know our sin? God’s Word exposes our sins and this is a good thing for us.
God has not left us in the dark about our sinfulness. We know. In fact, I often hear from many unbelievers saying “We are all sinners.” But will we truly listen to God’s Word in order to know our sin? Will we heed His kind but firm warnings regarding sin in our lives?
On this side of the New Testament, the Lord has also given us the local church to help us know our sin. Hebrews 3:12-13 says: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
This is a bit sobering, but what Hebrews is warning us is that there might be even in our local church one like Cain. Or more than one. Or it might even be “me:” someone who outwardly professes the truth of God but inwardly possesses an unbelieving heart.
While this is certainly scary, God has also given us the solution so that we may know sin. That’s both in His Word and the local church. Local church members must love one another in such a way that we are not afraid to exhort one another in holiness. Or to rebuke one another as necessary and to walk with one another in times of repentance.
We will never kill our sin if we don’t know our sin. When we get a biblical understanding of our sin, we will take seriously the Biblical remedies for exposing sin. We will never kill the enemy if we don’t know about him.
So too, we must know our sin in order that we may kill it. We must heed the warnings. We must help one another with our blind spots.
God tells Cain that he “must rule over it.” Meaning sin’s desire is for you, but you must win or there is no hope for life. Be killing sin or it will be killing you. The very first step in killing sin is to look to the ultimate sin-killer Himself, namely Jesus.
You must trade masters. Cain did not do this. Cain chose to stay under the bondage and slavery of sin. But the Bible exhorts us to look to Christ and be saved. God gives real and meaningful invitations in His Word to call upon Him. To believe on Christ. To look and live! To take Christ’s yoke upon ourselves.
Ultimately, we will never kill sin in and of ourselves. Our only hope is Jesus. What must happen is the Spirit’s sovereign and effectual work in our hearts. We must be brought from spiritual death to spiritual life. We must be regenerated by the grace of God in the gospel. We must be born again.
And while being born again is God’s work alone, we are exhorted to repent and believe the gospel. Have you done that? Have you exercised faith in Christ? We will never kill sin or even want to apart from Christ in us.
Secondly, if we want to kill sin, we must take sin seriously. Again, if we don’t kill sin, it will kill us. We must fight. Sin never sleeps. We must wage war against it. Sin will destroy homes, churches, nations, reputations, businesses, children, men, women, and the list goes on. Sin is serious.
Furthermore, and most importantly, sin is an affront to a wonderful and holy God.
Next, we must understand the right order and motivation for killing sin. Christians don’t kill sin in order to gain God’s favor. Rather, because we have been clothed in the righteous robes of Christ by grace through faith, we now wage war. Killing sin is an effect of the Spirit’s work in our lives, not the cause.
So as Christians, we must fight it. Cain should have killed sin, but instead, he killed his brother. We must understand sin is our enemy. Often we can identify the wrong enemy, can’t we? And sometimes we can even blame the devil for our own sin.
We must fight sin. We must seek to kill it. We do this by seeing it for what it is – divisive and deceptive, an affront to God’s glory. We must not entertain or play games w/ it. It is not our friend. It will not help us.
Dear reader, if you are struggling with secret sin, you must know it will destroy you. It will find you out. I implore you even now to repent of it and seek Christ’s mercy. Seek a brother or sister in the Lord for help.
The Gospel Frees Us To Kill Sin
Next, we also fight sin by reminding ourselves of the gospel. The solution to sin is never more sin. This is what Cain did. He sinned, was confronted, and sinned some more. When we are confronted with sin we must repent. We must remember God’s mercy. We must remember that God is for us in Christ. We must remember the gospel.
Run again to Jesus in repentance and trust His saving promises. You see, you will falter at times. But that’s the difference between a believer and unbeliever. It’s not that a believer never sins. It’s that a believer is fighting sin even though he knows at times he will fall woefully short.
But we also know there is mercy in Christ. And that He is our advocate with the Father. Instead of spilling our brother’s blood, we must recognize that it’s our own blood that deserves to be shed. But that in Christ God has given us a perfect sacrifice. Jesus was slain in our place and rose again bodily from the grave on our behalf.
Defeat sin by constantly rehearsing the gospel.
Finally, I might add to fight sin by pursuing holiness. God loves righteous deeds. Earlier I said that God will not accept good works in and of themselves. And that is true. But the Christian does good works that flow out of his faith. Cain should have done well, but instead, he chose to sin.
The Christian is to be like Abel offering a sacrifice that flows from his faith in the Lord and His good promises. As one theologian put it: Good works necessarily follow from the union of believers with Christ.
Good works are not the grounds of our justification or God’s acceptance of us. They simply flow out of a heart that has been changed by God’s grace. So, don’t merely fight to not do what is wrong, but also strive to do what is right. And though our good works are filled with imperfections, do them with faith in the finished work of Christ out of sincere love for God.
Sin is crouching at the door. Sin is ready to take us out. Sin is ready to master us. It is always there ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. When we are sleepy or unexpecting or out of our routine then sin waits to destroy us.
But we must not let it. We must be killing sin. We must see it for what it is and trust the work of Christ to save us from our sins and we must by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body.
Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.