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    August 12, 1908

    “Through the Bible. Genesis 4:1. What Was Cain’s Fault?” The Medical Missionary, 17, 32, pp. 644-646.

    ATJ

    ALONZO T. JONES

    CAIN and Abel each brought an offering unto the Lord.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.1

    And each brought his offering from the field of his industry.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.2

    Cain was a “tiller of the ground,” and “brought of the fruit of the ground, an offering unto the Lord.”MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.3

    Abel was “a keeper of sheep,” and he “brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.”MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.4

    “And the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering, but unto Cain and his offering He had not respect.”MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.5

    Each brought an offering, each worshiped. Each brought an offering “unto the Lord;” each recognized the Lord, and offered to him worship. And each brought from the field of his own industry the offering that was the token of his worship. What was the fault? Wherein did it lie? We can find it.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.6

    Note that when Cain saw that he and his offering were not respected nor accepted, he was disappointed—“his countenance fell;” and he was offended—“he was very wroth.” This shows that he really expected that his offering and his worship would be accepted; and that in it all he really meant to be worshipful.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.7

    And the Lord recognized Cain’s meaning to be worshipful, gave him credit for it, and taught him why his worship was not true nor acceptable.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.8

    “And the Lord said unto Cain, why art thou wrath? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.”MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.9

    “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” Abel was accepted, and Cain knew it. Abel, therefore, had done will. If, therefore, Cain would do as Abel had done, he, too, would be accepted. But Cain had brought and offering unto the Lord; and Abel had brought an offering. Abel was accepted, while Cain was not, in his offering. And since each had brought his offering unto the Lord, and Abel was accepted while Cain was not, because Abel had “done well,” while Cain had not, in this the Lord told Cain plainly enough, that he had not brought the right kind offering; and that his having respected and accepted Abel was not because of any preference for Abel over Cain as a person, but solely because of what his offering meant over Cain’s offering.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.10

    “And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” Cain had not done well in the kind of offering which he had brought; for if he had “done well” in this, as had Abel, then he would have been respected and accepted as fully and as truly as was Abel. And the reason why Cain had not done well in the kind of offering that he brought, the Lord made unmistakably plain to him in the words—“sin lieth at the door.” That is to say that Cain’s offering recognized no sin. But the offering was only the token of the spirit and worship of the man, and the man’s view of his relationship to the Lord in worship. Therefore since Cain’s offering recognized no sin, this thing showed that Cain himself recognized no sin in himself. And in the gracious words, “sin lieth at the door,” the Lord in merciful kindness revealed to Cain his whole fault and the whole secret of it.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.11

    Cain recognized no sin in himself, and yet he wanted to be recognized as a respected and an accepted worshiper of the Lord. And when the Lord revealed to him that there was sin there, when the Lord told him that sin lay at the door, and that this was why himself and his offering were not respected nor accepted, even then he would not recognize that there was sin in himself. Yet there was sin there. And since he would not recognize it of himself, nor by his own conscience, nor yet by the open revelation of God, he thus shut himself up where the sin that was there would so manifest itself that even he would have to recognize it as the sin that it really was.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 644.12

    And, indeed, the sin that he refused to recognise was already manifesting itself. For no sooner did he see that his offering was not accepted as was Abel’s, then “his countenance fell,” and he was “very wroth,” and he instantly grew jealous of Abel, and evilly surmised that Abel was exalting himself to the place and privileges of the first-born. And even in this the Lord showed him that he was wrong; telling him that if he did well excellency of the first-born would still surely be his, that Abel would be subject to his, and that the rightful dominion would be his. Verse 7, margin.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 645.1

    Yet none of this merciful persuasion could avail. Cain still refused to recognize sin, still in sin nursed his sinful wrath, and his jealousy and evil-surmising of Abel. And his sinful and groundless conjecture presently became so altogether real to him that he supposed that the only way in which he could preserve to himself the position and excellency of the first-born was to make sure of it by putting Abel entirely out of the way. “And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”MEDM August 12, 1908, page 645.2

    “And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel, thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth: And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Mine iniquity is greater them that it may be forgiven.” Verse 13, margin.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 645.3

    And so at last, and through this awful experience, Cain did recognize that he was a sinner; yes, even that his iniquity was very great. But this is only what he might to have recognized at the first. He was no more a sinner at the last than at the first, except only the fact of the sin having actually worked itself out. But when the sin had actually worked itself out is it did, it was only the working out of what was already here at the first. It was only working out of what was there before he ever brought his offering.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 645.4

    And if at that tune Cain had recognized the truth that he was a sinner and had brought an offering that signified the confession of it, and his faith in God’s gift of salvation from it; or if he had recognized this even after God had revealed it to him in the word, “sin lieth at the door,” and had then brought an offering that signified his confession of it, and his fault in God’s gift of salvation from it; he would have been saved from it, and kept from it; and it never would have appeared in his life. because he would have been saved from it, and kept from it, and the righteousness of God through faith would have appeared instead of the sin.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 645.5

    This was Abel’s case exactly. Abel was a sinner as truly as was Cain. But Abel recognized this truth, acknowledged that he was a sinner, and brought an offering that signified the confession that he was a sinner, and that signified his faith in God’s gift of salvation from sin and from sinning. Abel brought an offering, the firstling of his flock,—a lamb. By this he expressed his faith that God had already given the Firstling of his flock, the Lamb of God, as an offering for the sins of men. Abel slew the lamb, and offered its body and blood, a sacrifice, a whole burnt offering, unto God. And this he did as the expression of his faith that God had already given the Firstling of his flock, the Lamb of God, to be slain in the offering of his body and blood, a sacrifice, a whole offering unto God for the sins of men. In this faith Abel was accepted of God, and his sin was all forgiven. By this faith he was saved from sin, was kept from sinning, and received the righteousness of God to be manifested in his life instead of the sin that was there. And thus “by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous.”MEDM August 12, 1908, page 645.6

    Cain could have done the same as did Abel; and God would have testified of his gifts and would have given to him, also, the “witness that he was righteous.” And so could, and so can, every other person in the world. And all that Cain needed to do was simply to recognize that he was a sinner, and to bring an offering that signified the confession of the sin and faith in the gift of God for his salvation from sin and from sinning. And that is all that any one ever needs to do, even now. God’s Gift has been made. The Lamb of God has been slain. “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put him to grief;” and O “when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin. He shall see of his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” Isaiah 53:10.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 646.1

    But Cain would not do it. And there have been multitudes of others who would not do it. And still there are multitudes who will not do it. And ever the story is the same—“sin lieth at the door,” and the sin that they refuse to recognize and acknowledge in themselves works itself out in the life, multiplying the curse upon themselves and the world.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 646.2

    There are many people, even Christians, who wonder why it is that in the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray, there is the petition constantly for the forgiveness of sins, when it is taught, and provided and expected, that His disciples shall not sin at all. This petition is in that prayer for this very purpose that we shall not sin, and as the sure defense against our sinning. Sin is in us. Our human nature is a sinful nature—a nature full of sin. Yet though this be ever true, as surely as we recognize, and acknowledge, and confess it, and offer the Offering that is ever acceptable to God, so surely the sin is forgiven and we are made “partakers of the divine nature;” and the sin of our human nature is not manifested, but the righteousness of the divine nature is made manifest instead.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 646.3

    And this is the wonderful lesson that is given to the world in the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. And thus at the very threshold of the sinful world there was made plain by the gracious Lord the way of salvation from sin and from sinning.MEDM August 12, 1908, page 646.4

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