Sin is Crouching at the Door

Text: Genesis 4

Foundation #3 – Adam fell and now all humanity lives under the curse of sin.


On Thursday we had an opportunity to take our little camper out for the first time. We went down to Roaring River State Park and had a great time with the kids. As night descended and we were trying to get them to sleep, I emerged from the camper to find Katie shining her cellphone flashlight into the brush behind our camper where we could hear something stalking us. I got out the larger flashlight and shined it into the brambles, attempting to get the critter to run off. Finally, the beast emerged into the clearing: it was the largest armadillo I have ever seen. Well, not really. It was just an armadillo. It finally toddled off the other direction, probably looking to nab some food. Today, I want to preach on the subject of sin, and remind you that sin is no armadillo.

Over the last 2 weeks we have looked at the Fall of man in terms of How it happened and the Extent to which it affected humanity. In today’s sermon, we see a very early picture of sin’s effects upon mankind in the narrative account of Cain murdering his brother Abel. In it we see all the effects we talked about last week: man’s separation from God, man’s separation from man, and man’s separation from himself. Let’s examine the text together.

Outline and Commentary of Text

Genesis 4:1-5 – The Contention between Cain and Abel. This was a result of God’s acceptance of Abel’s offering and His rejection of Cain’s offering. While the Bible is not explicit about the grounds for rejection, there are 2 possibilities. The first is that Abel brought a blood offering and Cain did not. This would be a very early evidence that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” I personally do not think there is enough evidence for this, and take the second option, which is that Cain’s offering was unaccepted because Cain’s worship was unacceptable.

Genesis 4:6-7. God warns Cain about the sin that is crouching at his door. Several things are indicated from this. First, this was during a period of time when God continued to commune directly with humanity. Second, that God had no bias against Cain but rather wanted him to do right. In God’s warning to Cain, He attempts to get Cain to “own” his sin and thus be able to limit its affects in his life.

Genesis 4:8-9. Rather than exercise self-government and take responsibility for his personal failures, Cain chose to take out his anger in bitter vengeance on his brother, murdering him in the very field where food was grown to sustain life. In the place of fruitfulness there was death. Just as Adam and Eve instinctively blamed others for their moral choices, Cain first diverts his shame into murderous envy and then denies any wrongdoing before God.

Genesis 4:10ff. The rest of the chapter is dedicated to the disastrous consequences sin has on Cain. First, there is the punishment from God, in which we see that the punishment has some level of continuity with the sin. Abel’s blood cries out from the ground, so the ground will no longer yield its bounty to Cain. Cain slays his brother in the place where civilization is to grow, and so he will be driven out to be a stranger and a vagabond. But there are natural consequences for his sin, which include the worsening depravity in his descendants culminating in the strange song of Lamech regarding his own murderous conduct. According to the last verse of this chapter, none of Cain’s line called upon the name of the Lord, so the Lord blesses Adam and Eve with another son, Seth.

Sin is like a predator

It is always an enemy. Sin cannot be domesticated. There is no such thing as a “pet sin”. Sin is against the soul of humanity just as God is for the soul of humanity, and once this reality is discarded mankind is helpless. Sin is a parasite that relies on something living to sustain it. It is always a corruption…never original.

It is always lurking, seeking an opportunity. There is no vacation from the dangers of sin. We may leave work behind, or family behind, or friends behind, but we take our hearts with us. Sin lurks at the gate of the monastery just as much as it lurks at the den of vice.

It is overwhelming in its violence. It is true that sometimes sin grows slowly, but it equally true that sin can suddenly overwhelm a life. This is particularly true with sins like envy and anger, as evidenced by Cain.

It is devastating in its consequences. Joseph’s brothers brought the bloody coat of many color to Jacob and we can only imagine the mental images that haunted the doting father for following decades. Sin is like rips and shreds and destroys in bloody messes. We see this in the brokenness of relationships in the world around us.

Hope for the Believer

In the face of this reality, what hope do believers have? Our hope is two-fold. First, we have hope that God has begotten us again (we are new creatures in Christ Jesus!) so that there is now more living inside of us than just the flesh. Second, we have confidence because our loving Shepherd does not put us in situations that are beyond us. The way of escape may be some inner strength, but in may also be the ordinary means of strength that come to us through Scripture, prayer, fellowship with the community of Christ, confession, and wise decision making.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 

1 John 3:9

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

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