Sin is crouching at the door.

door blood

In the beginning, God created man and woman.  He placed them in a Garden called Eden and they lived there happily with God, without any experiential knowledge of sin.  They did have intellectual knowledge of sin, having been given a command not to eat the fruit off of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and also the consequence for doing so.  But having not yet disobeyed, they could remain in God’s presence and were not yet separated from God.  We do not know how long Adam and Eve remained in the garden, but we do know that they ate the fruit and were kicked out.

They had two children, Cain and Abel, and Cain felt challenged by his brother being jealous that Abel found favor with God.  We see that God was not please with the type of offering that each boy made to God, but with the heart behind it, and thus God came and directly confronted Cain about his attitude:

“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry?  And why has your countenance fallen?  If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?  And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.’”

– Gen 4.6-7

Unfortunately, Cain did not listen.  Out of his jealousy, Cain lured Abel to a field and killed him.  One generation into the existence of mankind, and we have the very first murder – brother against brother.

God’s statement to Cain is profoundly simple.  Sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is for him – and for us.  We must master it.  This is the theme of Scripture.  This is the theme of the history of mankind.  We have a problem, and it is our sinful nature, and we must master it, be freed from it, be forgiven for it.

The remainder of the Old Testmanet teaches us, however, that we are completely incapable of mastering it on our own strength.  We can never make ourselves good enough to remain in God’s presence again, because His standard is perfection.

This is the very reason that Jesus came.  He came as an act of love, but the reason He had to come was because of our sin.  Every sin has to be punished, because God is just and righteous – He cannot overlook any sin and just sweep it under the rug.  So Jesus died to pay our debt of punishment for sin, that we can be forgiven and welcomed into God’s presence without sin.

After wiping our records clean, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to empower us to fight against sin.  We cannot glorify God in our actions on our own strength and conviction, we need His strength to push us along and enable us.  Thus the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our lives to convict us not only of sin, but of righteousness.

“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…”

– John 16.8

We must be careful to balance our attitude towards sin, however.  It is a restless evil, and it will destroy us.  Hebrews tells us that if we continue sinning after we come to Jesus for salvation, that we are not saved but still on our way to Hell (Heb 10.26).  Thus we must recognize that the reason Jesus came was to pay our debt, and we gratefully receive his pardon and respond by allowing the Holy Spirit to change us and quit sinning.

If we set out to earn God’s favor by changing on our own strength, we will fail because we can never reach perfection.

But we must change as an act of worship, reverence and respect for God and His salvation.

Many today err on the side of legalism, trying to earn God’s favor, but many more err on the side of our “religious liberty”.  When Jesus rose from the dead, He fulfilled the Law and therefore some of the ceremonial laws which were established to set the Hebrew people apart as God’s chosen race were fulfilled and therefore no longer need to be kept.  This is what Paul calls our freedom.  We incorrectly apply this reality to ourselves, however, and abuse Jesus’ death on the cross by continuing in sin and making excuses for ourselves.  We must hate those things that God hates, the mark of the believer is one who is being transformed into God’s image, which means conquering sin by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let us not deceive ourselves into resting in grace and continuing in sin.  Grace exists to free us from the sin that lurks at the door waiting to destroy us.

Let us be diligent.  Let us be aware.  Let us fight the good fight, and not allow sin to destroy us.  Let’s submit the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit anew, today!

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