We’ve all heard the story of Cain and Abel, but there’s so much more to it than murder. It’s the story of the progression of sin—and of the legacy of the godly.
1. The Corruption of Sin
Cain didn’t even try to change himself—instead, he played the victim and tried to change his circumstances (his brother’s superior character contrasting his).
Ironically, he didn’t get rid of his competition—he memorialized him in Scripture.
One sin often leads to another. Don’t let the devil trick you: “can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?” (Prov. 6:27, KJV). This story proves that no, it’s not possible.
2. The Shamelessness of Sin
God knew that Cain hadn’t given Him his best, the “firstfruits.” Yet Cain felt to outraged anyway.
And when God asked Cain where Abel was to give him a chance to repent, not to find out an answer as if he didn’t already know it. After all, God later said, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10b).
3. The Punishment of Sin
God judges all.
In this case, the punishment soon followed the crime. God cursed Cain’s ability to work with his own hands and reap food for himself.
This all started with Cain’s unwillingness to give the firstfruits of his harvest to God and his overeagerness to put his own brother ten feet under. So God fittingly punished Cain.
He also had no choice but to leave home. How could he face his parents when he murdered their son? He’d forever be a vagabond.
Then his great great great grandson Lamech murdered Cain just as Cain murdered Abel. How sad, to die alone and rejected because he hatefully killed his own loving brother.
4. The Legacy of Sin
Cain was murdered by his own family—his great great great grandson—almost like he never learned his lesson. He gave his progeny a terrible example, and he wasn’t the only one who suffered for it (Gen. 4:23).
5. The Defeat of Sin
But sin isn’t all-powerful. As Paul said, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20). THAT is our God.
Perhaps that’s why when Cain sinned, God didn’t strike him dead. He could’ve, and He’s done it before, but He decided to give Cain the opportunity to repent and live a better life.
Also, consider that God gave Cain a mark to keep him safe. It wasn’t till several generations later that Cain died, and God didn’t have to provide this extra layer of protection just because Cain asked—Cain hadn’t even apologized!
Yet God’s Grace was greater than Cain’s sinfulness.
And that’s why Cain’s legacy of sin wasn’t the only one that Genesis 4 records.
The last two verses record that God gave Adam and Eve Seth, a son who was not only the hope and joy of his parents, but also the one to restart the love we had for talking with God, a habit we lost in the garden of Eden.
But it gets better! In contrast to Cain’s sinful legacy, Seth had a godly legacy, for Genesis 4:26 reads, “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.”
Questions to Ponder
1. Are there sins in your life that you don’t think are a big deal? If there are, remember that whatever these sins are, they were enough on their own to send Christ on the cross. Also, what are some ways that they can tempt you to other sins?
2. Do you think you’re being punished for sin? Why not humbly repent and accept God’s mercy that forgives the sin and brings your weary soul peace with God (even if it doesn’t erase the consequences)?
3. What steps are you taking to create a legacy? Is it a godly legacy? If not, how can you pray and ask God to change your life path?