Brief: We fight against our sinful natures by giving ourselves to the Lord and letting Him transform us.
Scripture: Genesis 4:1-26; Psalm 51:5; Luke 1:26-35; Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 4:14-15
Genesis 4:1-2: Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
When did Adam and Eve start having kids? Was it before they sinned or after? (After they sinned.)
Genesis 4:3-5: In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering He did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Why do you think that Cain and Abel brought offerings to God? What were these offerings supposed to do? What is the purpose of making an offering elsewhere in the Bible?
Offerings are either given in order to give thanks to God or to ask God’s forgiveness for some sin that a person has committed.
Why do you think that God did not accept Cain’s offering?
It could be that Cain did not have the right attitude in giving his offering. It could be that when Cain gave his offering, he really didn’t mean it. The main issue, though, seems to be that Abel brought his best, whereas Cain only brought some.
God wants our best too. How do you think we can give God our best?
We can give God our best by setting aside time for Him every day. God wants us to spend time with Him, and He doesn’t want our leftovers. He doesn’t want it to be a last minute or maybe-I’ll-get-to-it-when-I-have-time kind of thing. He wants you to plan to give Him some time out of your day.
Romans 12:1: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
When God says, He wants our best, He means that He wants us. He wants us to offer ourselves to Him. We are the offering. We give ourselves to God, promising to live for Him. We die to ourselves. Just like a sacrifice dies, we stop living for ourselves, and we start living for God.
By not doing what was right, Cain was sinning.
But how did Cain come to have sin in his life? He didn’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Remember we said that he wasn’t even born until after God had banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.
There are only two solutions to how Cain became sinful. One is that God created him to be a sinful person. This means that God created Cain’s soul to be a sinful soul and put it in Cain’s body. Does this sound like something that God would do? (No.)
We know that God does not make anything bad. He makes things good, and they become bad through their own choices and actions. The second theory is that it was a natural consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, they became sinful. When two humans have a child, that child is human. So if two sinful humans have a child, that child is sinful. This means that not only our bodies but also our souls are passed down to us through biological reproduction.
Psalm 51:5: Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
This is how all of us inherit the sinful nature. We receive it from our parents, just like we receive our DNA from them. Since everyone is a physical descendant of Adam and Eve, all of us have inherited their sin.
But Jesus was not sinful. He was not born with the sinful nature.
Hebrews 4:14-15: Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.
What made Jesus different? Why wasn’t He born with the sinful nature?
Luke 1:26-35: In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, 33 and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
So what was different about Jesus? (He didn’t have a human father. God was Jesus’ father.)
Jesus was the only person to have ever been born without having a human father. He is also the only person to have never had a sinful nature.
So it seems that we inherit our sinful nature from our fathers. And since Jesus did not have a human father, He did not inherit the sinful nature.
Genesis 4:6-7: Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
What is God doing for Cain? (He’s warning him not to do what he is about to do.)
Do you think God ever warns us when we’re thinking about doing something that we shouldn’t? How does He do that? (He warns us through our conscience and through the Holy Spirit speaking to us.)
Genesis 4:8-12: Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
What did Cain do when God asked him what happened? (He lied.)
Did God believe Cain’s lie? (No. God knew what happened. God knows everything.)
Do you think Cain’s punishment might have been less if he had not lied to God about it?
That’s a possibility. It’s always better to confess and tell the truth than to lie about it and keep on sinning.
Genesis 4:13-16: Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today You are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from Your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Even though God punishes Cain, God still has mercy on him by making it so that no one will kill him.
Genesis 4:17: Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.
Who was Cain’s wife?
Adam and Eve were the only people having children at this point so where did Cain’s wife come from? It was his sister. It wasn’t until the time of Moses that God forbade marrying your relatives. Up until then, your relatives were the only people you could marry. Cain had to marry someone.
Genesis 4:18-26: To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.
19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.
23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. 24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.”
25 Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.
At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.
It’s interesting to see how Cain’s line contributed to the development of human society with tools and music while Seth’s line continued the faith of his parents with prayer. Lamech also continued Cain’s propensity for anger and violence, while we don’t see anything like that in the legacy of Seth.
But Seth still did have the sinful nature, as we all do. So, how do we fight against our sinful nature?
Romans 12:1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.