Cain, One More Time

SOURCE: Frank L. Cox, The Minister’s Monthly, March 1964, pages 351-52.


By Frank L. Cox

Cain was born under the shadow of the fall. His life was one of tragedy and deep sorrow. The painful experience of which our passage speaks was self-inflicted. So many of our painful experiences are self-inflicted. His pathetic life may be explained by three key words, names: rejection, dejection, and subjection.

I.    REJECTION… Character the determining factor in acceptance or rejection of our offering. “The acceptance of the offerer precedes the acceptance of the offering” [Dods]. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous.” Rejection was the cause of—

II.    DEJECTION… The light of God falls upon the uplifted face, but the darkness of the features of the man of fallen countenance indicates the dark unrest of his soul. God has not left the man who has displeased him. Though he cannot accept the sacrifice, he loves the sinner and desires to save him. The questions of God are intended to arouse Cain to a sense of his danger. A real peril confronts him, but he is shown the alternative—he must either subdue or be subdued.

III.    SUBJECTION… “…if thou doeth not well, sin coucheth at the door: and unto thee shall be its desire, but do thou rule over it” (Genesis 4:7, ASV). Sin is a wild beast couching just outside the door of a man’s life ready to spring in and destroy him as soon as the latch is lifted. It is no less true that outside the door of every life there stands One who is not couching ready to spring and destroy, but who knocks and pleads, seeking admission, One mighty to save. “Behold I stand at the door and knock,” (Revelation 3:20).

Sin must be mastered or it will be master. And the only way to get the mastery over sin is to let Christ come in and allow him to keep the citadel. Through Christ “we are more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37-39; Colossians 1:27).