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Don’t Walk the Way of Cain

We begin in the book of Jude, 7-13. In these verses, Jude warns his readers against apostasy. Apostasy is not the loss of salvation; apostasy occurs when a person who has verbally claimed but ultimately abandons the faith which he or she never possessed (see 1 John 2:19). In Jude 11, there are three allusions to past apostates: Cain, Balaam, and Korah. In this verse, we see that professors of religion who do not really have religion “walked in the way of Cain.” They pursued the way of Cain with extreme passion; they pursue greed like Balaam and seek to rule the people of God through dishonest means like Korah.

“The way of Cain” is the lifestyle of Cain. Cain was a man of unbelief and apostasy. Many today forget that conversion is not a decision, it is a way. Conversion is best expressed in a person’s way of life. If you have really believed and repented, you will continue to believe and repent. The problem today is that people pray a prayer but do not have a truly changed heart: they have prayed a prayer but do not have the faith that saves. In short, such people deceive themselves. Are you deceiving yourself tonight? Are you clinging to an empty profession that has produced no fruit? If you are, you may find yourself clinging to nothing but smoke in the wind. The question to ask yourself is “Am I following Christ now?” Christianity isn’t a mere decision; it is a lifestyle, a path, a way—the way of Christ, not the way of Cain.

We read about the way of Cain firsthand in Genesis 4. But let’s establish some blessed privileges that Cain possessed but that ultimately did not result in Cain’s conversion.

  • Cain had two monuments of God’s grace as parents. Cain’s parents were among the saved; they had experienced for themselves God’
  • He lived without the contamination of corrupt society. We today live in a corrupt society that continually bombards our minds with obscenities, but Cain lived before society’s conception.
  • Cain was homeschooled! He learned life directly from his parents. Homeschooling is an excellent thing to do (and I personally hope to write more about this in future posts), but homeschooling alone does not guarantee a child’s salvation.
  • Cain had a godly brother—one of the heroes of the OT listed in Hebrews 11.
  • Cain had direct communication with God—God spoke audibly to Cain.
  • God gave Cain both a promise and a warning. Cain knew what any action he were to commit would result in.

But all these blessed privileges did not result in Cain’s conversion. Cain had all these good things going for them, he had a perfect pedigree, but he was apostate and unregenerate!

But what, exactly, is the way of Cain?

  1. It is the way of works (v. 3). Cain’s offering is the fruit of his own labor. It was faithless (Hebrews 11:4). It was bloodless (Hebrews 9:22). It was heartless (Matthew 15:8) and fruitless (Matthew 11:13).
  2. It is the way of wrath (v. 5). Cain wasted away with envy. If things don’t go your way, and you find yourself always becoming angry (Galatians 5), you may be walking in the way of Cain.
  3. It is the way of willfulness (v. 7). Cain was always self-willed. People who walk in the way of Cain are narcissistic and individualistically stubborn.
  4. It is the way of worldly sorrow (vv. 11 & 13), which does not lead to salvific repentance. Sorrow without repentance is not of God—it is of the world and leads to eternal death. Cain was only concerned for his own welfare rather than his sin against God. Cain heard his own cries of self-pity, but he did not hear the cries of his brother’s blood.
  5. It is the way of wandering (v. 16). Cain flees from God’s presence and wanders.
  6. It is the way of the world (v. 17). Cain built a city. Don’t be a workaholic and drown your conscience in industry. Don’t swallow guilt with with the TV or mindless entertainment.

“The way of Cain began with a bloodless sacrifice and ended with a graceless eternity.” –Don Currin. And so it is today. The way of Cain—the broad road that leads to destruction—begins with human works, works that do not save, and it still ends with a graceless eternity in hell. The way of Christ—the narrow road that leads to salvation—begins before time began and is realized in Christ’s sacrifice, Christ’s atonement for the sins of all who would ever come and keep coming (John 6:37). The true Christian perseveres. The true Christian is transformed. Are you in the way of Cain, or are you actively following in the way of Christ? I leave you with 2 Corinthians 5:15-17, which Bro. Currin quoted in his sermon tonight:

And He [Christ] died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

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