Skip to main content

1 John 3:12: We Should Not Be Like Cain

1 John 3:12
[12] We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. (ESV)

The Apostle John is talking to the church. He has been speaking of how to identify those who are genuinely God's children and those who are children of the devil.  Now, he turns to this example from the very first human family to talk of how not to act.  At first glance it may seem a little odd to be speaking of Cain.  Let's take a look at why John warns the church of Cain's sinful example.

Genesis 4:3–5
[3] In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, [4] and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, [5] but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. (ESV)

Cain gives some kind of evidence that he was a worshiper.  He was bringing an offering to the Lord. Yet, his heart was clearly not right before God.  Notice that Cain brings "an offering." Abel brings the "firstborn," and "fat portions." To help you understand, Abel brought the very best to the Lord, and what the Lord wanted.  Cain brought what he determined was right to bring.  Cain's heart was rebellious.  And when he did not get what he wanted he exposed his true heart; jealous, angry, and murderous.

Do you know who else was like Cain?  The religious leaders of the Jews who had Jesus crucified. Their deeds were evil and Jesus' deeds were righteous.  Consumed by their jealous rage they were willing to abandon the Law they claimed to believe and resort to murder. It is a terrifying thing to think of how quickly jealousy can turn to even greater sin.

The false teachers in the Church that John was addressing had a superior attitude towards those who were practicing true righteousness. Their hearts were evil, just like Cain's. John rightly instructs them to not be like Cain.  They also needed to be aware of what was really happening in their midst. I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for churches to discern the hearts of its members.

How is your heart?  Are you jealous of others that seem to be more righteous than you?  Instead, humble your heart before the Lord.  As God told Cain in Genesis 4:6, "If you do well, will you not be accepted?" Lord help us to do well.


Popular posts from this blog

Romans 8:18: For I Consider That The Sufferings Of This Present Time Are Not Worth Comparing

Romans 8:18 [18] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV) Perspective. What an important word. Let's be honest. We do not like the idea of suffering. We will do almost anything to avoid any kind of suffering. Some churches have gone so far as to preach against the idea of suffering, declaring it to not be a part of the true believer's life. Paul is not shy about the topic. Paul uses the sufferings of this present time as a means to consider the greater glory that awaits us. Perspective. Paul is not in any way attempting to diminish our suffering. A view toward eternity puts our suffering in a proper understanding. Yes, our suffering is terrible. In the grand scheme of eternity it is not even worth comparison. Maybe you are thinking that Paul does not know what he is talking about when it comes to suffering. In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul describes countless beatings, often near death,

Romans 15:14: I Myself Am Satisfied About You, My Brothers

Romans 15:14 [14] I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. (ESV) The Apostle Paul was a strong man. His words to the churches in all of his letters are full of doctrinal truth and instruction that are not for the faint of heart. In this letter to the church at Rome he had to correct them in their understanding of how to deal with issues that could potentially divide them. Paul had never even been to Rome yet. He had not met these believers. Paul is telling the church at Rome in this verse that the reason they were able to receive his strong words was because of their spiritual maturity. He declares that they are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. This is an incredible compliment that Paul would not offer to every church. This concept of being filled with goodness and knowledge speaks of a group of believers who had listened to t

Romans 15:22: This Is The Reason Why I Have So Often Been Hindered From Coming To You.

Romans 15:22 [22] This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. (ESV) Paul was quite the traveler. As an Apostle to the Gentiles his task was literally to take the Gospel to the entire known world at the time. Many of the Epistles that Paul writes are letters written to places where he has already been. He preached the Gospel, many were saved, churches were planted, and Paul moved on to a new area. Rome was a place that Paul had never been to. He writes this entire letter to people whom he had never met. As an Apostle to the Gentiles he wanted to give them the good solid teaching they needed to grow in their faith. Likely, someone who was converted on the Day of Pentecost went back to Rome and first shared the Gospel there. Paul says that he has been often hindered from coming to Rome. He could have argued that all kinds of circumstances would not permit him to get to Rome. Paul would not have blamed circumstances. He would have understood that it w