Throughout history, man has always had his own standards and God his. Nothing exemplifies this like the story of Cain and Abel.
Cain was the first man born. As such he was unique and a marvel. He was also the first male child on Earth. And the mother said so: “I have had a male child with the Lord’s help.” Such sense of uniqueness can make one feel entitled to self-created standards, to feel like an exception to rules. Such people can be temperamental and throw tantrums when confronted with standards of behavior.
Cain in fact believed he would get away with murder, literarily! He killed his own brother. Abel, his brother was the first person to die physically – the first victim of Eden Crisis. Cain and Abel made an offering to God. Scriptures tell us Cain’s offering wasn’t acceptable to God. Whereby Cain lost his temper, went into a sulk and plotted his brother’s murder. The issue of God’s approval has therefore always been a concern to the human race.
But God said something interesting in the course of this saga: Why this tantrum? Why this sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? If you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” The reason Cain sulked is because of divergence of standards. God’s versus his.
It’s the same problem today. Man has a standard, God has his standard. Man’s standard is morality – a binary paradigm of good vs. evil. It’s man’s rating of how things ought to be judged. But God’s standard is COMPLETELY different. It’s called righteousness. God does not judge according to morality. If you don’t fulfill the terms of righteousness you will not be acceptable to God. That’s what the Bible says. No matter how good or how moral you are, or how much good you do, without righteousness God won’t accept you. No standard is acceptable to God except God’s standard. This simple fact is very difficult for some. Like Cain.
The standards of spiritual jurisprudence are completely different from the standards of our court system. We view sin as civil liability. Not so to God. To him sin is a criminal offence with capital liability. Sin is a capital offence. When Jesus took our place he died a criminal’s death. It’s because we see sin as civil liability that we deign to think we can subtract our bad from our good. In our estimation, if our good is more than our bad then God would accept us. Yet this is not what scriptures say. The wages of sin is death the Bible says. The soul that sinneth shall die. Sin is a capital offence.
There is no big sin or small sin. Before God sin is sin. According to the Law, if you’re guilty of one sin you’re guilty of all. If we understand the nature of sin, no man will dare imagine he can stand before God on the basis of morality. WE see sin as something you do or fail to do. We define sin as a verb, in terms of action. But for God sin is not just actus reus or action. It’s also men’s rea. Jesus said there is thought crime. The man who lusts after a woman to sleep with her has slept with her, Jesus said. Guilty mind.
Man has a sinful NATURE. He inherited that nature from Adam. Sinful nature is spiritually genetic. It’s why the new man recreated in Christ has to change his spiritual genes to that of the Christ. Salvation is biology. Life for life. That’s the essence of Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice. Jesus died for us, died in our place. Without sinless innocent blood we could never be redeemed.
Morality is not blood. It can’t answer for sin. When we insist that our morality will save us, that is the spirit of Cain. He set his own standard. The law says, Without the shedding of blood there is no amnesty, absolution, remittal, pardon, forgiveness of sins. The blood of Jesus cries on our behalf before God, just like the blood of Abel cried from the ground. Blood cries. The life of every animal is in its blood. (Leviticus 17:14) As the Lamb of God the life of Jesus was in his blood. The man who hopes to acquit himself before God by morality is following his own standard, not God’s. The very idea of seeking to stand before God on the basis of morality is in itself a sin. It’s called self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is a sin of pride and really it’s impudent.
Salvation is such an easy thing. But our fallen nature makes us want to EARN God’s approval. How can you earn a favour?! You knew nothing about Jesus going to the cross. He did it looooooong before you were born. How can you earn what had been done and concluded 2,000 years after?! How can you earn salvation retroactively? God says, just believe. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. It’s that simple! If you take God at his word and believe, you activate a sequence of events behind the scenes. Your spirit is regenerated. Recreation takes place. It’s done so fast it’s imperceptible. At the speed of light! That recreation by the Spirit of God is why Jesus said you get born again. It’s a spiritual rebirth.
There are legal details God takes care of behind the scene when you get born again. Your legal status changes from that of a condemned criminal on death row to that of a free man. Your records are wiped clean. It doesn’t matter how terrible you were. The blood of Jesus cleanses you. Then the Spirit of God comes to dwell in you. It’s why born again people who do crazy feel a sense of unease. You’re then given high-level security clearance to God’s throne room. You can walk into state house anytime.
Thereafter the Spirit gives you gifts, just for accepting Jesus. He gives you out-of-this-world capabilities. These gifts are totally at his discretion but some are general, e.g. speaking in tongues. To some he gives extra capacity to believe God for the impossible. To some the ability to be extraordinarily wise. To some he gives the ability to “see” things. They seem clairvoyant. And some can predict the future.
You’re also assigned special assistants and bodyguards. Angels are assigned to you to “minister” to you. You don’t see these angels but they’re all around you, though some people have seen them. Angels are not those Raphaelite babies with chicken wings we see in paintings. These guys are huge! Then your life is recalibrated. You acquire a new sense of purpose. You see the futility of life unlived for God.
And it gets better. Every time you make a mistake you just tell God you’re sorry; and he forgives and forgets. It’s so wonderful isn’t it? If you’ll like to give your life to Jesus please pray this prayer: “Father please forgive me. I am a sinner. I know that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. I accept him today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen!
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org