For those who may not be familiar with the account of Cain killing Abel, we will read Genesis 4:1-8: “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have acquired a man from the LORD.’ Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And THE LORD RESPECTED ABEL and his offering, but HE DID NOT RESPECT CAIN and his offering. And CAIN WAS VERY ANGRY, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.’ Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (NKJV).

It seems obvious that Cain was JEALOUS of his brother Abel being accepted by God and his jealousy turned into an ANGRY RAGE, which then resulted in MURDERING Abel. Where did Cain get the thoughts of jealousy and anger, and then the premeditated thoughts of killing his brother? I believe it was Cain’s fallen, SINFUL NATURE that gave birth to these “thoughts” and then to his “act of murder.” Let’s remember that both of these brothers were “born in sin” for Adam’s sin (see Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-6) led to all men being born sinners. We read of this in Romans 5:12 & 19a, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” Adam’s sin affected the whole human race, beginning with his first two sons, Cain and Abel. They “were made sinners” which means they had a “sinful nature” which would only produce “sins.” To illustrate, if you have a “rotten apple tree,” it will only produce “rotten apples.” The “rotten tree” is the “root” and the “rotten apples” are the “fruit.” Man’s “sin nature” is the “root” and our “sins” are the “fruit.” Cain’s thoughts of anger, jealousy and planning his brother’s death were the “fruit of his sinful nature” and so was the actual act of killing his brother.

The tragedy in this sad story is that Cain could have been accepted by God had he brought the right offering. We read in Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous.” Cain could have come to God BY FAITH with a BLOOD SACRIFICE that God would have accepted since the sacrifice would have resulted in God forgiving Cain and declaring him righteous. But instead of feeling his need to repent of his sins he boldly came to God WITHOUT FAITH and offered up a BLOODLESS SACRIFICE which he, in pride, thought God would surely accept since it was the “fruit of his own labors.” This was an act of rebellion to God, which is also the “fruit of the sinful nature.” Romans 8:7-8 says, “Because the mind of the FLESH is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God; for neither indeed can it be: and they that are in flesh cannot please God” (DARBY). The FLESH in this verse is not one’s physical body, but the “fallen, sinful nature” that is in us. We see this truth in Romans 7:17-18, “But now, it is no longer I who do it, but SIN THAT DWELLS IN ME. For I know that in me (that is, in my FLESH) not good dwells.” Even after God appealed to Cain to “do well” (by offering to God the right sacrifice by faith), Cain refused to judge his sin of rebellion, jealousy and anger. Instead, he devised the plan to take his brother Abel out into a field and kill him.

Let’s end this meditation by considering 1st John 3:10-12: “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, NOT AS CAIN WHO WAS OF THE WICKED ONE AND MURDERED HIS BROTHER. And why did he murder him? Because HIS WORKS WERE EVIL AND HIS BROTHER’S RIGHTEOUS.” We have seen that Cain was born a sinner in the human family because of his earthly father’s sin; here we learn that Cain was also a “child of the devil” who was also a sinner. Cain “was of the wicked one” and he thus he “murdered his brother.” Jesus spoke of this to the religious leaders who were plotting His death in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning.” Cain also had the “same sinful nature of the devil,” a nature that is in rebellion towards God and hates those who do what is right. Again, “the sinful nature is the root, that produces sinful fruit.”  (DO)  (529.1)