Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
After the entrance of sin into the world, it didn’t take long for the sinful nature to show itself. Our first parents have a child in Genesis 4:1, and another in verse 2. We know nothing of their upbringing. However, we do know that, as they matured, they were busy about caring for the land, with Cain growing some sort of crops and Abel caring for some livestock. We also know that they brought offerings before the Lord. We don’t really know how they knew what to do or how they could perceive this, but Cain’s offering was rejected by God while Abel’s offering was accepted. Cain’s rejection had something to do with sin and his attitude, judging from verse 7.
Rather than being moved to repentance and making an acceptable offering, Cain rose up against his brother and killed him. When confronted by God about this sin, Cain expressed that his penalty was too great to bear. He feared for his own life.
God’s response to Cain’s fear should be instructive to us. Rather than striking him down, God places a sign of protection on Cain. Though his sin is worthy of death, he lives on under the protection of God.
Likewise, in Christ, God has laid his hand of protection on all repentant sinners, no matter our guilt. Our crimes, though worthy of death, have been forgiven through Jesus’ death on our behalf. Christ, the innocent one, suffered and died so we could go free. The Christian, then, bears the mark of God’s protective hand. We are called to new life in him. The penalty was laid on another, from God’s mercy and grace.
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