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William Andrew Dillard

From the earliest days of history comes a powerful point for everyone throughout the ages. It is a point when well taken and observed, that will bring goodness, joy, and appreciation of blessings without end. So, just what is this powerful point? It is: JUST DO WHAT YOU OUGHT TO DO! Think about it!
The story emanates from the lives of two brothers, Cain and Abel, who brought offerings of worship to the Lord. The story is well known. God rejected Cain’s offering, but accepted that of Abel. Cain was exceedingly angry over the rejection, but received the benefit of godly instructions which would rectify his life, and included ample warning of any alternative. God forthrightly told him: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” Students have often asked what this means, especially the last part of it.
Sin in the form of anger and resistance to well doing had enveloped Cain as a dirty shirt, or more to the point of the verse, sprung upon him as a roaring lion. It lay at Cain’s door, and it lies at everyone’s door. It does so because it desires to have each person as its prey. Do not be deceived, sin really wants control of your life. Cain, and everyone else, too, will rule over sin, and keep it at bay, though it burn with desire for us, as long as commitment is made to God’s grace in well doing. Just do what you ought to do! To objectify the subjectivity of this statement, the Bible truth for all men is offered.
Solomon put it this way as he concluded the book of Ecclesiastes at 12:13.“ Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” That statement is true and applicable across the ages. The apostle Paul wrote about God to Timothy: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:4.
Making a long and wonderful story short, it is the will of God that all men should be saved, and then go on to serious discipleship through baptism, church fellowship, and spiritual maturity in the university of Christ Jesus using His textbook: the Holy Word. Thus will the awful sins of hurt, heartache, and loss be avoided while the joy of faith, hope, and goodness shield against the desires of the springing lion at the doorstep. How awful are the cries of those who have, through foolish and selfish decisions, become the victims of that crouching lion at the door. But greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world. In well doing one may resist the devil to the point that he will flee, according to James 5:8. What all this translates to in simple terms is: Just do what you ought to do!

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When we hear the name Cain, most of us probably think immediately of the first murderer and his heinous crime. But there is more here. The Hebrew is Qayin (H7014), which as most scholars agree is a play on the verb qānāh (H7069), “to buy, purchase, acquire, or possess.” This seems all the more apparent in what Eve herself says of Cain: “I have gotten [i.e., acquired, qānāh] a man from the LORD” (Gen_4:1).


It did not take long, however, for that blessed acquisition to take a turn for the worse, long before Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. Jude alludes to Cain’s real problem when he writes of apostates: “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain” (Gen_4:11). The Greek for way is hodos (G3598), which literally refers to a road, highway, or street, but metaphorically to a course of conduct or way of thinking. So what was Cain’s way of thinking? That he could please God his own way.


What offering, then, did Cain bring, and why did God not accept it? Some teachers insist the problem was that Cain did not bring blood, as did Abel. Gen_3:21, it is argued, reveals that God taught Adam and Eve that blood had to be shed for sin, so this same knowledge was undoubtedly handed down to Cain and Abel.  The Hebrew, in fact, for the offering (April 17, 20) both men brought is minchāh (H4503), which does not refer to blood, rather the general idea of a gift. There are two Hebrew words used to translate this passage into english. The second is (H6529), meaning fruit. Therefore a fruit offering.Now we find with Abel brings a gift and (H1062) firstling of man or beast. Properly a blood offering such as was slain in the garden for Adam and Eve.


So why was Cain’s offering not accepted? We submit two reasons: First,it was not a bloody sacrifice that represented Christ our sacrifice. for Cain (in contrast to Abel bringing the “firstlings” (Gen_4:4). Second,Cain’s offering represented the ability of man to work his way to heaven. Third, it represented the pride of man in self ability in saving ourselves from condemnation.


What, then, is the way of Cain? The way of man. Cain’s way of thinking was that he could please God his own way. Christianity, however, is a life, a life found only in Christ by grace through faith.


Scriptures for Study: Read Mat_7:13-14, noting the two paths Jesus outlines. What does 1Jn_3:12 say about Cain?





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To transmit by way of tradition; to hand down. [Obs.]
[1913 Webster]. I often hear the word tradition spoken as if it is so foul one should spit it out of ones mouth. The plain vanilla truth is that this word is neutral. It may be used for the good or the bad. The Bible uses this word a lot to the negative and probably we have seen this and developed a dislike for this word. It is often used in conjunction with the word man. Man’s tradition in religion is bad and we rail against tradition, but consider this verse – II Thessalonians 3:6 – Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
I notice there are some few that say we are doing things simply because of tradition and essentially declaring that those that spent the blood sweat and tears of laying the ground work before us were ignorant and unscriptural men that simply added to the Bible or could not read. As I have aged, and studied, I have come to the conclusion that these men were more intelligent than we give them credit for. /we Baptist take an offering every Sunday and if we didn’t, we would be heretics. That is tradition because it is Biblical and handed down to us. The way we take up the offering is tradition and it is man’s tradition. Is it wrong to pass the plate? Is wrong to simply have the plate on a table and have people drop their tithe and offering in as they come in or go out? Is it wrong to simply have the Church treasurer stand in a specified spot and personally receive the offering? All are traditions of man yet none are wrong. Let us examine our use of the term tradition, especially as it relates to our forefathers who past this way before us.

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