God after the fall continued his fellowship with Adam, Eve, and their Children. I imagine that the relationship was similar to that of the days in the garden where God would be present in some form. God’s intent was to build a relationship with Adam and Eve. Sin entered the world and it did not take long before sin resulted in murder. God true to his nature shows mercy on the murderer.
Every murder mystery needs a backstory so we need to start with Adam and Eve. Starting a new life on this side of the fall and curse we find Adam and Eve making regular offerings for sin. They knew they needed an acknowledgment of how one’s sins break the relationship with God. These sin offerings then continue for their children. Cain and Able bringing offerings to God is the backdrop for the murder. These offerings were first demonstrated by God to Adam and Eve when God first covered their nakedness.
Mercy for Sin
21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Genesis 3:21 ESV
The outcome of these offerings from Cain and Abel should remind all of just how quickly sin escalates. Our hearts are consumed and it impacts relationships with family and it impacts God’s relationship with us. Able is murdered will God have mercy?
6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. Genesis 4:6-10 ESV
Cain and Abel both provided offerings to God however Abel’s offering was accepted by God and Cain’s offering was not. The acceptance of Abel’s offering resulted in fellowship with God the Creator. In fact the next time this kind of offering is mentioned within the Bible is when God was setting up the regular rules of engagement to Moses and Aaron.
41 The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. 42 It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. Exodus 29:41-42 ESV
The offering that Abel provided allowed him to meet and speak with God and God accepted the offering. Cain’s offering was rejected but God’s mercy and grace was still there. God continued the relationship with Cain speaking directly to him. God wanted to encourage Cain to do the right thing if he wanted acceptance. Most likely God rejected Cain’s offering because of a heart and motive issue. That is why God warns Cain that sin is “crouching at the door”.
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15 ESV
Mercy for Murderers
What Cain should have done is repent of the anger in his heart. He could have turn toward God to do what he knew would be the right thing to do. God clearly indicates that He would have accepted Cain. God would have had mercy on this murderer. Even after Cain had killed his own brother God in a display of undeserved mercy gives Cain an opportunity to repent. Cain rejects the grace of that moment by claiming to not know about what happened to Abel. God knew what happened so the questioning is an opportunity for Cain to turn away from the sinful path and to restore the relationship.
God provides that same opportunity for people today. While we are all sinners that deserve death because of our rebellion, God has provided his own substitutionary payment. He provided an offering we could not provide ourselves so that we can be like Abel standing before the Creator accepted and in fellowship. God’s advice to Cain is still true to people today and even more so because God has revealed his saving grace from sin in Christ.
7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him… 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:7-8; 14 ESV
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*Edited and Revised. Originally Published January 2016