Surely, if you do well, you will lift up your face, and if you do badly, sin lies down at the door, and its desires come to you: but you rule over it. Genesis 4.7

Surely, if you do well, you will lift up your face, and if you do badly, sin lies down at the door, and its desires come to you: but you rule over it. Genesis 4.7 Extract from Concise Comments Matthew Henry.

When Cain was born, Eve said, “I have gotten a man with the Lord.” Perhaps she thought that this birth represented the promised seed, which could have really disappointed her. Abel means “vanity”. When she thought she had the promised seed with Cain, whose name means “possession,” the arrival of this second son gave her conceited thoughts. Note that each of his sons had his vocation. It is the will of God that everyone here below has a task to accomplish. Parents should teach their children this concept of work. “Give them a Bible and a vocation,” said a certain Mr. Dod, and God will be with them.

We can believe that God, after the fall, ordered Adam to shed the blood of innocent animals and that after their death, to burn what remained of their bodies. Such a punishment was already foreshadowed, namely, that sinners deserve to suffer physical death and divine wrath, well represented by the image of the sufferings of Christ. It should be noted that divine worship was not something new. This existed from ancient times and it was an excellent practice, Jeremiah 6.16. Cain’s and Abel’s offerings were very different. Cain showed he had a proud and unbelieving heart, which caused his offering to be rejected. Abel approached his God, as a sinner, with a sacrifice filled with humility, sincerity and obedience.

Having thus sought the benefit of Grace, through the promised Seed, his sacrifice was such as God accepted. Abel offered this sacrifice by faith, unlike Cain, Hebrews 11.4. There have always been two kinds of worshippers, such as Cain and Abel; on the one hand, there are those, who like Cain are proud and despise the methods indicated by the Gospel and try to please God by following their own imagination; on the other hand, there are humble believers, closely following the divine path revealed to them. Cain gave in to his anger towards Abel. He was moved by an evil spirit, namely discontent and rebellion against God.

He observes with sadness the passions that are inherent in our sins. There is no anger, envy or lust that cannot escape His sight.

The Lord, alas, could only observe the rebellion of man; the latter could have returned to the right path while being well accepted by God. Some interpret this as an invitation to approach the throne of grace. “Surely, if you do well, you will lift up your face; and if you do badly, sin lies down at the door, and its desires turn towards you: but you rule over it”.

The word “sin” means both sin, but also sacrifice for sin. “Even though you have not practiced good, do not despair; the remedy is at your fingertips”.

Christ, having willingly offered himself for our sins, stands at the door, Revelation 3.20. And those who do not open the door to benefit from the offer of redemption from sin, deserve only death. The fact that God accepted Abel’s offering did not change Cain’s birthright. Why was Cain so angry? Sin stirs up discord and vanity, it can only falsify the impartiality of our judgments.

Excerpt from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentaries

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Surely, if you do well, you will lift up your face, and if you do badly, sin lies down at the door, and its desires come to you: but you rule over it. Genesis 4.7 – Christian Life – Christian Journal