Before reading these insights, I encourage you to do the Bite Size Study Trojan Horse Lie: I'm a Victim. Insights are in blue, original study in black.
Genesis 4:6-7: Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
God made it clear: The choice was Cain's--he could overcome the temptation and turn from sin. A similar message is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13. When we sin, we're responsible.
God must have previously explained acceptable sacrifices to Cain and Abel,but Cain didn't follow his instructions. Perhaps Cain brought his sacrifice insincerely. (Genesis 4:3-5)
Our modern culture might defend or excuse Cain, claiming God had damaged his self-esteem when he rejected Cain's offering or saying God expected too much of Cain. These are common excuses for sin despite the fact that the Bible refutes them.
And there is a huge body of evidence to refute the theory that having a poor self-esteem leads to bad behavior:
"State University Prof. Roy Baumeister (PhD psychology, Princeton University) has revealed that in a lifetime of study of violent criminals, the one characteristic nearly all these criminals share is high self-esteem." from Criminals Have High Self Esteem
See also: Research Shows Harms of Self-Esteem.
2. Why is it important to recognize our sins for what they are?
1 John 1:8-10: 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
We add sin to sin when we excuse something that God calls sin. And it eventually leads to a loss of conscience. This is talked about in relation to unbelievers (Ephesians 4:17-20) who ignore the sense of right and wrong God places in every heart. And it's called a "seared conscience" in false teachers (1 Timothy 4:2). But we Christians can also damage our consciences (Romans 6).
Most of us know someone who let cultural pressure and selfish desires lead them away from good values into a lifestyle of immorality.
Even if we don't lose our conscience, we can damage it in certain areas if we aren't vigilant about examining ourselves. I recently realized that I had compromised my standards in TV viewing. We don't get cable, but we get several antenna-only channels that offer reruns of older sitcoms.
Recently, I realized I was watching shows in reruns that I would never have watched when they came out. By our present cultural standards (i.e. compared to present TV sitcoms) they seem tame, but they still glorify ungodliness. I've had to take this to the Lord and start being more careful about what I view.
Have you ever experienced this phenomenon in your life?
If this study has made you aware of an area of "conscience compromise," take a few moments today to acknowledge it as sin before God and ask His forgiveness.
If you'd like to read about a Bible character who blamed his sin on others, read about King Saul in 1 Samuel 15. And read these 1-Minute Bible Love Notes for more insights: Self-Defense and Anatomy of Insincere Repentance.
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted Florida