Today’s Scripture: Genesis 4-7
I once came across the lyrics of an old song that said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” Sin always takes its toll out. It is deadly. In the Genesis account, sin begins to take its toll as soon as Adam and Eve disobey God. They bring children into the world, and those children are conceived and born in sin. Cain and Abel are Adam’s sons, and they both possess Adam’s nature. The Bible says that Abel was a shepherd who tended sheep, while his brother Cain was a farmer who worked the ground. Because they were made in God’s image, they were worshipers. But sin had affected their ability to worship God, thus making blood atonement necessary. Abel understood this and brought an offering from the very best of his flock, slaughtering it and presenting it as a sacrifice before God. Cain, on the other hand, decided that he would give God something that he had grown from the ground. There was a problem with this–Cain’s offering represented what Cain wanted, not what God wanted. It is for this reason that Cain is the father of all false religion. At its core, false religion is sinful man’s attempt to worship God apart from the blood atonement that God demands. It may appear moral and decent. It may even be offered from a sincere heart. But we cannot worship God on our own terms; we only worship God on His terms. Cain was rebuked and his offering was not accepted by God. His heart was so darkened by sinful pride that he lashed out and murdered his brother. Sin takes its toll.
As the years went by, sin kept taking its toll and man became more corrupt. Then, we are given a breath of fresh air as we read in Genesis 6:8-9, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord…Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” Noah and his family were faithful worshipers of God in the midst of a wicked generation. Like a beacon of light, they stood out in stark contrast from the world that surrounded them. God promised Noah that judgment was coming on the world of men for its sin, but he and his family would be saved. Noah was instructed to build an ark of wood which would serve to shelter him, as well as the rest of his family, from the coming flood waters. Elsewhere in the New Testament, we are told that Noah was a preacher of righteousness in his generation. For 120 years he warned of the judgment that was coming, only to be laughed at and ignored by his contemporaries. Then one day the rain started falling. The lightning started flashing. The thunder started rolling. Panic then ensued as men fled to the ark, only to find the door closed with only Noah and his family safely inside. Sin takes its toll.
Friend, sin always takes its toll. Evidence of this is seen in the problems of society. Ours is a generation of unbridled lust, adultery, hatred, envy, and murder. Our biggest problems are not with healthcare or politics or economics. The reason we are in the mess we are in is because sin is taking its toll. Yet there is hope for the one who will turn to Christ! He is the Ark that we can run to and take shelter in. It was upon Him that the waves of God’s judgment crashed so that we could be saved. He died and rose again so that those who are dead in sin might live through Him. Yes, sin takes its toll, but Jesus has paid the price for sin! The hymnwriter said it best: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe! Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow!”
“Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son. He is the ark of our salvation, the One in whom we find refuge. Keep us from sin and empower us to live holy lives that point others to You. Amen.”