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1 John 3:11-12
11 For [hoti] this [houtos] is [esti] the message [aggelia] that [hos] ye heard [akouo] from [apo] the beginning [arche], that [hina] we should love [agapao] one another [allelon].
12 Not [ou] as [kathos] Cain [Kain], who was [en] of [ek] that wicked one [poneros], and [kai] slew [sphazo] his [autos] brother [adelphos]. And [kai] wherefore [charin] [tis] slew [sphazo] he him [autos]? Because [hoti] his own [autos] works [ergon] were [en] evil [poneros], and [de] his [autos] brother's [adelphos] righteous [dikaios]. KJV-Interlinear
11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous. NASB
One of the first things you learn as a believer is the phrase, 'love one another.' Most people misunderstand this phrase, but that is not important in the early stages as a new believer in Christ. The important thing is for the believer to begin the process of transforming his attitude.
As we begin to learn and grow up in our spiritual life, we then come to learn that the love spoken of here is the principle of respect for, and tolerance of, people. There are a lot of folks out there in the world, and as many attitudes and personalities as you can shake a stick at. Most will not agree with your personality or with your opinions.
You still, out of respect and graciousness, must come to respect the rights of others to believe as they choose. Even if they are wrong in their thinking. God does not force or coerce anyone into thinking any certain way. We can only follow the same policy.
From John's example, we know that Cain was influenced by Satan. Though no mention was ever made of this in the Genesis story, we can assume that in some similar fashion as Eve was deceived, so too Satan approached Cain and planted the seed of discontent in his mind.
No murder had ever been committed before in the world but sacrifices have been done. And in the sacrificial process the throat of the animal is cut causing the animal to die. Cain knew this. Cain just rejected the sacrifice process which he was taught (probably by Adam), and refused to follow the proper sacrificial procedures. Thus God rejected Cain's substitutionary sacrifice.
Even though Moses documented the sacrificial process many thousands of years later, sacrifices have occurred since the time of Adam. Adam and Eve were given clothing of animal skins to replace their fig leaf clothes. The skins came obviously from killed animals. The killed animals came from the sacrificial processes which God taught Adam and Eve. They in turn would have taught their children.
Cain became angry when his sacrifice was rejected, and though he would not kill an animal, he would kill his brother. Thus is the contradiction, hypocrisy, and disobedience of the negative person. Both Cain and Abel knew of God, but Cain tried to approach God from his own self defined sacrifice.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. NASB
The sacrifices taught of the savior and of fellowship. See our study in Leviticus. Abel believed this and is indicated as such by his obedience to Gods instructions regarding the sacrifices. Cain did not believe and that is supported by his disobedience and refusal to follow Gods instructions regarding the sacrifices. The sacrifice in question here would be the burnt offering depicting the saving work of Christ on the Cross.
Cain was an unbeliever while Abel was a believer. Cain's work is an illustration of the inability of the unbeliever to produce divine love. An unbeliever can never produce spiritual phenomena. Even their good intentions fall far short of the standards which God has set.
Therefore, we are to love from a position of strength, spiritual strength. And we are to love, or have a proper attitude toward others from the environment of fellowship with God, not from some self defined environment of our own imagination. Anything which is not of God, is of the pattern which Satan has already defined from long ago.
Without Bible doctrine in our souls, then even good intentions will end up in extreme evil. And as John is addressing believers in this book, even believers who reject God and their spiritual life in whatever manner, are capable of imitating the thoughts and actions of unbelievers. So again, if you remain negative, then you can be your own worst enemy.
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End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.