“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacritfice than Cain did. By faith he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith” (Hebrews 11:4)
Genesis 4:8 tells us how Cain ultimately expressed his anger over the fact that God did not respect his offering…
“Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (Genesis 4:8).
Jesus provided us with some insight into that spiritual mindset when He said…
“…the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’…” (Mathew 15:18-20).
God warned Cain about the consequences that would follow his choices by saying, “…if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it” earlier in Genesis 4:6-7. Unfortunately, Cain chose to disregard that warning. In one sense, God continues to repeat this admonition to us through the pages of His Word. In addition to what we read here in Hebrews 11:4, the Biblical book of Galatians tells us…
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21 NLT).
Cain’s example reminds us that consequences are sure to follow our spiritual choices. While it may be easy to assume that those consequences are limited to the person making those choices, the truth is that they often affect others as well.
For instance, Abel’s death undoubtedly had an effect upon his parents, Adam and Eve. Remember that Cain and Abel were the first two children born to them. Now one of their children was gone. Thus, Adam and Eve knew the pain felt by a parent who outlives a son or daughter.
We should also remember that Cain was Adam and Eve’s first child. Like any good set of parents, they surely had great hopes for him. Unfortunately, Cain left a dreadful legacy, for the first person born in the history of humanity also became the first criminal in human history.