“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, ‘I have acquired a man from the LORD.’ Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.’ 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. Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?’ And He said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.’ And Cain said to the LORD, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son—Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad begot Mehujael, and Mehujael begot Methushael, and Methushael begot Lamech. Then Lamech took for himself two wives: the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah. And Adah bore Jabal. He was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal. He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute. And as for Zillah, she also bore Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron. And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.
Then Lamech said to his wives:
‘Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
Wives of Lamech, listen to my speech!
For I have killed a man for wounding me,
Even a young man for hurting me.
If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,
Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.’”
First of all, God taught Adam and Eve the gospel of righteousness by clothing them with tunics made of skin. This gospel is the Truth in which Adam and Eve would be granted salvation from all their sins by faith. Abel was a man who had inherited his parents’ true faith. Therefore, Abel’s faith also was approved by God when he offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat as sacrifice of faith to Him. Then, what sort of people are the seeds of Abel from a spiritual perspective? Descendants of Abel are those who offer sacrifice of faith, the faith of believing in the righteousness of God. These are the people whose faiths have been accepted by God and are those who have received the spiritual blessings of Heaven.
But, why didn’t God accept Cain’s offering? It was because Cain gave his sacrificial offering to God in his own way. For the sacrificial offering that Cain gave didn’t coincide with the sacrificial offering that was established in God’s providence of salvation, He didn’t accept it. People tend to think that it is okay to offer any sacrifice just so long as it is done with sincerity, but actually, that isn’t so. It is written in the Bible that Abel offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat. What this means is that we must go before God by having faith in the salvation He had completed for us.
What Sort of People Are the Descendants of Abel?
In today’s Scripture passage, the fact that two different offerings were mentioned, represented by Abel and Cain, means that two different spiritual lineages have been passed down from generation to generation. Descendants of Abel are those who have been offering sacrifices to God only by faith, believing in the gospel of Truth that God had told their ancestors of faith. In other words, they are those who offer sacrifices of faith to God by the faith of believing in the righteousness of God. They are those who have inherited Abel’s faith. As for us, we are also the descendants of Abel, if it is true that we have received the remission of sins by having faith in the sacrifices of redemption that God had set forth. They are those who have received the blessings of Heaven by offering sacrifices of faith.
But, the descendants of Cain are not like that. They are those who have offered sacrifices in their own fashion, having no concern with the wishes of God. As its result, they have been standing against the righteousness of God and brought upon themselves destruction and punishment of hell, in the end.
Cain offered sacrifice to God by taking the fruit of the ground as offerings according to his own thoughts, but Abel offered sacrifices to God by taking the firstborn of his flock and their fat, that is, by the faith of believing in the righteousness of God. If we were to compare the acts of these two men from a human perspective, Abel was no better than Cain. But, in light of the Truth of God, Abel who had faith in the righteousness of God was more honest and better than Cain.
Like this, the sacrifice by Cain offered with the fruit of the ground was a fleshly sacrifice, but in contrast, the sacrifice that Abel offered to God with the firstborn of his flock without blemish was a spiritual sacrifice. Abel’s sacrifice was offered by the faith of believing in the righteousness of God. Abel followed the faith of his parents and believed it as it was, so he offered the same sacrifice to God. The fat mentioned in the Scripture passage refers to none other than the Holy Spirit who is God. Adam and Eve were able to receive salvation from all their sins by having faith in the Word that God had perfectly blotted out their shame. God had killed a sacrificial offering for them and clothed both of them with tunics made of its skin. Their faith was the same as ours that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Abel inherited this faith from his parents. Therefore, if we were to believe in the righteousness of God now, then such faith is just like that of Abel. In order to save us from the sins of this world, Jesus had offered Himself as the eternal propitiation for all humankind. The firstborn of sheep becoming a sacrificial offering was for the purpose of taking on the sins of Adam and Eve as well as ours and dying on behalf of all humankind so as to recover the life that they had lost.
After the martyrdom of Abel, it is shown that Abel’s faith had cried out to God. “Dear God, I had faith in the fact that the Lord has saved me perfectly by offering the sacrifice made by sacrificing Himself. Is it not right for me to believe so? I believed according to Your Word but died having received persecution. Yet, was my faith not right?” Abel’s blood had cried out to God from the ground (Genesis 4:10). The fact is that the faith of Abel had been accepted by God.
What does the name ‘Abel’ mean? It literally means ‘breath,’ and it also means ‘vanity’ or ‘transitory.’ People who realize vanity and transience of life and yearn to receive salvation are the descendants of Abel, spiritually. By faith, they came to offer sacrifices with the firstborn of sheep and their fat, and those sacrifices were the foreshadowing of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
In place of Abel, God gave Adam and Eve, Seth, and Seth had a son, Enosh. The meaning of the name, ‘Enosh,’ is ‘mortal man.’ It tells us that those who accept the fact that they are ones who cannot but be destroyed due to their sins, would become children of God and recipients of the blessings of Heaven from God by having faith in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit which God had told their ancestors. Thus, the descendants of Cain are those who do not believe the righteousness of God and refuse it, but the blessed who have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are none other than the descendants of Abel and Enosh.
Even Now, Descendants of Abel and Descendants of Cain Coexist in This World
Descendants of Abel are those who believe in the Word of God, and descendants of Cain are those who believe in the words of this world. Who are the descendants of Abel? They are the ones who believe in the Word of God, like the sons of Adam, Seth, Enosh, Shem, and Abraham, as well as you and I who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, today. They are the ones whose faiths have been approved by God by their faith in the righteousness of God, realizing that they are fragile beings for they are fundamentally weak. Those who are the spiritual descendants of Abel are those who are all lacking and weak. On the other hand, the descendants of Cain are those who have strong will and are physically strong, but in the end, they have come to remain as those who go against God.
Descendants of Abel and Cain have continued to come down in this world. Descendants of Abel were the ones that had no choice but to die due to their sins if they were to not believe in the righteousness of God. They are the ones who accept the fact that they all are with many trespasses, only fitting to be cursed by God.
But, God does His work using the descendants of Abel who accept the fact that they are lacking, instead of the descendants of Cain who are full of their own self-righteousness. God spreads the gospel all over the world using the descendants of Abel. Through those who are lacking, God had made the faith of believing in the righteousness of God to continue to be spread. The faith of the descendants of Abel was handed down in such a manner.
You and I didn’t become the righteous because we are better than other people. By having faith in the righteousness of God, we were able to stand in the ranks of the righteous. Our salvation was possible not by gold and silver but by the faith of believing in the baptism Jesus Christ had received and the precious blood, which never perishes. Descendants of Abel had no choice but to believe in and rely on only the righteousness of God for they knew their lacking very well, but those who believe in and rely on only their power, pretending to be better and smarter in a physical sense will remain as descendants of Cain.
In this world, only those who properly realize the lacking and weakness of their flesh are able to stand in the ranks of Abel’s faith. Thus, all those who do not have their own righteousness of the flesh get to receive the precious blessings that come down from Heaven by having faith in the God-given righteousness of God. In other words, those who are rather weak in their flesh get to receive the blessings from God by having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. So long as people who have nothing to boast of in this world, nothing to rely on, and are weak, believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they are able to enter the ranks of the righteous, along with their ancestors of faith.
You shouldn’t complain about your parents of the flesh even if they did not leave a legacy to you. Rather, you have to be more thankful to them for having given you the chance to stand in the ranks of Abel’s descendants by leaving you neither wealth nor health. If your parents had left you great wealth and thus you were living without any want, would you have believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that contains the righteousness of God? It is easy for those who are great in this world to stand in the ranks of Cain’s descendants. If parents were to leave their children much wealth, it is more likely for their children to become descendants of Cain and be ruined spiritually, instead.
Long ago, there was a time when I had complained, “I could have lived well in this world if my parents of the flesh had left me just a little bit of wealth. As the saying goes, there has to be pasture to grow a herd of cows. I have nothing, so how can I even start a little business?” But after I was born again, I realized that God called upon the poor, the lacking, the neglected and the sick from this world, and He had them standing in the ranks of Abel’s faith. If we had been those with wealth and power in this world, we would now be standing in the ranks of Cain. I hope you realize that it is rather easier to stand in the ranks of Abel where we would be receiving the great blessings from Heaven when we do realize that we are a weak vessel, so easy to break. The reason why God had given us thorns and thistles in our journey of life was to have us realize our lacking and weakness so that we may return to God. We must realize and be thankful for this. We must realize that blessings of the flesh which those who are smarter, more prominent, and have more things from a human perspective aren’t truly the blessings of Heaven.
We are thankful to God for saving those of us who are vain, lacking, and mortal. When I was an infant, my parents had thought that I was going to die for I had been so weak. When I would die, they were going to throw me away, but I didn’t. My mother kept me alive by making thin rice soup, because her breasts were dry. Perhaps for that reason, when I grew up and greeted neighborhood elders with a bow, I heard them saying, “Oh my, you did survive and grew to be this big. Your parents did not even give you a name for years because they had thought that you were going die.”
It must have been similar when Abel or Enosh was born. When Cain was born, because the cries were strong and the body was stout, he was given the name ‘Cain,’ which means ‘possession.’ But when Abel and Enosh were born, for they seemed so weak and about to die, they were each named, ‘Abel,’ meaning ‘vanity,’ and ‘Enosh,’ meaning ‘one who breaks easily.’ But, Abel and Enosh, who had been like so, had received the blessing of salvation from God by having faith and relying on Him. I was also very weak, and so people had wondered if I would grow up doing the normal things as a man, but I have become one of the servants of God through His grace.
At our house, there are two puppies. One of them wobbles sickly. The other one is healthy, but this one does not gain weight no matter how much it eats. So, my heart goes out more to the one that is sickly. God also gives more love to those who are lacking. Among those around us, people who are lacking believe in the Word of God’s righteousness and rely on Him better. Thus, such people get saved and become children of God. If we were to look at people from the viewpoint of God, the wretched, the blind, the lame, the crippled, those who break easily, and those who are empty in their hearts get to receive God’s love much more. That is why it was said God is the God of Jacob. Esau was a hairy man, strong and a man of will. But Jacob was a man, weak and lacking.
Are You Standing in the Rank of Abel or in the Rank of Cain?
Are you someone spiritually in the ranks of Abel’s faith? If not, have you entered the ranks of Cain’s faith? In flesh and spirit, do you have something to boast? People who think they are better at many things are mostly prone to stand in the ranks of Cain by showing off their own righteousness rather than the righteousness of God. However, among those in this world who feel empty at heart, can only go on living by having received the grace of God for they are too weak, and can only go on living by relying on the righteousness of God, there are many who enter the ranks of Abel spiritually. Thus, it is difficult for those who have many things to boast in terms of flesh to receive spiritual blessings.
People get to receive spiritual blessings only by believing in the righteousness of God. People who have the faith of believing in the righteousness of God not only receive the blessings for themselves, but also, they help many others to receive the same blessings by guiding them to the pathway toward spiritual salvation. But, people of the flesh who do not know how precious spiritual blessing is seek only the values of this world, boasting that they are great.
You should thank God for your lacking and weaknesses. But, if you still think that you have many things to boast in terms of the flesh, please look at yourself objectively and discover properly how weak and lacking you are. In fact, for all human beings, each one of them has nothing in terms of the flesh to boast. How could a person have something to show off in flesh before God? We have nothing to show off. Those who are truly great are those who have the faith of believing in the righteousness of God and spread it. Without Christ, there is nothing for us to boast.
Prior to being born again, the Apostle Paul considered himself to be someone really fine. But after having met the Lord, he realized his true self and accepted how wretched he was. He had realized that everything he had boasted in the past were all not even as worthy as garbage before the Truth of the Lord. Thus, he said he had now come to consider all things that were previously beneficial to him as waste (Philippians 3:7-8). Paul was someone who had many things of the flesh to boast. And so, when he was asked to say things of the flesh to boast, he was able to say, “[I was] circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:5-6). Yet, he honestly looked at himself from a spiritual perspective and concluded by saying, “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep” (1 Corinthians 11:30). I hope for you to also realize your own lacking before God.
Just as Cain and Abel went forth each with a different offering, people with two different types of faith are living in this world, and the results of their faiths differ from each other completely. One group of people receives blessings, but the other group is accursed even though they believe in God. From the beginning, people in line with the ranks of Cain had rejected and went against God’s righteousness. However, people in line with the ranks of Abel had accepted and believed in the righteousness of God, and God accepts their faith.
People in line with the ranks of Cain build a city for themselves. Cain fortified a defense wall with his own power so that enemies would not be able to attack. He did so because he had believed in his own power rather than God.
But, people in line with the ranks of Abel believe in the righteousness of God and rely only on God because they know they are lacking. It is because they believe that only God protects them from all dangers and gives blessings. Are our hearts in line with the ranks of Abel’s faith? Or, are they in line with the ranks of Cain’s faith? We must examine this carefully. And, if we want to receive blessings from God, we must stand in the ranks of Abel’s faith. We must believe in the righteousness of God, and by faith, we must follow the righteousness of God. In contrast, if we were to not believe in the righteousness of God and go against the righteousness of God with our own power, we would automatically be standing in the ranks of Cain. The line where we must stand is in the ranks of Abel’s faith. God gives divine blessings of Heaven to those who are in line with the ranks of Abel, believing in the righteousness of God.
Cain Moved Further away from God
Cain was moving further and further away from God. Thus, his descendants were also further removed from the blessing of having faith in the righteousness of God. In today’s Scripture passage, the lineage of Cain’s descendants is shown, and among his descendants, Lamech said he had killed a man for wounding him. God said that if Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.
Like this, the hearts of descendants of Cain became as persistently stubborn as possible and as evil as possible, and became as further distant from the righteousness of God as possible. Why did they move further away from God? If we look for its root cause, we are able to see that it resulted from the sacrifice of faith that their common ancestor, Cain, had brought a wrong offering to God. It is written that Cain had offered the fruit of the ground as a sacrifice but Abel had offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat. Hence, it was the offering of the fruit of the ground that had him and his descendants be further removed from the righteousness of God. Cain didn’t realize then that he would be moved so distant from the righteousness of God because of the erroneous faith offered to God; he had offered the fruit of the ground as an offering to God with sincerity and best effort using all his strength, but he didn’t realize that because of that he would become an enemy against the righteousness of God.
However, Cain’s erroneous faith had made him be completely distant from the righteousness of God so as to making him not be able to come back. For just once, had Cain bent his stubbornness before God, he would also have been able to receive blessings. If Cain had watched God accepting the sacrifice that his younger brother Abel had offered and made up his mind saying, “Like Abel, I must also offer a sacrifice that God finds joy in,” he would not have become enemies with God, and also, he would have been able to live well together with his brother by faith. But, he couldn’t do so because of the stubbornness unwilling to break his own pride due to too much self-righteousness. The fact is that Cain became further removed from God because he hadn’t acknowledged his own evils and faults.
Why Are Today’s Christians Moving Further away from the Righteousness of God?
Because people even now are bringing God erroneous offerings of faith, they are moving further and further away from God. If people reject the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that reveals the righteousness of God, they become further removed from the righteousness of God. People tend to think; “It is okay for me to have faith in God with my whole heart. Why would I be moving further away from God just because I do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit?” But in truth, not having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is a shortcut to moving far away from the righteousness of God. People remain on the seat of the curse due to their sins because they resist the gospel of the water and the Spirit that contains the righteousness of God.
People become distant from God because they do not believe and reject the gospel of the water and the Spirit that manifests the righteousness of God. Thus, whoever it may be, one must know the gospel of the Truth that contains the righteousness of God. Aren’t there so many people who are putting forth all their various efforts for they want to be close to God? People desperately try to be close to God by putting forth truly various efforts, such as, early morning prayers, fasting and prayers, mountain prayers, overnight prayers, social services, mission works, fund-raising activities, bazaars, and so on. However, because people do not believe in and reject the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they become further removed from the Holy God. As for those of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we would also become further removed from God unless we stay close to this gospel of righteousness. Drawing close to God is drawing near to Jesus Christ by having faith in Him who has come by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and if one were to stay distant from the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel of the Truth, in the end, one would be moving further away from Jesus Christ.
Therefore, workers of the gospel must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and spread it as often as possible. It is because the thing that links God and people is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If we were to cherish the righteousness of God, we would be living closer to Him. For those of us who were sinners to be closer to God, it lies in us having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in which the righteousness of God is contained. If we were to not believe in this gospel and offer sacrifices to God with the fruit of the ground, then from that moment on, we would be severed from God. The fruit of the ground refers to everything that comes out from human flesh; that is, one’s thoughts, one’s righteousness, one’s will, one’s zeal, one’s stubbornness, one’s sacrifice, and so on are all the fruit of the ground.
The thing that makes us keep close to God is the gospel of the water and the Spirit, while the thing that moves people further away from God is the offering of the fruit of the ground. Cain didn’t realize how greatly wrong it was to try to be accepted by God with his own thoughts, diligence, and effort. However, if anyone should want to stay close to God, wouldn’t it be the case that all one has to do is to realize one’s own mistaken faith and turn around from it? In order for a person to revert back from his or her mistaken faith, one has to believe in the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit and come inside the Lord. However, because Cain didn’t admit his mistake even after having seen God not accepting his faith, he departed from God in the end.
One would be leading a life afar from the righteousness of God if the person were to not spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit even after having received the remission of sins. It is possible that even those of us who are born-again could seek the desires of the flesh more. If we do so, we would not be able to unite with God’s will. If we do not stay close to the gospel of the water and the Spirit and neglect spreading it, we will spiritually degenerate. The offering that moves us away from God is the offering of the fruit of the ground, but the offering that makes us be closer to God is the sacrificial offering of the firstborn of the flock and their fat.
Cain hit his brother Abel to death. Why did he kill his brother, whom he should have loved? It was because Cain had believed that his offering was more proper than that of Abel. It means that he believed that going forth before God by bringing his own righteousness was the proper way to receive God’s approval. So he was displeased even by the fact God had not accepted his offering. He bullied his younger brother. “From next time, offer God offerings with the fruit of the ground, just like me, your older brother. Why do you offer sacrifices according to your own wish? Wouldn’t He accept our offerings if we were to offer Him the same things?
Cain told Abel as such, but because his younger brother didn’t listen to him, he killed his brother. If the younger brother had listened to him well, would Cain have killed him? Why would he kill his beloved younger brother? He was the only blood relative below him.
But, Abel’s faith was firm. “Dear older brother, when mother and father committed sin before God, how did God save them from sin? Look at this tunic cloth. Isn’t it the case that salvation was gained by that sacrificial offering? Wasn’t it said that the sacrificial offering took on the sins of our mother and father and died in their place? Isn’t it true that we commit sins also? If so, shouldn’t we also go forth before God by bringing the firstborn of our flock as a sacrificial offering so as to receive the remission of sins? Dear older brother, the sacrifice you are offering to God is wrong. You must change it. Also, you must not be stubborn before God. Dear brother! I will listen to whatever else you have to say. Do you want me to help you with your farming? Whatever you say, I will do it for you. But, the sacrifice that I offer God is at least proper. Let us offer sacrifice to God just like so, you and I together.” Do you think that the younger brother Abel didn’t say that?
Because Cain couldn’t break his own righteousness, while they were in the field, he struck his younger brother Abel to death. Dear fellow believers, why did Cain kill Abel in the field and not at his home? It was because he had to be far away from their mother and father to carry out the act. In other words, at the time, Adam, Eve and Abel were making up the church of God. But, a member of the Church got murdered when he was outside the Church together with man who wasn’t a born-again person. In chapter 3 of the Book of Genesis, an event in which the serpent had killed Eve spiritually when she was staying away from Adam is written. If you also don’t want to get killed spiritually, you must unite with the Church, obey its commands, and receive its protection, always.
Anyone who wants to acquire the blessing of everlasting life and go to Heaven must believe in Jesus Christ, who is the embodiment of the firstborn of sheep, as the Savior, and offer proper sacrifice to God by faith. That is, one must receive the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This faith is the necessary faith for a person to receive salvation from sin. Cain went to hell because he didn’t have such faith, and by that faith, Abel went to Heaven.
How does a person, who had been severed from God due to one’s own sins, receive the remission of sins? The person receives the remission of sins through one lamb. Because Cain had resisted such offering of faith, his sins started to mount up. At first, Cain became far away from God because of the false sacrifice by which he could not receive the remission of sins. Secondly, he became more distant from God for he could not discard his own thoughts. And, in the end, because of such false faith, he ended up striking his brother to death.
Cain was in hiding after having struck his younger brother to death, and God asked Cain, “Cain, where is your brother?” Cain answered challengingly, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God said, “The blood of your brother cries out from the ground. Yet, you say you don’t know? I know you had struck your brother to death with a stone, and do you say that you don’t know anything about him? The earth received the blood of your brother and is crying out to Me. I mean your conscience is crying out to Me. Isn’t your heart telling Me that you have killed your brother? Do you think I don’t know? Do you think you can hide that fact?” Cain answered, “But, he is already dead, so what can I do? God, you are pressing hard on me, and my punishment is greater than I can bear. Surely, You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.”
From then on, Cain became fearful of his family and people. Now in truth, Cain became enemies with his parents and became a person whom everyone avoided. You ask how could there be other people during that time. Adam and Eve didn’t give birth to only Cain and Abel. Having lived 930 years, Adam had a child after a child. His children had children of their own and the number of people started to grow exponentially.
If you also do not accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you will receive the judgment for sins and go to hell as the wages for your sins. Because of sins in his spirit, Cain could only become a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth. Also, fearing that other people would kill him, he came to live amid fear of death. If so, wasn’t it enough for him to surrender to God and revert back? Cain would have received the remission of sins if he had reverted, thinking, “I was wrong to have killed my younger brother. I also was wrong to have not believed in God by the faith that my brother had. To have offered the fruit of the ground to God was wrongful in itself. I must turn around,” and brought a lamb and said, “This lamb was killed as a sacrifice instead of myself. So, please allow me to receive the remission of sins, just as my brother had.” But, Cain did not do so.
However, God called Cain again and gave him a mark of salvation so that even Cain would be able to receive the remission of sins. It means that God gave Cain the mark of salvation, that is, the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which says, “I have even blotted out your sin of having committed a murder.” But, Cain went out from the presence of the Lord God in the end and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. The land that he dwelt was a land where one has to wander. Cain was the representative of accursed life in which people would bear all their sins themselves and get destroyed. Even now, the descendants of Cain say, “If I have to go to hell, I will go. Why be fearful?”
Children of Cain Became Carnal in the End
Cain left God and slept together with his wife. Thus, he had Enoch, and Enoch begot Irad, and Irad begot Mehujael, and Mehujael begot Methushael, and Methushael begot Lamech. Then, Lamech took Adah as his wife and had Jabal and Jubal, and Jabal is said to have become the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. Life of a human being starts with taking care of food, clothing, and shelter. Also, his younger brother Jubal became the father of all those who play the harp and flute, and this means that people who have departed far away from God seek pleasure next, after having resolved the problems of food, clothing, and shelter.
Lamech’s second wife Zillah gave birth to Tubal-Cain. He was an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron. It means that he was a blacksmith. It means that he was the father of those who make swords and spears by heating metal with fire. With these three men, the civilization of humankind arose. Through the children of Cain, cultures of war, pleasure, and farming began. All humanity tries to resolve the problems of food, clothing, and shelter first of all. When food, clothing, and shelter are taken care of, they seek pleasure. When pleasure becomes prevalent, wars arise. How does humanity, which has denied the gospel, get destroyed? They get destroyed through wars. Ultimately, the history of humankind will mark its end through war. God is telling us that the history of humanity, which has denied the gospel, began like that and will come to an end like so.
People who have left the gospel of the water and the Spirit kill people because of their wounded hearts. They always tend to think that others have inflicted his wounds. Thus, they kill people to pay it back, and they justify such act of murder. They make an excuse for their sins saying, “I had no other choice but to do so,” and they go against God ceaselessly. As a result, they become as far away from God as possible and end up in hell. The curse of their perverse life lies in the fact that they had kept away from the gospel. Like this, people go to hell because they had kept away from the gospel.
For those of us who have received the grace of God, we must put all our efforts into tending sheep. If we want to do ministry work, we must put all our efforts into the spreading of the gospel. We must lead a life befitting to the gospel. We can only do so. We are not blacksmiths, and we are neither someone who plays flute nor someone who tries to take care of food, clothing and shelter. With the life that God has given us, we must do the work of tending sheep along with the people of God. Jesus spoke to Peter. He asked, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?” And said, “Feed My lambs,” and “Tend My sheep” (John 21:15-17). All the Saints who are born-again are shepherds spiritually.
People who are close to God are those who have accepted the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we must do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). This is why we spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit, pursue this gospel, and do the work of serving this gospel. Doing the work of serving the gospel is to be familiar with God. Do you understand the fact that to accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit is to accept the righteousness of God and to draw closer to God? Do you now realize that staying away from the gospel of the water and the Spirit is staying away from God and that it is also an act that leads to damnation? People who have denied the gospel of the water and the Spirit are all who stand against God. Like this, there is such a great difference between the result for those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and that for those who do not. I hope you remember that whether or not one believes and accepts the gospel of the water and the Spirit becomes a diverging point between blessing and curse. In this hour, we have come to understand the power and the blessing of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Love of God Wanting to Save Even Cain
“Cain, I have blotted out even the sins you have committed. So, you are without sin.” As such, God gave even Cain the Word as the mark of salvation. But, Cain didn’t believe in the Word and left God. The reason why Cain left God was not because he had committed many sins but because he had refused the Word of God. Also, the curse fell upon him because he had refused God’s love.
In this world, spiritually there are two types of people: These are the Abel family and the Cain family. Their characters are determined according to their occupation. Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd tending sheep. If we don’t cherish the gospel of the water and the Spirit, do not spread that gospel, in other words, if we do not lead a life of a shepherd tending sheep, we will end up becoming a farmer like Cain again. I have seen many people move far away from God after having believed in the gospel of the righteousness of God at first. I wonder, “That man used to have the gospel and was in high places. But, as time passed by, how could he have moved so far away from the gospel of the righteousness of God like that?”
I have read a book written by a preacher who once preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but it was far too terrible. I couldn’t find even a single line in the book declaring the true gospel. There was no trace of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Why did that man become so? Did he become so because he had sinned more than we did? Is it because he didn’t learn the Bible as much as we did? No, it isn’t. He had become such a person because he had been keeping distance from the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In other words, he had followed the way of Cain. He hasn’t served the souls; he has just served his own flesh just like Cain had tilled the ground.
Who would have known that following the faith of Cain would bring him such a result? Who would have known that the divergent point between Heaven and hell lies in this single Truth, the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Who in this world would have known this Truth which says that no matter how lacking one may be if he or she were to offer before God just one sacrificial lamb by faith, the person would go to Heaven by faith and receive all the blessings of God? But our God had us possess Heaven by making us know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And God has now allowed us to live for this gospel of the Truth as a shepherd of God’s sheep in His Church.
We must know clearly how precious the gospel of the water and the Spirit is. This genuine gospel had us be born again as the righteous, and made us enjoy the everlasting life in Heaven by making us the children of God. This gospel has blotted out all our sins, and as a result, the Holy Spirit has come inside us. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the gospel Truth that was accomplished by Jesus Christ. This gospel is the gospel of salvation fulfilled according to God’s plan, and it is the gospel of blessing given to all humankind. Thus, we must realize the fact that to distance ourselves from the gospel of the water and the Spirit is to distance ourselves from God. We the born-again are now living in order to spread this gospel. I give thanks before the Lord who has allowed us to receive the remission of sin by giving us the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Dear fellow believers, keep close to the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Do not keep away from it. If you unite with the church of God, you can be close to the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Such admonishment can never be enough. Why? It is because inside the gospel of the water and the Spirit there is God, everlasting life, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Truth that enables us to be saved. What we always need is Jesus Christ, whether we are at peace or in trouble. When you stay close to the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you can get to serve the church of God and to spread the gospel. Care for and raise brothers and sisters who are spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Live for the spreading of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Serve the gospel. If you do so, God will grant you everything that He had promised. Cherish the gospel and obey God’s will in serving the gospel.
We Get to Receive Blessings When We Unite with the Righteousness of God
People who possess the gospel of the water and the Spirit have no sin inside their heart and get to enjoy everlasting life; but those who do not have the gospel of the water and the Spirit have sin inside their heart and get to receive the judgment. The former know that they have no sin in their hearts. In contrast, the latter know that they have sins in their hearts, that the judgment awaits them, and that they will go to hell.
The devil tells us to discard the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But if we were to lose the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we would be losing everything. When God created us, He had decided to recreate us in His grace of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Dear brothers and sisters, when you are serving the Lord, consider the gospel precious. Live out your faith inside the gospel. Life without the gospel of the water and the Spirit is a shortcut to curse and destruction. But, if we are together with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we will be blessed. If we walk together with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, all our pathways will open wide. I hope for you to know this principle clearly. It mustn’t be the case that you do not know this. Moreover, you mustn’t be deceived by false gospels. If we do have the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it is the same that we possess everything.
When they were in the field, Cain struck his younger brother Abel to death. Then, he buried his brother in the ground. No one knew Cain had killed Abel. Not even Adam and Eve knew. But, when God appeared before Cain and said, “Cain, where is Abel your brother?” Cain answered, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain’s heart was filled with defiance. In the past, he had no reluctance in seeing God. But now, for his heart was inscribed with sin and thus, became an accursed heart, Cain thought he could no longer do so.
For those whose hearts are united with the will of God, blessings and peace come inside their hearts. However, the heart of those who are not united with God will become atrocious and be cursed. God wanted for Cain to also kill a lamb and offer it to Him, and thus, receive the remission of sins. But, Cain went against the will of God, did not unite his heart with God, stayed stubborn, and killed his brother. And so, sin came to be in his heart. And, because of that sin, he was destined to be cursed. He also came to realize that. As for those who do not unite with God, their hearts get accursed first and then become desolate. And, sins get written in their hearts. Adam and Eve became sinners because they did not believe in the Word of God, and even Cain could receive the remission of sins by offering a young lamb to God. But, he became a complete sinner because he did not share his heart with such will of God. In truth, if we do not unite with God, we become sinners, but if we do unite with God’s gospel of the water and the Spirit, we get to receive the remission of sins and become the righteous.
As children of Adam, they were born as sinners, but Cain and Abel didn’t realize that they were sinners prior to having offered sacrifice to God. But after having offered sacrifice to God, because Cain stayed stubborn and rejected the remission of sins given by God, he became a real sinner. God said to Cain, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.” The ground refers to the hearts of people. To whom do sins in Cain’s heart bring a lawsuit against him? Cain’s conscience brings a lawsuit against Cain to God. “You have sinned. You have killed your own younger brother. How can there be anyone else like you? You are evil. You are a murderer. You have committed a great sin.” The sins of Cain’s heart sued him and brought it to God for his murder had slandered God and also reprimanded his conscience.
For Cain did not unite with the God-given Truth of the remission of sins, he had become a complete sinner. God had already given Adam and Eve the gospel with which they could receive the remission of sins, and He also gave it to their children. But while the younger brother became a righteous person by believing in it, Cain remained a sinner because he did not unite his heart with the will of God. This person Cain represents all the evil people who reject the righteousness of God.
How do people become evil sinners before God? If they do not unite their hearts with the gospel of the water and the Spirit that brings the remission of sins to them, they will remain evil sinners. Receiving salvation from God has nothing to do with one’s own merits or demerits. Jesus Christ blotted out all our sins by the baptism He had received and by the blood of the Cross. And we get to receive salvation by uniting our hearts with it. If we accept it by saying, “Lord, You have blotted out all my sins like so by the gospel of the water and the Spirit,” and if we believe in it, we get to receive the remission of sins, and also, we get to become the righteous. If we were to unite with that gospel like so, there would be no sin in our hearts. Yet, if we do not unite our hearts with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the sins will remain intact.
Between these two sons here, Abel and Cain, their salvation had nothing to do with their deeds. Who had acted properly before God and who had obeyed their parents better did not matter. Rather, from the view of the flesh, Cain might have practiced filial piety better and have done things better. For he was serving God with the fruit of the ground, you could imagine how good he was to his parents. A person becoming either a sinner or a righteous one gets determined by whether or not he or she has united his or her heart with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, which God had given us. Then, with what should we unite our hearts? We unite our hearts by faith with the gospel of the water and the Spirit in which the righteousness of God shown.
The Gospel of the Water and the Spirit Is Like This
Our Lord came to this earth and took on our sins once and for all by receiving the baptism. Then, He died hung up on the Cross and resurrected from the dead. Jesus had received the baptism from John the Baptist having said, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Our sins had passed over to Jesus once and for all at that moment. Thus, the death of Jesus Christ has become my death, and His resurrection has become my resurrection. We get to receive the remission of sins by believing in this gospel Truth with our hearts. If we unite our hearts with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we get to receive the remission of sins.
On the contrary, if we do not unite our hearts with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we cannot escape from the state of being sinners, and like Cain, we will more and more become evil sinners. What did God say to Cain? He said, “When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth” (Genesis 4:12). This was the curse on Cain. In the hearts of those who do not unite their hearts with the righteousness of God, the gospel of God, only curse would fill inside them. Such people not only inflict the curse onto themselves, but they make others to be accursed also.
Here in Genesis 4:12, God said, “When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” No matter how much one endeavors, leads a life of religion, live ardently, do good deeds, live virtuously, and diligently earn money, the person will not be able to earn money and leading a life of religion will be in vain, despite it all. Foremost, such person can never be the righteous. People who do not unite their hearts with the gospel will not be able to receive fleshly blessings. Not only that, their hearts will never become a blessed heart, despite the fact that they diligently lead a life of religion, offer prayers of repentance, ardently do good deeds, and so on. They did work so hard, but they did not become rich. This is what this passage means.
There isn’t anyone who wants to be poor. Thus, people work diligently. But things don’t go well in spite of their wishes. Why? It means that a sinner will go to an eternally damned hell after having lived an accursed life because the person had been accursed before God for not having united his or her heart with God. Sinners who do not believe in the righteousness of God get accursed before God like so.
Isn’t it difficult for people to go on living? On average, there are many people who have nothing to eat tomorrow if they do not work right away today. There aren’t that many people who go on living without worrying over living expenses. God said, “The ground shall no longer yield its strength to you.” There is no yielding of strength. It means that everything becomes void no matter how hard a person tries. This is the curse for those who do not unite their hearts with the God-given gospel of the remission of sins.
When we see Cain from a fleshly point of view, he seemed to have done nothing especially wrong. However, the cause of his curse was that he didn’t unite his heart with the works of salvation that God had done for him. For his heart wasn’t rejoicing the righteousness of God, he had killed his younger brother, who had united his heart with God. Thus, if anyone wants to be cursed by God, all one has to do is not to unite with the gospel Truth. In doing so, the person would be cursed with death.
And, he would also be cursed with not being able to live in one place for a long time, as it was said, “A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” It means that he cannot live having settled in one place. It means that he would live here now and then there later, wandering around. For those who do not actually unite with God, they cannot be satisfied by whatever they do, and because they cannot place their hearts in anything, they go on living their entire life in the midst of such curses, often changing their jobs, often going through divorces, and often moving their homes.
Minister Choi of Pocheon Church, who is now serving the gospel well as a servant of God, was making a living as a forklift operator before he received the remission of sins. He had bought a backhoe on the installment plan and had worked very hard every day to pay off the debt every month. But, debts here and there were not lessened. Thus, during winter when there was no work, making a living just had seemed forlorn.
Yet, after having become a worker of the gospel, see what a happy life he now leads? Of course, even now, he works diligently to serve the gospel. But the fact is that now all his efforts are not in vain but rather it had the effect of all heaping in Heaven. In the past, even though he had worked so very hard, the ground did not yield its strength to him, but now, he is able to lead a precious life of spreading the gospel all over the world by serving the Church and sending material goods to the Head Office of our mission organization with much profit made by working even just a little bit.
People whose hearts have sins are fearful. Cain was fearful and agonized for he felt people would kill him for his sins. Because anyone who is not born-again has sins in his or her heart, the heart feels fear, should the person not unite with the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit by heart, nor have faith. The person would live under a feeling of getting victimized, as if someone would kill or harm him or her. If we do not unite with the Truth, it doesn’t end there with just not doing so, but rather, such curses will not cease to pour. However, on the contrary, people who have united their hearts together with the love of God’s Truth will receive such a great blessing. For this reason we must unite with God. Do you understand? If God were an evil God to us, there would be no need to unite, but because He is so merciful and good, there is no reason why we shouldn’t unite with Him. If a person is reluctant to unite with God, the person must be thickheaded. What I am trying to say is that if a person has a normal mind, what reason could there possibly be for him or her to not unite with God like Abel?
It is written, “And Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” And the LORD said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him” (Genesis 4:13-15).
God gave Cain a chance, saying, “I have blotted out all your sins and trespasses. Share together with My Word of the Truth once more. If you come to be in such a state by not having united the first time, then try to unite once again.” But, what did this person do in the end? Cain went from the presence of God and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. It means that he had lived a life of a fugitive after having left God. Cain is the representative of such people who do not unite their hearts with God. Among all the people living on this earth, those who haven’t received the blessing from God are people similar to this person, Cain.
In God, there are salvation, blessing, everlasting life, good guidance, and love. All things are prepared there. All we have to do is to just believe in God and follow the Church by uniting our hearts with Him. Cain is the representative who did not accept all such grace and did not unite his heart together with God.
Some preachers misinterpret today’s Scripture passage by saying, “God did not accept because Cain had offered the fruit of the ground that were not useful, that is, wastes, instead of offering sacrifices with sincerity.” This is not the case. From the anger Cain had shown when God did not accept his offerings, we could see that he had offered the fruit of the ground that were of the finest quality: Even though he offered the best of what he had gained through his efforts, because God did not accept them and also because his younger brother told him that his offering was wrong, he became fuming with frustration so as to kill his younger brother. We must realize that it is a sin to not unite with God and also, to not walk by faith.
We Who Believe in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit Also Do Many Wrong Things in Life
This is true. However, we do not die because of our wrongdoings. It is because we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God said to Cain, “Whoever kills you, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. I will set a mark on you, so that you may avoid anyone killing you.” What is that mark? It is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God actually gave him the mark of salvation. Thus, He made it so that no one can meet and strike down Cain. What kind of mark did God also give you and me? He gave us the mark of salvation that enables us to receive the remission of sins. He gave us the Word of the water and the Spirit. Now, therefore, no one—not even the devil or any other people—can do anything about the righteous.
However, we have an evil heart that does not want to unite with God. But, because the Lord has blotted out even that sin of not wanting to unite with Him so that we may unite with God again, all we have to do is to unite with Him once again. If we just unite our hearts together with Him by saying, “Dear God, I have truly done wrong. You are right. The Lord did make it so. He has completely blotted out even that sin of mine. He has completely blotted out even that sin which I had committed due to my lacking. When Jesus received the baptism, all my sins were passed over to Him at that moment. I do believe in Him,” relationship with the Lord gets restored, sharing communion with Him becomes possible, and we get to receive abundant blessings from Him.
But, Cain left without having accepted this mark by heart until the end, departed from Him, and dwelt in the land of Nod. What happens if one does not unite with God to the end? A complete curse falls up on that person. There are many times when we the righteous go wrong, but we must never become like Cain. If we unite with the God-given gospel once more by recognizing our wrongdoings and reverting back, all blessings of God become ours again. We must realize how important that we should unite with the righteousness of God is. By uniting with the gospel of the righteousness of God, we get to receive the remission of sins, receive blessings, and live a blessed life. But, if we don’t unite, we get cursed, become children of the devil, go through such hardship even on this earth, and in the end, go to hell. Therefore, I hope you realize that this union is so very important. Although the Lord has already blotted out all our sins, if we do not share our hearts with this Word of the Truth, we cannot have faith in this Truth. If we do unite, it does become possible for us to believe in the Truth. Even now, many people bring upon themselves the curse and go to hell because they do not unite with this God-given gospel by heart like Cain.
I have seen many miserable people who had lived like Cain. Even now, I see them. What do you want to do? Do you want to unite your hearts with the gospel or do you want to go against it? If you do unite, all the blessings of God are yours. But if you go against it, all the curses of God will be poured upon you. It will surely be so. If you have united with God by heart, you have already received all the blessings, even though they cannot be seen with your eyes. When the time comes, all such blessings will be realized. As for those who haven’t united with God by heart, even though the curses haven’t yet been brought about in front of their eyes right now, the curses will come one by one as time passes by. Thus, how frightening and marvelous is this Word? All the things the Lord had said will be realized right down to the last period mark. This is the truth. Those who do not unite with God will be destroyed. Therefore, we must unite with God.
It is said that long ago when ascetics sitting inside their houses said, “Oh! There is someone coming three miles away,” that person came within an hour without fail. It is like the saying, “Believe it or not.” However, we the righteous know with true clarity, whether a person will receive what sort of a blessing or whether the other person will receive what sort of a curse. We can say, “That person is someone who will continue to live being cursed,” and “That person, though lacking, will receive blessings.” These things are clear to our eyes of faith. How do we know? We know because the Word of God says so.
In front of us there lies a pathway to blessing and another toward curse. But what I am trying to say is that if it is possible, why don’t we take the road to blessing and thus live with blessings by faith instead of being cursed by insisting on not uniting with God. If our hearts have wronged, all we have to do is revert back, and if our hearts become too proud to follow God, all we have to do is to break them. So, I am saying why do we not break them? One’s thoughts are not always right. Rather, because our thoughts are always evil, it is easy for them to make us the enemy of God. Wasn’t Cain like that? Those who will be cursed do not unite with God.
Did Ishmael get cursed also? Abraham begot Isaac and Ishmael, but while Isaac received blessings, Ishmael was accursed. Why? It is because Isaac was the son of promise while Ishmael was the son of flesh; the former was the son of the gospel while the latter was the son of the Law (Galatians 4:22-25).
Dear fellow believers, even though we may be lacking, let us unite our hearts with God. Though we may be lacking, if we do unite, we will live in God’s blessings, but if we do not unite, we will surely die in His curse. I hope for you to unite with God. I also want to unite with the Lord more closely. Do you wish to unite? You must unite with the gospel. God has already remitted all the lacking of your deeds. Jesus has completed all the righteousness by receiving the baptism and dying on the Cross. And then, by resurrecting, He became the Savior of all those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
What Is the Good and Evil That God Speaks of?
“And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell” (Genesis 4:3-5).
When people go before God they bring the fruit of the ground or things that have been given by God. If anyone should try to go before God with their own deeds or righteousness, they will surely be cursed. God did not respect Cain and his sacrifice. Thus, Cain became angry, so much so that his countenance fell. Why did Cain become angry to the point where his countenance fell? He was angry because he thought, “I did so well, and I have done no wrong. Yet, why didn’t God accept my sacrifice? Surely, I offered sacrifice much better than Abel.” He was saying that he was right and God was wrong. That is why he was angry.
But God said, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.” Here, God speaks of good. What would be the true good that we could carry out before God? It would be having faith in the work of God, the fact that Jesus Christ, who is the Firstborn of sheep, has blotted out all our sins. The good work is to believe in our hearts all the works of the righteousness God has done to save us by coming to this earth, receiving the baptism by which He took on all our sins, dying on the Cross to pay for the wages of those sins, and resurrecting from the dead. It is our most virtuous deed to have faith in the work in itself that Jesus, who is God, had done by coming to this earth in human flesh. Furthermore, God did all those works in order to save us, but for us to ignore the work that God had done instead of believing in it is evil. Good is not offering lots of things before God; but rather, the true good is having faith in the works that Jesus had done to save us.
Human beings, who have gained their own standards for what is good and what is evil by having eaten the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, discern good and evil with their own relative standards. However, for all human beings coming down from their sinful and corrupt ancestor Adam, there is no fundamental good in actuality. That is why even the Bible says, “As it is written:
‘There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one’” (Romans 3:10-12).
The standards of good and evil in a human society change with societies and time. It means that a virtue in a certain society is a vice in another. Thus, what it means is that such virtues are something relative and not based on the Word of the Truth.
Only God is good. That is why our true virtue lies in accepting the work that God had done. God the Father sent us His only begotten Son in order to save us. And, He passed over all our sins to that Son. Then, by passing the judgment on the Son instead of passing the judgment on us, He has blotted out all our sins and saved us. And so, God the Father has saved us through His Son. Therefore, for us to take into our hearts the work that the Son of God had done is to carry out virtue before God. That is what good is.
Genuine virtue isn’t doing lots of good deeds and it isn’t serving God well in our own way. Rather, completely accepting the work that God had done for us, that is, the fact that God has saved us, is in turn retuning the grace of God, as well as doing good before God. Do you understand the concept of good and evil? Here, God clearly tells us the concept of good and evil. What is true good? The fact is that getting saved by accepting the work of salvation God had done in its entirety, that is, accepting the love of God, is what good is.
What Is the Proper Faith?
Let’s take an example. Let us say you have a servant. This servant committed a sin and is now about to receive the death penalty. However, let us say that because you so loved this servant, in order to save him, you sent your only begotten son to the executioner in his place, and he saved this servant by taking over the sins of the servant there, receiving the judgment, and then dying vicariously for the servant’s sake. Yet, if it were the case that this servant does not believe in the salvation you have fulfilled through your son, how would you feel when you face that servant? For you, the master, good is for the servant to receive the salvation that your son has accomplished, that is, for the servant to accept your love. Do you see what this story is trying to say? The true good that God speaks of is for us to accept God’s love with a deep feeling of gratitude like so.
However, Cain did not accept God’s love as is, and instead, he thought that offering his own merits to God was what good is. That is why God reproached him by saying, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:7). God was saying something like this: “Why are you so angry? If there were good in what you had done, why would I not accept your offerings? When your parents committed the sin, I saved them by preventing them from receiving the judgment by killing an animal for the wages of their sins and having them wear its skin. Did you not commit sin? If so, shouldn’t you have come forth with the firstborn of sheep like Abel? Shouldn’t you have offered Me a sacrificial offering of faith by bringing before Me a sacrifice for the offering according to what I had taught you and saying, ‘For the sake of my death, this animal was killed like so’? Isn’t it the case that you should come before Me by believing as is in the way of salvation and the sacrifice of salvation that I had given you? Isn’t receiving the salvation like that what good is all about? Isn’t it a fact that Jesus, the Firstborn of sheep, suffered the death of redemption in order to save you? Isn’t this what good is? Isn’t this true salvation?”
But Cain said, “I will not do as my younger brother did—bringing a lamb, placing hands on its head, splitting its belly, and then offering it to God. Oh no, I will do no such thing. Please God, look. Please take a look at my forearms,” and then, piling up high on a big, wide stone things he had gathered from farming, such as potatoes, yams, corns, pineapples, bananas, and all, said, “Dear God, please accept these.”
God said, “Cain, what life can such offerings give you? The sacrifice that I accept must have life, that is, blood. As it is written, ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood’ (Leviticus 17:11), if you want to be saved from sins, you must pass over all your sins to the sacrifice that has blood by placing your hands on its head. And then, you must kill that sacrifice, sprinkle its blood, and then offer its meat to Me by burning it on the altar.” This was the gospel God also had taught Adam and Eve. Even now, God has not changed: God sent down His Son, Jesus Christ, in order to save us. And, that Son did save us by taking on our sins by receiving the baptism and by shedding blood on our behalf.
“The life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). In order to make us who were destined to die for our sins live again, Jesus came to this earth, took on all our sins by receiving the baptism, and was nailed to the Cross instead of us. It could have been possible for Jesus to be hanged, but why must He be crucified and shed His blood? It was because the Lord had taken on all the sins of the world by the baptism and so He had to shed blood as the payment for the wages of those sins in order to save us perfectly. And that is why Jesus, who had taken on our sins from John the Baptist at the Jordan River, was nailed to the Cross.
God the Father loved us so much that He saved us by giving His only begotten Son. In order to save us, Jesus took on all our sins completely by receiving the baptism at the Jordan River, shed blood on the Cross, was resurrected in three days, and now sits at the right side of God’s throne. Therefore, not having faith in the only begotten Son is what evil is, while having faith is what good is. Like this, the standards of good and evil depend thoroughly on God.
Yet, if we were to not believe in the works Jesus had done and offer God with one’s own righteousness and merits by doing many self-sacrificing services, would that be a filial piety to God or would it be a filial impiety? It isn’t a filial piety to do things on our own without knowing the wish of our parents. Doing what makes the other person happy is what virtue is.
The standards of good and evil lie with God. So, God said to Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.” By these words, God is saying, “If it were the case that you did really do good before Me, why would your face be turning red? If it were the case that you came forth by properly believing in the Truth by which I have saved you, why would you show such anger? It is because you do not believe in My Word. Because you do not believe in Me, you are insisting on virtues of your own.”
Salvation isn’t something we have made. We have received salvation from sins by having faith in the righteousness of God; we receive salvation by accepting the virtue of God. It is written, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Dear fellow believers, God had made us, and when we were destined to go to hell, having been lured by Satan the Devil, God prepared a sacrificial offering. In the Old Testament, sacrificial offerings were of livestock, but in the New Testament, that sacrificial offering was Jesus, the Lamb of God. Now, we get to receive salvation from God, carry out filial piety toward God, and invigorate God’s heart by accepting the work of salvation by which God has saved us. Dear fellow believers, isn’t it so?
There is an old story in Korea about two persons who had received filial piety award. One person had received a filial piety award for having served his parents well with an extreme devotion, but later on, a person who had received a greater filial piety award appeared. So, the one who had received the filial piety award first said, “I have to go and learn how he had carried out filial piety which led him to a greater filial piety award,” and sought to observe in detail the man’s conduct by going to him. As the man came inside, he said, “Mother, I’m home,” the mother said to him, “Dear child, sit down and put your feet forward.” And so, when the son put forth his feet, the mother took off his socks, put the feet into a washing basin, started washing the feet by rubbing them clean, and then she even dried off the feet with a towel. Then, the mother said, “My son, I’ll make something to eat, so stay in your room and eat,” and gave the son all her love with a heartfelt devotion. But all that the son was doing was accepting that love well.
At first, the first man of filial piety who had gone to learn from the second man by observing started swearing at him. “That person has such a grave filial impiety. He should wash his own feet. How could he tell his mother to wash them? What an evil son.” But after having spent few days together, he found out that the man’s widowed mother was most happy when she is serving her own son. Then, he understood: “Alas, true filial piety is making the heart of one’s parents happy and comfortable. That mother finds more happiness from sacrificing and doing something for her son rather than receiving something from him. And that is why that person of filial piety is just doing what his mother wants to do! So, because that person of filial piety knew his mother’s wishes, he was carrying out true filial piety by putting forth his feet when she tells him to do so and by eating the food his mother had prepared for him with much enjoyment when she tells him to eat.”
If we truly want to carry out filial piety to God and to make His heart refreshed, all we have to do is to accept His love of salvation with thankfulness. We must find out God’s intension toward us, and unite our heart with that intension. It means that we must accept the gospel by which God has saved us instead of doing good deeds on our own accord. We must receive salvation by having faith in the gospel as it is, in the work that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, had done by coming down to this earth in human flesh. In doing so, God will be pleased, and we become united with God because the salvation of God will have been realized in our hearts. Dear fellow believers, do you understand?
We must clearly know the definitions of good and evil. Not believing perfectly in the works done by Jesus, giving up oneself before God in one’s own accord, and showing allegiance in one’s own accord is what doing evil is. To those who say, “Did I not drive out demons and did many wonders in Your name, Lord?” the Lord will say, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23) Without perfectly believing in the work of salvation done for us by Jesus, you can make efforts, do many good deeds, donate much money, and make many sacrifices on your own accord saying that they were all for the Lord. Having served God well like that, you will get to stand before Him. But, if the Lord judges you to be someone who has practiced lawlessness, how absurd and angry would you feel? Isn’t that right? For we had placed so much effort for Him, wouldn’t we rise against Him and say, “How could You do so to me?”
God wants us to receive the salvation and to enjoy the everlasting life. Also, He wants for us to lead a spiritual life. It is written, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4). Dear fellow believers, do you understand? Our concept of good and evil must be changed. Not accepting the works carried out by Jesus is evil in itself. It is evil.
“If You Do Well, Will You Not Be Accepted?”
The most virtuous thing is to accept in our hearts the gospel of the water and the Spirit by which the righteousness of God was realized. It is accepting the gospel of the righteousness of God as the Truth of receiving salvation from sin. This is what good is before God.
“And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:7). The desire to defy God is in all people; the desire to defy the Truth is in everyone. If possible, people desire to defy God. The Bible tells us that such blasphemy is fundamentally inside our hearts (Mark 7:22). But, we must realize that it is evil, and we must repent and revert back. By having done so, we must accept the work that Jesus Christ had done as it is, and believe in it as it is. Then, we must follow it as it is.
“And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door” (Genesis 4:7). If we do not believe in Jesus Christ wholeheartedly, everything we do would be committing a sin. Without having faith in Jesus Christ, even if one were to visit foster homes and elderly homes to comfort them and donate 1 billion dollars as a relief fund, it would all be committing sins. Such is just establishing one’s own righteousness. It is showing off one’s own righteousness, rather than showing off the righteousness of God. It is none other than the work of going against God as well as the sign of getting destroyed by God. Even though we may have the desire to defy the Word of God, we must control it. We should confess, “I had thought wrong. The Word of God is right.” We must realize as such, return to God, and accept His work of salvation as it is.
Beloved fellow saints, we must have a proper concept of good. Accepting the righteous work that God had done for our salvation is the greatest virtue. The work that God is doing through His Church and His Word is the best thing. It was said, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). God rejoices the most over our obedience to the Word of God. In contrast, not accepting the Word of God is like serving idols. It means that it is like the sin of serving the Devil.
As we lead a life of faith, we ask ourselves, “What is really right?” All people have their own standards of good and evil. However, we must recognize the fact that only God is good and that only God sets the standards of good and evil. Thus, I am telling you that we must throw away our own standards of good and evil. If you were to have your own standards of good and evil, you would be cast away from the Garden of Eden. You would not enter Heaven. We must place the standards of good and evil in God.
As we lead a life of faith, we must not possess our own standard for what is good. Through the Church, God speaks to us, keeps us, and guides us. We must understand that the Word of God is most sacred, and that such guidance is most right. As we listen to the Word of God, we must not think, “The Word says so, but must we do so?”
From the fact that Abel had offered sacrifice with the firstborn of his flock, we are able to see that it is a proof of his parents, Adam and Eve, having taught him about the faith with which God rejoices. When his parents, that is, his spiritual leaders delivered God’s Word to him, Abel accepted and believed in it as it was. Abel said, “Ah! It is said that God had saved my parents like so. And like so, God saves us by accepting this sacrifice, a lamb we had killed in place of our death,” and then united his heart together with the gospel of the Truth as it was.
But, Cain did not do so, and instead of receiving blessings from God, he was cursed by having followed the righteousness of his own thoughts. Even now, so many Christians reject the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe only in the blood of the Cross according to their own thoughts. They are those who commit evil and carry out lawlessness.
As you lead a life of faith, isn’t it the case that your own thoughts also pop up in your head? Whenever we are faced with whatever work, our own thoughts arise. The righteousness of the flesh was prone to rise up from our flesh. However, whenever that happens, in order for us to follow the righteous way instead of following the wrongful thoughts of our flesh, we must seek guidance from God and the Church by saying, “What does God say about this? What does the leader teach us to do in such a case?” The Word of God and the guidance of the Church are the most virtuous.
On the contrary, if you are reluctant to be led by God and the Church, you will fall into your own thoughts and end up departing from God. Even Cain went against God and killed his own younger brother in the end for he had fallen into the righteousness of his own thoughts when he brought God offerings that were different from Abel’s and God did not accept them. Had he gone to Adam, told him about his problem, and received guidance, he and his descendants would not have fallen into the curse. But, he had insisted that his thoughts were right to the very end. Can we humans do good deeds on our own before God? Human beings are by themselves manifestation of evil. Thus, those who try to reach virtue by their own efforts, thinking they are good enough, are the ones who are most evil, going against God the most.
And so, do you know what religion in this world goes against God the most? It is Buddhism. These people believe that they can become gods on their own. Buddhism, which says, “If a person does good deeds and practices austerities, the person can become a god,” is the religion that goes against God the most. Such Buddhism is currently becoming prevalent all over the world. Especially in Western Europe, Buddhism is showing a fast rate of growth. The reason why Buddhism is now so active in a region originally dominated by Christianity is due to following two facts: First, because Christianity without the gospel of the Truth could not give people perfect salvation, the people showed interest in Buddhism instead with a taste of oriental mysticism. Second, because the legalistic and doctrinal Christianity is not that different from Buddhism, which fundamentally seeks one’s own virtue, it was possible for Buddhism to encroach into Christian society without any great sense of rejection.
However, can human beings become gods through their own efforts? It can never be so. The thought that one can become a god by doing good deeds and practicing austerities is to challenge God the most. If people insist on their own virtue, it in itself is not a virtue, as it was said, “So Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God’” (Mark 10:18).
You don’t know how much your own righteousness and your own stubbornness there are while you go on living. Yet, if we were to live like Cain according to our own thoughts and stubbornness, would we be able to receive salvation, or would we not? We would not receive it. How do we receive it? If you think, “What need is there for me to believe in Jesus? All I have to do is to live virtuously without afflicting loss on others,” the fact is that you will never be able to receive salvation. What I mean is that it is merely a humanistic virtue.
People who do not acknowledge their evilness and do not revert back from such evil go against the church of God, just as Cain had struck Abel to death. If one were to realize one’s wrongfulness, the person should turn around from his or her evilness, but Cain, who had put forth his own righteousness to the end without reverting back, struck to death his younger brother, Abel the righteous. What wrong did his younger brother do? Just as God had saved even his parents by clothing them with tunics of skin, his brother had wanted to receive the remission of sins by killing a sacrificial lamb and bringing it to God, so what was it that his younger brother had done wrong? What wrong did he do that had made Cain to strike him to death in the field?
This is the evil conduct of the wicked who do not do well before God. Because he had evil in his heart, Cain had struck his younger brother, who was pursuing good, to death. This is why the Bible says, “Not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12). Truly, if we do not deny ourselves before the Word of God, we would become a person like that. If we do not deny ourselves, we would be committing murder.
Dear fellow believers, Abel received salvation. Adam and Eve also received salvation. Seth also received salvation. However, all the descendants of Cain were cursed only. There are many descendants of Cain. The descendants of Cain are none other than those who keep on insisting that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is not true, even though Jesus had saved them by that gospel. The Bible tells us that Jesus had received the baptism in order to take on all the sins and to cleanse us of all our sins and finished off the judgment set out for us by dying on the Cross shedding blood. Our Lord has saved us perfectly. Yet, how could they say it is not so? We should realize that it is a great sin before God to not discard our own righteousness to the end.
A Person Who Does Not Believe According to the Word of God Is like Cain
God did not accept Cain and his offerings. Because God did not accept his offerings with joy, Cain became fuming. Feeling so angry, his face turned red, and he began to huff and puff. “God is not accepting my offerings? It’s not right. My brother, a jerk, has been idly playing every day, but when he kills a lamb and slaps it on top of a stone, God accepts it but not mine? I had prepared the sacrifice with such devotion. I had prepared the fruit of the ground by going through such hardship. Yet, God does not accept it?” Cain started to smolder. Cain really enjoyed committing sins and going against God. He liked it too much. Cain became filled with the desire to go against, defy, and disobey God, as well as the desire to disobey and defy the instructions of his parents.
Dear fellow believers, why do people who do not accept the gospel fume against God and us who are the righteous? Because they are evil and their hearts are arrogant, they consider themselves to be righteous. To such people, God says the following: “If you want to receive the remission of sins, offer sacrifice with a lamb. Pass over you sins by placing your hands on top of the head of the animal that has the blood of the sacrifice, and then bring it before Me after having killed that animal in your place. Aren’t you the one who has to die? I should have let you die, but I told you that I will save you, should you pass over your sins to this animal, cut its throat, gather its blood, and offer before Me the sacrifice. Yet, why do you not listen to My Word but instead offer such things on your own accord and in your own way? Why do you offer things you boast of, such as strength and sincerity of your own? They are filthy, so I cannot accept them. You are huffing and puffing because I do not accept them? You, evil ingrate!”
Cain and Abel, each brought before God offerings, and then, fire came down from the heavens and combusted Abel’s sacrifice in an instant. That is, this fire had come from God. And that is why the fire of the altar of burnt offering is called the fire of the Lord God. Abel’s sacrifice, the firstborn of his flock and its fat, had burnt crisp, but the fruit of the ground offered by Cain remained as it were. That is, the fact that God did not accept was clearly shown. Thus, Cain, huffing and puffing, started to go against God.
Why do Christians resent God by saying, “I had gone through such hardship for You, but why don’t You blot out my sins, nor give me peace? Why are You giving me a hard time?” Is it right to resent God? If they were to believe in the God-given love of the Truth and to offer sacrifice by faith, God would give them blessings. Yet, why do they do things according to their own desires and then resent God?
In the future, many Christians will be huffing and puffing before the Lord. “Have I not prophesied, cast out demons, and done many wonders in Your name, Lord? Yet, how can You say You never knew me?” When they do so, the Lord will not even blink and give them a stern sentence, saying, “You who practice lawlessness, depart from Me!” On that day, all the descendants of Cain as well as Cain himself will huff and puff together, saying, “God, You are too harsh. Isn’t it the case that You have swindled us?” Did God swindle them? It was they who had swindled God. The fact of the matter is that God had promised them salvation through a sacrificial animal. Yet, how could they even try to receive salvation by offering such things as their own devotion and by arduously offering prayers of repentance? Such people will be discarded on that day.
Later, Cain struck Abel, his younger brother, to death. The result of not being obedient to the Word of God’s salvation led Cain to kill his own brother. If we were to believe in Jesus in a wrong way, we would be committing murder. People who are not born-again are truly scary. When they see that something might inflict loss on them, they relentlessly threaten us by saying that they are going to stop us from doing the work unless we listen to them. As we went to Russia and preached the gospel, a few people did receive the remission of sins, and started doing the work of the gospel together with us. Just then, pastors who had worked with those people in the past came by and threatened and blackmailed them by saying that if they did not work with them again, they would stop them from working by spreading a rumor that they had fallen into a heresy. Such pastors are the ones who are the descendants of Cain.
One will become like them, if he or she follows the faith of Cain. If a person does not believe according to the Word of God and does not believe according to God’s teachings, then the person becomes an enemy of God, an enemy to us the righteous, and a servant to Satan the Devil. Numerous people who haven’t been born again will pour out abusive words to God even when they are faced with just a small mishap. They will say, “I had lived for the Lord so far, yet why do these things happen to me? Why am I so worse off?”
God has shown us both the proper faith and the wrongful faith so that we may have correct faith. By comparing the faith of Abel and that of Cain, God has given us a warning so that we would never fall into a sin like that of Cain. Offering prayers of repentance numerously, this is also just like the offering of Cain. It is like the offerings of the fruit of the ground.
Those who haven’t been born again are all Cains. People who believe in Jesus but do not believe in Jesus Christ who has come by the water, the blood, and the Spirit are all Cains. They act just like Cain. They get angry at any given moment. They say that they are the best. And then they boast their strength and righteousness. They say, “We are a grand denomination like so. Yet, why are you, a tiny denomination, making a fit claiming that we are not believing properly?” The Lord said, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened” (Matthew 13:33). If we put a small amount of yeast into big wheat flour dough, it will make the dough be leavened. It means that although the number of people who have received the remission of sins may not be large, this faith will spread to all people throughout this world in no time.
Who is Abel? He was a born-again person. Who is Cain? He represents the Christian sinners who haven’t been born again. We must understand the fact that those who haven’t been born again are all Cain. As such, people who haven’t been born again act like Cain without exception. That is why the Bible says, “(Do) not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother” (1 John 3:12). What is characteristic of Cain’s faith? He had believed according to his own thoughts. Even now, those who believe according to their own thoughts, saying, “If I offer prayers of repentance now, God is sure to forgive me,” must realize that they are all like Cain and revert back.
Dear fellow believers, people who haven’t been born again by not having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit say horrible things when they see born-again people. They say, “People get saved even if they do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.” Then they start persecuting them. Their conduct is exactly the same as Cain having struck Abel to death. Even so, they can never kill us if God doesn’t allow it.
All those who do not believe in the Word of God as it is are like Cain. Do you know how many Cains there are? Currently, 99.9% of Christians all over the world are like Cain. It isn’t the case that Cain did not believe in God. Surely, Cain did offer sacrifice before God. However, in actuality, it is the case that Cain did not have faith in God. He had too much of his own righteousness. The rest of Cain’s life wasn’t good at all. Only the curse awaited him.
We must have a spiritual faith like that of Abel. The Lord says, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Let us live as wise as a serpent and as pure as a dove. I hope you will become ones who are faithful to the righteousness of God.