Attainment can never take the place of Atonement.
Without the recognition of Christ as our substitute and sacrifice there can be no approach to God.
1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
8 And 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 slew him.
9 ¶ And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
16 ¶ And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
19 ¶ And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
25 ¶ And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
Genesis 4:1-8 – Offerings by Cain and Abel
The inner motive of Cain’s ruthless deed is supplied in I John 3:12. Abel, deeply conscious of sin, felt that a sacrifice was needed; therefore his faith saved him and links him with all who believe. See Hebrews 11:4. Cain had no sense of sin, and thought a gift of produce enough. But all the while sin was crouching at the door, like a hungry tiger, waiting for the chance to enter. Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation! “Thou shalt rule” (v. 7). —Through the Bible Day by Day
Genesis 4:1-2 – J. Vernon McGee
Genesis 4:3-5 – J. Vernon McGee
Genesis 4:6-7 – J. Vernon McGee
Genesis 4:7 – On the summit of a hill in a Western State is a courthouse, so situated that the raindrops that fall on one side of the roof descend into Lake Erie, and thence, through the St. Lawrence, into the Atlantic. The drops on the other side trickle down from rivulet to river, until they reach the Ohio and Mississippi, and enter the ocean by the Gulf of Mexico. A faint breath of wind determines the destination of these raindrops for three thousand miles. So a single act determines, sometimes, a human destiny for all time and for eternity. (Cuyler)
Genesis 4:8-10 – J. Vernon McGee
Genesis 4:8 – Death did not first strike Adam, the first sinful man; nor Cain, the first hypocrite; but Abel, the innocent and righteous. The first soul that met with death overcame death: the first soul that parted from earth went to heaven. Death argues not displeasure; because he whom God loved best died first; and the murderer was punished while living. (Bishop Hall)
Genesis 4:9-26 – Cain’s Career
God’s first question to the soul is, “Adam, where art thou?” The next, “Where is thy brother?” We are our brother’s keepers. All related to us, within our reach, or needing our help have a claim. We must not take advantage of them. Their well-being and our own are inseparable. God keeps an inventory of His saints, and will avenge them. Their blood will cry to God against those who have wronged them. There is only one cry in the world which is stronger—“the blood of Jesus.” See Hebrews 12:24. It cries for mercy and pardon. A numerous family sprang from our first parents, and as these intermarried a large population began to people the early seat of human life. Cain founded a city, dedicated to all that ministered to sensuous enjoyment. This was “the way of Cain” (Judges 1:11), brilliant but godless, away from the presence of the Lord. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Genesis 4:9 – Where is Abel thy Brother?
The first question God puts to the soul is, “Adam, where art thou?” The next, “Where is Abel thy brother?” We are our brothers’ keepers. Each within our reach, all who need our help, all related to us by the ties of the family, have a claim on us. We must not take an advantage over them; their weakness and need are strong claims on our resources of every kind; we are bound to keep them so far as we can; we may at any moment be called to give an account of their whereabouts. To dispute this is to betray the spirit of Cain, who was a murderer.
God keeps an inventory of his saints.—In his book their names are written. Their names, abode, and circumstances; their fathers, mothers, and brothers; their occupation, whether they keep the sheep or till the land: all are known to Him, because fixed by his providence. Whatever touches them is, therefore, instantly known to Him. It is as though they were part of his very being, and a stab of pain to them thrills his heart.
God calls us to help Him in keeping one another.—We are to watch for each other’s souls; to consider one another to provoke to good works; to bear one another’s burdens; to exhort each other, to convert the wanderer from the path of the destroyer, and to wash stains from his feet. The cure of souls is the work of all the saints. But this is only possible to those who have been baptized into the Spirit of Christ. Remember that you have just as much love towards God, as you are willing to show towards the brother whom you have seen. “This commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 John 4:21). —Our Daily Homily