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.” Gen 4:7
There is a line. Above this line one does well, below, one does what is good. In a bout of confusing semantics, how does one decipher what they have done is done well? What is good? In this tale of two brothers, Cain and Abel, the definition is given. The essence of doing well before God and doing good.
These terms are very real in this world and are at the constant forefront of debate. What does God say pleases Him and what does Man say pleases God?
For the one that does good, there is an invariable earnest sincerity. Some will do good for their own gain, some will do good for the betterment of our world. The latter is noble to our existence. Man is ultimately satisfied in doing good. He feels good about himself, he can check a box: one for good! It offsets, the one for bad stored from yesterday. Doing something good is great for our self-assurance, our satisfaction, our self-worth, but it does not fortify a bond between our hearts and God. It is a misunderstanding to think otherwise. Doing good without a bound heart to God, is of the world.
Ask what is good. Is good what God wants, or, is good to help ease our personal guilt? Although the easing of guilt may seem to be the extreme argument, it is one possibility. There are really many reasons. All are in a private and singular mode of justification and a rationalizing of our eternity. In self-justification, we have crucified sin in a way outside of the sacrifice of Jesus. We have side-stepped an absolute way to eternity through our personal rationale. The one standing next to you has done the same, and as we continue down the line of these good people, we find a different crucifixion, a different redemption, a different god for each and every one. This is Relativism.
What is relative cannot be of the One truth. There is an equation: Justification through Jesus = Man with Faith. If the good person defines god, and if he rationalizes his eternal justification through his own good works, then faith has been replaced by self-justification. This replacement is new to every next person along a long line of hopeful souls who refuse to replace self-justification with faith in Jesus.
Cain did in earnest what he thought would please the Lord. He was dismayed that the Lord rejected his offering. The gentle admonishment from the Lord was thus: “…if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” The key point here is that if we do only what we deem is good, we do not rule over the sin that lies in wait. He who does well has this power. Spiritually, he who does good by the toils of his labors, does so in vain.
How do we do well? It is perplexing because our minds understand what is good and bad in this world but have a hard time discerning doing the good of the world and doing well in the perspective of eternity. God teaches us to do well. We give our self not to toil but as a sacrifice. This is pleasing in God’s eyes. Even as we may sacrifice our self in our works, we are really only lending ourselves with our own personal assurance of a return to our selfish way. God desires a sacrifice of our self in the purity of sincerity and humility with our eyes fully forward focused on God without the worldly safety net of our self.
Pure sacrifice has a safety net that God will be there. Doing well and doing good are shown as a sacrifice of ourselves: One is wholly and purely unconditionally, the other, a sacrifice to toil. Firstborn versus first fruits of the harvest. God wants our purity as we step onto His path that is led with sole reliance on He who leads us, loves us. The purity of the firstborn lamb is a picture of Jesus. He is the sacrifice for all and we do well by following Him. He is the justification without rationalization or self-satisfaction. Doing well is the desire to give all to God with a sincere heart.
So doing well is an offering. It is a sacrifice. It is the pure focus that we a redeemed through the One who became all sin for all who will have faith. Doing well is listening and following God’s will and surrendering our will. Doing well is not our works for the betterment of the world, but the betterment of the world through spiritual Love. We do well to have faith God will provide is all cases. He is there not when we deem the time, but always in His time. We do well to understand that all in our life is done in the sight of God and anything may be a lesson of wisdom and growth. Prepare yourself in pure sacrifice for we must lose our self and have faith. It is our gain. The sin that lies in wait is insurmountable without our faith because we are reliant on God. We have done well.
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Matthew 16:26
Remember: God wants us wholly, He does not need us. We need Him. We will see that we want Him too! Give yourself to God in faith. Ask Him for wisdom. Know His love. Love others in His way. You will have done well.
May 21, 2012
Amen! Excellent and articulate thoughts, Rick. Praying God’s blessings on you and yours.
So good to hear from you. Thank you for your comment. Never sure my thoughts are coming across and making sense 🙂
Heard from Ruudy? Just sent more Bibles to Soroti.
Your posts are typically deep and yet very clear, Rick. I enjoy reading them very much. I haven’t been able to comment much lately; my folks are living with us now as my mom’s Alzheimer’s has progressed significantly. My dad has found it more and more impossible to manage her care and maintain his own health. All that to say that silence and privacy are limited at best. I am, however, really trying to write more regularly…to ‘vent’. I hope you will follow and comment from time to time!
Ruudy said hello the other day, agreeing to pray as tomorrow I am having cataract surgery…then again next Wednesday too. I have been nearly blind for many months and I am anxious to see and be able to drive again! I will tell Ruudy that you say hello, and that more Bibles have headed his way. God bless you, Rick.
Lisa, thank you for the boost of encouragement. Going through some ‘teen angst’ right now here but nothing compared to what the Lord is leading you through. I pray for His leading and healing with your parents. I pray peace, rest, and safe/skillful surgery for you. He will always bring us to where we need to be. I need to listen to my own words!
Yes, say hi to Ruudy for me! Tell him the Bibles went to Kyle. He will know.
Pray for you, now.
I survived ‘teen angst’ and it is a force to be reckoned with, to be sure.
For me, the theme is total dependence on Jesus. Surrendering my will, my everything, to want Him (Thy Kingdom come; Thy Will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven!). I have been a slow learner, but oh, His Grace has been more than sufficient and so patient! Through these tough times, I’ve really learned that I can truly trust my Lord! Amazing love!
“The key point here is that if we do only what we deem is good, we do not rule over the sin that lies in wait. He who does well has this power. Spiritually, he who does good by the toils of his labors, does so in vain.” Very deep Rick! Well written. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Rick for those deep thoughts from Genesis 4:7 Our sacrifice of giving to God demands our all. “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give”.
Thanks for this great post. My husband and I were discussing something along these lines this morning and this really helped to shed some light on the matter.