Is Everyone Right?
January 17, 2022
God warns us that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death.”
How many live under the misconception that what they believe is right? If I were brought up in an atheistic home and went to an atheistic school and married an atheistic wife to begin an atheistic family of my own, I no doubt would believe my position to be right. If I now turn that position on its head to embrace a religious system of some sort, my conclusion would be the same.
If I were brought up a Christian/Jew/Muslim and went to a C/J/M school, married a C/J/M wife to begin a C/J/M family of my own, I would believe my faith to be right. No one that I know of believes that what they adhere to is wrong whether Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Mormon, or whatever, doesn’t each one believe they are right? But are they all really right when there are such major differences between them?
God says there is a way that seems right. This “way” is described in Jude vs 11 as “the way of Cain.” The way of Cain was instantly rejected by God (Genesis 4:1-16). So there are “ways” that actually are wrong and not accepted by God. A quick look at the “ways of Cain” reveals major features of the wrong but seemingly right ways that lead us astray. Cain is a portrayal of all religions who depart from God’s revelation, the Bible.
John Phillips suggests the way of Cain substitutes “reason for revelation.” The fact that Cain’s sacrifice was unacceptable lays out that God had instructed him beforehand what constituted an acceptable sacrifice. Cain, like many religions and denominations, had his own ideas about the way God should be approached and simply ignored or rejected what God had said. He thought his way was best.
Second, he substituted “beauty for blood.” Fruits, flowers, spices and herb, color, fragrance, and artistry were all blended to produce a most appealing effect. Cain’s altar was the forerunner of temples, mosques, cathedrals, robes, gold and rituals that have been designed to make religion appealing to the senses. Abel’s bloody slain lamb does not have the same appeal, but it was what God required.
Third, Cain substituted “trying for trusting.” Cain’s religion was based on one simple but false principle – works. Cain was not an atheist. On the contrary, he was religious. He worked hard to produce the fruits and flowers that were presented at the altar. All false religious systems have the same message salvation has to be earned. That is, it has to be purchased with some good works, or that salvation can be acquired, that one needs to accumulate merit through fasting, pilgrimages, ritual, traditions, mandates, etc. these are all the “way of Cain,” but they are not the way of Christ. Romans 4:5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.
Fourth, Cain substituted “feelings for facts.” He felt good about his religious efforts and became enraged when God rejected and corrected them. His good feelings evaporated. When God does not fulfill man’s ways, desire, hope, and efforts, they soon act like Cain. Abel came to God by way of blood (it’s the way of Calvary). He was justified by faith alone (Hebrews 11:4), based not on feelings or religious fulfillment, but on the merits of Christ imputed by God to the believer
(2 Corinthians 5:21).
Lastly, Cain substituted “oppression for obedience.” Instead of obeying God, Cain hated his brother and all that Abel stood for in terms of divine revelation and blood atonement. Cain was too religious to slay a lamb but quite capable of shedding his brother’s blood. His religion, as have many other religions, allowed him to murder his fellow man.
All beliefs are not the same, nor are they all right. Religion is man’s corruption, not God’s creation. Religion damns a man, but Christ’s shed blood will save him. Religion is the “way of Cain,” but Jesus said, John 14:6…”I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.”
Grace be with you,
Pastor Jay T. Barsaleau