What Makes Your Countenance Fall?

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Forgiveness, Spiritual Growth | 0 comments

What Makes Your Countenance Fall?

In the story of Cain and Abel, the Lord was pleased with Abel’s offering of a sacrificial lamb, but he rejected Cain’s offering of fruit from his garden.

Why? Because Cain had not followed the Lord’s instruction about how to resolve sin: a blood sacrifice, a sacrificial lamb. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.

The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:5b-7).

Cain did not listen to the Lord. He failed to receive forgiveness from God for his rebellion or forgive his brother for doing it right. Instead, he became enraged and went out and murdered his brother, literally wiping him off the face of the earth.

And the Lord said to him, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hands” (Genesis 4:10).

So Cain’s unresolved sin brought God’s judgment down on him. He had to roam the earth as a vagrant, unable to bring forth fruit from his garden. He lived in exile outside the Presence of his Creator. Thus the law of justice was satisfied. We must recognize that we can not violate the law of justice, without our countenance falling.

God never revoked His laws

This Old Testament account establishes the need for the law of justice to be fulfilled. Every sin (missing the mark of righteousness) demands resolution so the scales of justice can be balanced.

We like to think that because of grace, God looks the other way or changes His laws. However, He could not do this without violating the essence of who He is—His divine, righteous nature.

Jesus confirms this when He says: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).

Until we forgive from the heart, the law of justice will continue to operate. We cannot escape it. Remember what Jesus said about the coast the unforgiving servant would pay:

Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you? Then the Lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart (Matthew 18:34-35).

A better way

Since earliest time, God has planned a better way for us to balance the scales of justice and restore our countenance: through Jesus Christ and his sacrificial blood.

When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law…” (Galatians 4:4-5).

Repent (change direction) therefore and be converted (return), that your sins may be wiped (blotted) out, in order that times of refreshing may come from the Presence of the Lord and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you (Acts 3:19-20).

Reflection: What causes your countenance to fall?



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