“Sin Is Crouching at the Door”

“Sin Is Crouching at the Door” January 2, 2023

Scripture:        Genesis, chapters 3-5; Luke, chapter 2

Genesis 4:1-7 (NLT):

Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “With the Lord’s help, I have produced a man!” Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel.  When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground.

When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift – the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.

“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”


Cain and Abel – just the mention of their names sparks our memories of their story. It did not take long for mankind to move from disobedience to murder! But why?  How did it happen?

We must recognize that the heart of this story is not about Abel’s murder, as tragic as it was. No, the heart of the story is what God said to Cain when his offering was rejected. “Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you.” Human history from that point to now demonstrates that truth: sin is eager to control us.  As Paul wrote, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living” (Romans 6:16, NLT).

If You Do what is Right

The key is what – or Whom – we choose to obey. We can choose to obey God, as Paul said.  If we don’t – if we choose not to obey God – then we’re slaves to sin. As God told Cain, “You will be accepted if you do what is right.  But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out!” God made it clear to Cain, and He has made it clear to us: the choice is up to us.  Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.

How do we do that? With God’s help; that’s the only way for us to subdue sin. We are born in rebellion against God, claiming the throne of our lives for ourselves. That’s what sin has done, and what it continues to do. The first sin in the Garden quickly led to lying (“I don’t know where my brother is”) and murder. But the first step is always a refusal to do what is right. If we refuse, sin is crouching at the door, waiting to control us.


At the gym this morning, I noticed a title on the bottom of one of the news stations. It talked about “America’s problem with lying,” or something like that. The story related to George Santos, a newly-elected congressman from New York. He evidently fabricated numerous details about his life and qualifications during his campaign. After he won the election, details started to emerge. People are in an uproar: how could this happen?  Surely he should resign!

Setting aside the hypocrisy of the political world, I want to focus instead on the underlying issue. If we refuse to do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. The truth is an inconvenience for those who are determined to get what they want. Just in the last year, we’ve seen multiple business leaders charged with fraud. Theranos, a business which claimed to revolutionize blood testing, and FTX, a cryto-currency exchange, just to name two. Greed led these businesses to lie to people – and greed led people to believe the promises.

The Ends Do not Justify the Means

We could repeat that theme in any number of areas.  Fame.  Power.  Pleasure. Acceptance. When we want something so much, we convince ourselves that the end justifies the means. But for followers of Jesus, that is never true! The ends do not justify the means, because God does not need us to use improper methods to achieve His purposes.

The mantra of so much of our world is to “follow your heart.” Scripture tells us, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives” (Jeremiah 17:9-10a, NLT). “You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.


Father, thank You for reminding us that we do not have to be controlled by sin. Because of the redemption that You have offered us through Jesus, we can have victory over sin! Help us to choose to do what is right, so that sin will not control us. Guide us today in Your way, that we might experience the joy of life in Your kingdom.  Amen.


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