You Shall Rule Over It

Lenny Cacchio


So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 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 4:6-7 NKJ)

It's a curious phrase: "it's desire is for you, but you should rule over it." We read elsewhere (2 Pet 2:19) that "a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him." (NIV) God was telling Cain that either you will rule sin, or sin will rule you. Cain, of course, lost the battle and became a slave to sin, and we can fall into the same trap. Indeed we often do.

But Jesus has provided us with an escape from that bondage. Look at the promises of freedom in the New Testament:

John 8:32- 36 -- And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. ... Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Rom 6:17-18 -- But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

1 Cor 7:23 -- You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

1 Pet 2:16 -- Not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.

If you notice, God promises us freedom, but the freedom he promises us is actually a new form of servitude. It is a servitude to him and his way of life. So the type of liberty that God promises is different from the liberty that we often hear about these days. James talked about the "law of liberty" while so many today talk about liberty from law. 

True freedom is not being able to do whatever one wants. That leads to anarchy, which leads to dictatorship, which leads to slavery. Freedom can only come through law - a set of rules that defines how we treat each other.

So either we will master sin or be slaves to it, and the only way to master it is to be a bondservant of Jesus Christ.

Lenny C.

Excerpted from The Sabbath Morning Companion, August 28, 2004, by Lenny Cacchio. All rights reserved.