Avoiding The Way Of Cain

Avoiding The Way Of Cain

Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness with favor.
–Habakkuk 1:13

Nothing will cause a more vitriolic reaction from people than insisting there is only one way to heaven. Not long ago, I received an email from a man who listened to a message in which I claimed there is only one way to be saved. He wrote, “I thought Christians were tolerant of other religions. . . . You are a son of the devil if you are not tolerant of all religions.” How’s that for being tolerant? Apparently, this man thought being tolerant means we believe that all ideas and beliefs are equally valid. No, that’s not what tolerance is. Tolerance is respecting other people’s right to be wrong. Many people embrace pluralism, which holds that all ideas are equally valid, and nobody can claim to have the truth. But tolerance says, “There is an absolute truth, but you don’t have to accept it; I’ll respect your right to be wrong.” All truths are not equally valid, and not all roads lead to heaven. That certainly was the teaching of Jesus. In Matthew 7, Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for . . . the way is broad that leads to destruction” (v. 13).

This idea of one way of salvation didn’t start in the New Testament; it began in the Old Testament. There are five Old Testament themes that point to the exclusivity of salvation. Last week, we looked at two of them. First, we saw the oneness of God. That is the most basic truth found in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” There are not many gods; there is one God. And who is the real God? He identified Himself to Moses, saying, “I AM WHO I AM.” Notice He did not say, “I am whoever you think I am.” The second theme we saw was the holiness of God. The most transcendent description of God in the Bible is found in Isaiah’s vision, when he heard the angels proclaim, “Holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3). That word “holy” means “to cut” or “to separate.” When we say God is holy, we are saying God is separate, a cut above everything and everyone. The holiness of God means He is distinct from us, and He is separated from sin. Habakkuk 1:13 says of God, “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness with favor.”

Now, the fact that God is holy presents a problem for us, because a third theme in the Old Testament is the sinfulness of man. There is a moral gulf between holy God and sinful man that began in the Garden of Eden and continues today. God planted Adam and Eve in the garden and told them, “You can eat of any tree you want to eat of except one.” But instead of focusing on all the provisions God made for them, they focused on the one thing God said they couldn’t do. Satan caused them to doubt the word of God, asking, “Has God really said?” Then he attacked the character of God, claiming God was trying to rob them of true fulfillment. Someone has said that all sin is rooted in contempt for God: God cannot be believed or God cannot be trusted. Unfortunately, Eve took the bait. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6).

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Avoiding The Way Of Cain” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.