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Six Characteristics of the Way of Cain

Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain.
–Jude 11

What is the way of Cain? Let’s look at six characteristics of the way of Cain.

  1. The way of Cain refers to any individual who attempts to approach God on his or her own terms rather than on God’s terms.
  2. The way of Cain describes any religious system that attempts to earn God’s favor by works and rituals rather than by our reliance on God’s grace.
  3. The way of Cain is any religious system that appeals to our pride rather than our desperate condition before God.
  4. The way of Cain emphasizes humanity’s goodness rather than humanity’s sinfulness.
  5. The way of Cain says there are many paths that lead to God rather than one path.
  6. The way of Cain leads to eternal death rather than eternal life. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

We naturally rebel against this idea of exclusivity, that there’s only one way to approach God. We tend to think that somehow spiritual laws are less exacting than the laws that govern the world we can see around us. But if you make that conclusion, you are in real danger.

On August 2, 1985, Delta Flight 191 was making its final approach onto runway 17L at DFW. As the captain looked at the end of the runway, he saw a strange cloud formation. At first, he thought, “I’ll go around that and approach from the other direction.” Then he thought, “Why should I do that? I have hundreds of thousands of pounds of aircraft on my side, as well as three powerful Rolls-Royce engines and more than forty-three thousand hours of experience between my copilots. What can a little wind and rain do to this mighty jetliner?” So he decided to go through that cloud. What the captain didn’t realize was that within that cloud were invisible but very real forces at work–wind shear, microbursts, and vortexes. And those invisible forces grabbed hold of that jetliner and threw it to the ground, killing 137 people.

Just as the natural laws of aerodynamics and physics governed the invisible forces controlling that jetliner, so there are spiritual laws that are invisible but very real that govern our approach to God. We can say, “I’ll approach God in my way,” but the result will be spiritual disaster. There are not many ways to God; there is one way to approach God. It is through Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).


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.


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