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Monday, March 06, 2017

What is the church? Pursued and persecuted.

What is the church?  And what can we liken it to in Genesis 4?

"And Yahweh said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your face fallen? If you do well will I not accept you? But if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. And its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

If you were looking for the protagonist of this chapter, it would not be Abel.  It's Cain.  Cain and Abel are of the same family, they are brothers, they both bring offerings to Yahweh.  For all extents and purposes, they, with their parents, are the church.  Cain does not bring his offering to God in love however.  He resents God.  He brings the fruit of his own labor, possibly not even his best.  Just something to appease the God who runs my life.  Or perhaps he truly does want to be accepted by God, but for what he is.  For what Cain has done.  Look at me!  Am I not worthy?  Are you not proud of me?  Am I not good enough for you?  

No.  Frankly.  You are not.  But if you do what is good, what I've instructed you to do, won't I accept you anyway, God says.  God pursues Cain even though God knows what is in Cain's heart and what he will do.  God lets Abel be martyred.  Like his father the devil, Cain hates God but he cannot hurt God so he will touch who he can.  Cain reveals what is in his heart as we all do eventually.  Cain only cares for himself.  Cain is driven out to protect the church.  But he still carries the image of God.  He still carries the same common grace as the church.  He creates, he makes.  He makes a church of his own, names it after his own and we see through the generations how, despite its industriousness, or maybe because of it, that church becomes arrogant and proud and cruel.  The church of self.  

At one time or another, we all belong to this church of Self.  We all worship ourselves.  Christ comes and either calls us out of it and to himself, or calls us out, calls us what we are.  And just like our father Cain, we killed him for it.  But God...

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