Have you ever gone camping and awakened to hear an animal creeping outside of your tent, rummaging through your campsite? Maybe you even turned on your flashlight and could see the menacing silhouette creep around you. Were you scared?
If you’ve ever experienced that, then you’ll be very familiar with the first mention of sin in the Bible.
God is speaking to Cain after rejecting his sacrifice:
“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 4:7).
Sin lies at the door. Other translations more vividly read that sin crouches at the door (cf. NIV, ESV, NASB).
In other words, God depicts sin as a kind of wild animal that was creeping around Cain’s tent; only it wasn’t looking to eat his food—it was looking to eat him!
So what was Cain to do?
In short, God commanded him to do what He once commanded Adam and Eve to do—rule over that wild animal (cf. Gen 1:26-28).
Sadly, Cain failed to rule over his sin, just as Adam and Eve failed to rule over the serpent. His jealousy ripened into murder, and he killed his brother Abel.
Did you know that God has given you a similar command? Sin has a desire for you, too. But when it comes to specific deeds, instead of ruling over sin, you are called to put them to death:
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live (Rom 8:13).
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry (Col 3:5).
Putting to death the deeds of the body is not an eternal life issue, but it is an abundant life issue (cf. John 10:10). It does not affect your eternal salvation, but it will impact your temporal salvation. If you allow the sin that is creeping at your door to devour you, you may end up devouring the people around you.