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Sin is Crouching at the Door
Genesis 4
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor

Overview: The hardships of life outside of the garden begin to unfold as Adam and Eve have children whose lives take remarkably different paths. Cain and Abel are productive in subduing the earth and exercising dominion over the beasts of the field. Both recognize the need to look beyond this world by offering sacrifices, but Cain’s offering falls short of God’s requirements. Although God warns Cain about his attitude and cautions him to address his situation appropriately, Cain chooses a darker path and murders his brother. Cain is called to account and receives judgment with a measure of mercy. The descendants of Cain continue to live in worldly ways, demonstrating their mastery over the earth but references to worshiping God are noticeably absent. Adam and Eve’s pain over their lost children is eased somewhat by the birth of Seth, whose lineage becomes known for worshiping God above all. The lesson for us is clear: sin is present and progressively worse in this world, but God’s people have ways to overcome the world.

01. Sin is crouching at the door when our hearts drift from God; when we harbor resentments against others; when we deliberately disobey God’s commandments; and when we inadvertently live for this world alone.

02. Sin can be mastered when we cultivate a heart for God; when we keep short accounts of our sins; when we seek God’s grace after we have broken His commandments; and when we intentionally live for the world to come.


1. What is Eve’s response to the birth of Cain? How might her optimism be related to the words of Genesis 3:15? Given the outcome of Cain’s life, what is the sad irony of her initial reaction? How does the birth of Seth bring comfort to Eve and Adam?

2. How did Cain and Abel know that God required them to sacrifice? What was the nature of their offerings? Why did God accept Abel’s sacrifice and reject Cain’s sacrifice? See Hebrews 11:4 and 1 John 3:12 for further insight.

3. What does the Bible teach about our offerings to God and our attitude toward others? Are the two related? Are you holding on to past hurts from fellow church members as you attend worship services? What would the Lord have you to do about such relationships? See Malachi 1:6-14 and Matthew 5:21-26 for further insight.

4. What is common grace? What examples of common grace can you find in this chapter? How does God use the contributions, gifts, and/or talents of non-believers to benefit society as a whole? How can you find comfort in God’s common grace as the world seems to become more invested in sin and darkness?

5. Note how the chapter concludes with Seth’s lineage as a foil to Cain’s descendants. How does the final sentence in the chapter offer hope and encouragement to believers? How does this chapter chart a path for believers to have mastery over sin?

For Further Reading: Joel Beeke, Overcoming the World: Grace to Win the Daily Battle (P&R, 2005)