Solomon, King of Israel, who God endowed with wisdom in response to his prayer, wrote … “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov 16:25 NIV). This death is most often spiritual in nature though it also relates to physical life. In fact, the first indication of following the way that seems right to man, though presented through the lie of Satan and his deception, occurred in the Garden. Adam and Eve were willing to disobey the Divine admonition by doing what appeared to be that which would make them like God. They partook of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. The result was immediate spiritual death and alienation from God. Physical death, an eventuality, now entered the human race as a result of the curse. But of far greater consequence was the reality that mankind, born into this world, would now be spiritually dead until a new birth, one from above, would occur as a result of faith in fact that an innocent One would go to the Cross and pay for the sins of each individual. God in grace would not leave mankind condemned without Divine Remedy …for God so loved the world that He gave His uniquely born Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Man could avail himself of a Savior by faith in Christ, but it would be a decision that went contrary to his human nature for Scripture states that … “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Is 53:6).
That trait to go one’s ways quickly evidenced itself in the thinking of Cain, the first born of Adam. Though the pre-incarnate Christ had established the sacrificial system of worship as the only approach to God, Cain purposed to implement his own plan; one that was founded on his efforts, his own accomplishment, and the products of his hands, for he … “was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground” (Gen 4:2-3). Without a doubt, he brought the highest quality of his labors, the best that the land could produce. However, his best efforts were contrary to God’s Plan for relationship with Him. Cain’s way would cause him to remain spiritually condemned, for God’s redemptive solution required that he come to God through faith in a future sacrifice on the Cross as symbolized in the act of offering an innocent lamb. Thus God, having rejected Cain’s offering, but being rich in mercy, came to this rebellious offspring of Adam and said to Cain … “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it" (Gen 4:6-7). The offer to change his thinking was extended by God Himself, but sadly the response was negative and the outworking of Cain’s anger and rejection of God’s salvation was manifested soon in the act of murder while his brother Abel was performing the required sacrifice in his worship of God. Two ways were evident, man’s way as seen in Cain, and God’s way as demonstrated by Abel. Those two ways still face every person -- my way or God’s way. It is a personal choice and one which God will not force anyone to accept His offer of eternal life. However, Scripture warns against choosing to go one’s own way as did Cain … “Do not be like Cain” (1 John 3:12) for all who reject so great a salvation found only in Christ … “have taken the way of Cain” (Jude 11).