By Nikos Lemonidis


When the Lord asked Cain where his brother was, Cain lied, answering the Lord’s question with a question: "Am I my brother’s keeper?" (Gen. 4:9b).

Before we rush to discard Cain as a bad person, let us remember that in many ways, we are closer to him than we are to Adam. Cain is the first man who was born of a woman. He never lived in paradise, and he had to offer sacrifices to the Lord seeking his acceptance.

The Lord forewarned Cain that he had the option, the freedom of will, to do well or not.

Genesis 4:7a:
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door....

This choice is valid for all humans.

Deuteronomy 30:19:
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life.

Why is sin lying at a man’s door? It is because a man must open the door and let sin in. Cain allowed sin in and became the first murderer.

When tempted in the desert, Jesus faced three devilish suggestions (see Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13). His response to two was "It is written." But when Satan suggested that Jesus gain the kingdoms of the world by worshipping him, Jesus rebuked him.

Matthew 4:10a:
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan....

Surprisingly, this same expression was used by Jesus when speaking to one of his closest disciples.

Matthew 16:23a:
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men....

At the time of this incident, Jesus was informing his disciples of the death he was to suffer at the hands of the priests and scribes.

Matthew 16:22:
Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

In essence, Peter was saying, "Spare yourself, Lord!" Had Jesus accepted Peter’s suggestion (disguised as Peter’s own thought behind a cloak of good intention) it would have cost our very salvation. Yet Peter was not Satan. Why did Jesus rebuke him as though he were? After Pentecost, Peter knew the answer.

Acts 5:3a:
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie...?

The first and second Adam shared a privilege. They started in life with a pure heart and had entry to God.

Matthew 5:8:
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Since the time of man’s fall, there is a problem: sin is everywhere.

Romans 5:12a:
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world...

1 John 5:19:
... the whole world lieth in wickedness.

Even our Savior was tempted yet without sin. Sin could tempt his mind but could not enter in his heart.

Proverbs 20:9:
Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

Who? Only the second Adam, Jesus Christ. How? It is written:

Psalm 119:11:
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Where was Peter’s offence formed? In the place where all thoughts are formed - in his mind. David faced a similar challenge.

1 Chronicles 21:1:
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

The Bible in Plain English translates this verse, "Now Satan, designing evil against Israel, put into David’s mind the impulse to take the number of Israel."

To escape from Peter’s mouth, his offence needed to have been first in his heart, "for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matt. 12:34b).

The biblical heart is not the blood pump but where our governing thoughts abide.

Hebrews 8:10b:
... I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

The heart is an inner part of the mind as the womb is an inner part of a woman’s body.

Romans 1:24:
... God also gave them up to …the lusts of their hearts.

James 1:15a:
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin....

Once sin enters into a man’s heart the only thing that separates sin from manifesting is time (from conception to birth).

John 10:1:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

Jesus Christ will not trespass on your heart. You must let him enter through the door. He expects the porter of our free will to open the door from the inside when he knocks.

Revelation 3:20:
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

John 10:2-3a:
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth....

A journey with Jesus Christ begins as simply as this:

Romans 10:9:
...if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead...

At that moment the nature of fallen Adam, a heart that is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9) is overthrown. Why?

Romans 5:5b:
...because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Paul reminds the saved Christians of their past conversation "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind" (Eph. 2:2), and warns them that this is not the end of sin-provoking thoughts.

2 Corinthians 10:5:
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Jesus said to those who believed on him:

John 8:31–32:
... If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Just a few verses later Jesus clarifies the bondage from which we need to be set free.

John 8:34:
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

To continue in his word implies time.

Luke 8:15:
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

As we strive to keep the word we will face mental pressure. In the Proverbs it is established that you cannot leave yourself unprotected.

Proverbs 25:28:
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Proverbs 16:32:
... he that ruleth his spirit [is better] than he that taketh a city.

We cannot make it on our own. We need Christ to reign in our hearts.

Psalm 127:1b:
... except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Will our tribulations be our undoing? Or will we overcome having the mind of Christ?

John 16:33b:
... In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Let us do our part.

Proverbs 4:23:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Remember that it is written:

Jeremiah 17:10:
I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.



From the April 2010 issue of The Vine & Branches