1 John 3:12-13, “12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.”
John has now established that all Christians must daily practice righteousness and love one another. Now, the Apostle John turns to the book of Genesis in 1 John 3:12 to further support his point. Cain and Abel, provide an excellent example for John to connect the world, the children of God, love, and righteousness.
1 John 3:12 tells us we should not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother, Abel. In 1 John 3:10 we saw there are only two kinds of people, those who are of God and those who are of the Devil. Cain is of those who are of the Devil, since, instead of loving righteousness and his brother, he hated Abel to the point of murder (1 John 3:12). Cain’s character resembled the Devil, who has been a murder from the beginning (John 8:44). With that said, Abel is a representative of those who daily practice righteousness for in doing what is pleasing to God (Genesis 4:4), Abel revealed himself as a child of God, one who mirrored in his daily practice of righteousness, God’s holy character.
Since the Fall of Adam, the seed of woman and the serpent have been at war. Every child of God has always faced the onslaught of the Devil’s children. This particular conflict is seen in the crushing of Satan and the death of Jesus at Calvary. All those who are in Christ will face trouble from those who are of the Devil. John tells God’s people in 1 John 3:13 to not be surprised when the world hates us. Cain, like other children of the Devil, loved the evil world, and since he loved it, he hated those who daily practiced righteousness. When we cease loving the world, we will start doing the will of God (1 John 2:15-17), with the result, the world will hate us just as Cain hated Abel.
We may never physically murder another person, but if we hate our brothers and sisters in Christ, we have murdered them in our hearts (1 John 3:15). When we hate our fellow Christians, we are acting like children of the Devil and following the example of Cain. In doing so, we reveal ourselves to be born not of God but of the world.
Cain and Abel were from the same family. With that said, they did not share the same spiritual roots. Though they were blood brothers, in an eternal and ultimate sense, they were not both practicing righteousness. The Church can also be viewed this way. You and I as Christians may belong to a corporate body, a local expression of the Body of Christ, or a manifestation of the visible church. If we hate fellow Christians in that local church or in the broader Body of Christ, we are not children of God, then it may show that we are not children of God, which should lead us to genuinely repent and apologize to the one we’ve wronged. Instead, we should keep short accounts before God’s face, asking for forgiveness when we’ve wronged one another, confessing our sin first to God, then to one another, and tell one another often that we are grateful they are part of the Body of Christ and in our lives. Please take some time today to tell a fellow Christian that you love and care for them.