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Read Introduction to 1 John


“…not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.”


John, in this verse, sets forth two representatives of two different spiritual families: the family of God and the family of Satan.  Cain represents the family of Satan and Abel represents the family of God.  These families stand in stark contrast to one another. 

not as Cain

John says what love is not before he says what love is.  It is not the attitude and action that Cain had toward Abel (Ge 4:8); it is Cain’s jealous resentment toward his brother’s more acceptable sacrifice that drove him to kill Abel (Ge 4:1-7).  Cain was religious but lost.  He was lost because his sacrifice was not acceptable to God. 

who was of the wicked one

The origin of Cain’s sin came from Satan; it came out of his spiritual relationship with Satan.  The word “of” means origin, source.  The source of Cain’s behavior is in the Devil.  Cain did not become a child of the Devil by murdering his brother.  He murdered his brother because he was a child of the Devil.  His spiritual birth was of the Devil (1 Jn 3:8). 

Cain’s murderous attitude came out of his sense of failure before God.  He viewed Abel as a rival in spiritual things.  All this finds its source in Satan.  As Cain came out of the family of Satan, so he demonstrates that relationship by his act of rejecting God’s system of payment for sin – a blood sacrifice. 

and murdered his brother. 

Cain was a physical brother to Abel but not a spiritual brother.  They came from two different spiritual families.  Cain murdered his brother for spiritual reasons. 


Actions always arise out of either the sin nature or the divine nature, either from Satan or God.


What is the origin of spiritual rebellion?  It does not begin in man.  Love springs from God, and hate originates in the Devil.  If you are in the grip of hate, it has a satanic source. 

Just as Satan entered the heart of Judas at the institution of the Lord’s Supper to betray Jesus, so Satan enters our heart when we hate Christians.  Satan entered Ananias, with Sapphira, his wife, two Christians, to lie and cheat (Ac 5:3).  It all begins with that sinister being whose purpose is to undermine the things of God. 

The unregenerate person remains under the influence of Satan.  This was our course of life before we became Christians.  We rejected salvation by grace.  Most non-Christians do not have a clue that this is the case with them. 

Eph 2:1-3, 1 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

This is why non-Christians hate the confidence and conviction of believers who know where they stand with God.  They hate the grace concept because it violates their self-trust.  Non-Christians often love religion and morality but religion and morality without the grace of Christ.  They hold great disdain and contempt for the gospel message.  A skunk by any other name still smells.  We can squirt perfume on him from now till doomsday, but he will still smell.  No label or perfume of religion or morality will help the non-Christian find acceptance with God. 

Pride often seeks to diminish those to whom we compare ourselves.  Others make us feel small, so we seek to cut them down a notch or two.  As Abel threatened Cain, Christians also threaten other Christians they deem more able, more talented, or gifted. 

Does your heartburn in anger toward another Christian?  You cannot stand him.  Why don’t you call it what it is?  Hatred.  Hatred originated in the Devil.  May God draw our hearts toward Him and His love.