Jude speaks of it in his general epistle. He felt the necessity of exhorting the Church to contend earnestly for the faith (doctrine, truth) once delivered to the saints, because certain men had crept in unawares who taught that which they had dreamed up in the place of that which God had delivered to the saints.
The way of Cain!
How many followers he has! How many there are who have him for their spiritual father rather than his brother Abel! How many there are who do not keep themselves in the love of God because they follow men who walk in the way of Cain!
The way of Cain!
It is not the way of His fear! It is the way of unbelief. It is the way that Cain’s disciples walked. And they were not pious, God-fearing men. Jude lists them for you and me. Listen to him! He speaks in his brief epistle of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. More particularly he names some of them such as Balsam who ran greedily after reward. He was, if you please a prophet. He had an office and position. He was a man of influence. His calling was to teach to the people that which God had once delivered unto the saints. His work was to bless God’s people. For filthy lucre’s sake he was ready to curse Israel, to teach them gross immorality so that God would destroy them from off the face of the earth. A little of Balak’s gold and silver would turn him to do such deviltry! For earthly position, for social standing, for worldly goods, for the honor of men—”having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage,” Jude says in verse 16—for all these Balaam (and his present day companions in the way of Cain) was willing to forsake the faith once delivered to the saints and to oppose it rather than contend for it! He mentions Core (Korah), that rebel who perished in the judgment of God as He opened up the earth to swallow up this rebel and his family and cast them whole into hell! Sons of Cain. Disciples of that first murderer.
O, but Jude is not thinking of that murder when he speaks woes upon them that go in “the way of Cain.” This will follow. Those who do not contend for the faith but rather fight against it will persecute. And if it is not physical murder that they commit, it surely is character-murder that they will practice. If they dare not kill or are naturally squeamish about blood, they will slander, backbite, invent and resurrect all kinds of stories to destroy the good name and reputation of those who do contend for the faith. No man is perfect. You can always find a stone to throw at any man. But things that have nothing to do with doctrine, matters which, if true, would not change the doctrinal and theological position of a man at all are mentioned, magnified and blasted with all the force possible against those with whom no fault can be found as far as the truth, the doctrine they teach is concerned. That is the way of Cain and his disciples! Cain could find no fault with Abel’s doctrine. And it was not simply his intention to overthrow that doctrine when Abel spoke to him of the faith once delivered to the saints. He hated that doctrine; and therefore he hated Abel. And when you hate a man’s doctrines and are a disciple of Cain, you will not only ridicule his doctrine but pick up his faults and throw them at him. The faults that his doctrine condemn you will rejoice in because they make handy stones to hurl at him. What an indictment upon us that we love certain sins in a man because we can use them to satisfy the sinfulness of our hearts over against him! If we have the true doctrine, if we are indeed defenders of the faith once delivered to the saints, will we not hate these sins we see in others and hate even to touch them or let them defile our lips? Cain did not have the truth. His doctrine was one of hatred against the living God. And of necessity he must hate the neighbor that God has brought across his path. The way of Cain is to persecute, murder, ridicule, slander, injure in body and soul. Of that there can be no question.
That is not what Jude has in mind when he exhorts us to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. The way of Cain is the way of rejecting the faith God has delivered and of living according to a doctrine that has, originated in and been concocted in the mind of man! Cain and his disciples do not listen to God. They do not derive their doctrine and spiritual knowledge from His Word. Instead, although they have a form of godliness that denies the power thereof, they approach His Word with their own preconceived notions. They dream up certain doctrines that will accommodate men in the way of pride, of sin and of earthly reward. They will not listen to God but have the audacity to tell God that He ought to listen to them.
Cain’s offering was rejected by God exactly because it was the fruit of such an evil heart and mind. God had slain a lamb and clothed Adam and Eve with the skin. God had implanted into the mind of man—His regenerated child—the truth that only through the blood of Christ can we approach Him in prayer. No, Adam did not understand it as we do today. The cross was not yet an historical fact. But Adam did understand that only in the way of the shedding of blood is there salvation and approach to the living God against whom he had sinned. He taught his children this. Into their minds by the instruction of their father and mother came the faith (doctrine) God delivered to Adam, the saint. Abel embraced that truth and sought God through the shed blood of a lamb. Cain concocted his own recipe for worship. Motivated by an idea that originated in his own mind he came with the fruits of his field. It was good food. It was that in which you and I could rejoice. It was a gift that we would not easily turn down. But it certainly was not in His fear. God you cannot give a thing. You cannot enrich Him. What you would try to give Him is His already. Abel did not try to give something to God. Abel listened to what God had said and worshipped Him after the form that God had prescribed. The way of Abel is the way of faith. The way of Abel is in His fear. The way of Cain is the way of unbelief. The way of Cain is the way of rebellion. In brazen unbelief, with no fear of God before his eyes, he went his own headstrong way! HE would decide how he would worship God. And God better like it! No wonder he was furious enough to kill his brother when he gave him a little brotherly and friendly advice. It was not an honest mistake on Cain’s part. It was not a matter of ignorance. And he was not an irreligious man. He was a man with a false religion. He was a man who would worship God as he pleased; and he was a man who could be furious when God did not accommodate Himself to his form of worship. He was a man who wanted to be accepted by God. He wanted by his sacrifice to please God: but it must all be in the way of God changing to conform to the opinion that man had concocted in his own mind.
That is why those who follow in the way of Cain are called by Jude, “filthy dreamers.” There are those dreams that we call revelatory dreams. Through them that which God has in His mind He transferred into the minds of His people. By these dreams God often handed down or delivered the faith td the saints. But, you understand, ALL other dreams are unreal. They are not fact but fiction. They do not exist except in the minds of man. They are thing; man never experienced except in his mind. That is the case with all false doctrines. They originate in the minds of men and do not come from the mind of God. Like Cain the originators of these philosophies have a form of godliness. Cain sacrificed, did he not? He did not refuse to do so. He did not discard all semblance of the fear of God’s name. Many today, had they been living then, would have considered him to be quite a nice man. And how thoughtful of the man to bring God all those nice fruits!! My what an example he could set for us and for our children!!! How are we to explain that such a charming man, such a faithful servant of God who faithfully and diligently brought regularly his sacrifice to God, in fact did so much for Him (!?), that he could fall into murder! Ah, but let us be very careful lest we take his side rather than that of the living God. Many today, who will not listen to God’s Word as disciples of Cain, want to change the God of the Scriptures and cannot believe in a God that did not love Cain. O, they say, He hated that murder of Cain but not Cain. The sin against Abel is awful in their sight. But the sin of unbelief, the sin of rebellion, the sin of a proud heart that will not listen to God does not seem so serious to them. Sin against man is awful. Sin against the living God is, well probably too bad and unfortunate, but . . . . Well, God is love, is He not?
Be sure that the faith (doctrine) you embrace has come from out of the mind of God and is not the result of some man’s dream. Contend for the faith (doctrine) once delivered to the saints. And delivered means that it was not manufactured by the saints. The refrigerator, the radio, the furniture that is delivered to your house was made elsewhere. That is exactly why it must bedelivered to your home. The faith once delivered to the saints is not by nature in the mind of man. It cannot be produced by the sinful mind of fallen man. It must be delivered unto him by God through His Holy Spirit. Out of the filthy cistern comes filthy water. Out of the cess pool of the heart and mind of God’s enemy come only dreams that are foul, devilish and God-hating.
Go not in the way of Cain. Be not a filthy dreamer yourself. But by all means likewise do not follow those who walk in the way of Cain. Test every doctrine by the Word of God. Listen very carefully to what He has to say. Never try to impose your thought upon His Word: Listen. Humble yourselves in the dust before Him in His fear. For you will find that men who walk in Cain’s way with philosophies they have invented are like waterless clouds. They will not refresh. They are like fruitless trees. They will not feed you with the bread of life. They will dash you on the rocks to destruction as foaming waves and mislead you as wandering stars upon which you cannot depend. You cannot chart your course by them and their doctrines. For today they are here, tomorrow they are elsewhere. There is peace, comfort, food and spiritual joy only in the faith once delivered by God unto the saints. The lie will deceive. And on your death bed when you need it the most, there will be no comfort of the almighty, unchangeable grace of a sovereign God to cheer you.
Walk in His fear and not in the way of Cain.