The Mark of Cain in the Judgment Hour
"He who is justified by faith shall live but if anyone draws back, My soul has no delight in him. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition but are of those who believe unto the saving of the soul. Now faith consists in things hoped for, confidence in things not seen" Heb10:38-11:1.
We are called by the Gospel of Christ to rest our assurance of acceptance with God and eternal life in something we do not see. We are justified before the Law of God on the basis of a righteousness that resides in Another. This is the righteousness of faith. We have never seen the righteousness by which we are justified, because it is not here on Earth. It is in Heaven at the right hand of God in Christ. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who have not seen, yet have believed." Jesus is in Heaven. He has passed beyond the veil, into the holiest of all even into Heaven itself to present Himself before God's infinite righteousness for us. Because He is accepted, we are accepted in Him. We have never seen this with our eyes, for as the Apostle Paul tells us, "eye hath not seen". We have never heard the angels in heaven sing the praises of His holiness, for Paul tells us that "neither has ear heard" (but)..."we have received...the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God" 1 Cor 2:9,12.
The righteousness that is by faith is foolishness to those who walk by sight and are perishing, but to those who walk by faith and not by sight, the message of the Cross is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. For as the scripture says, Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. So then our faith and hope are cast within the veil where our Forerunner has gone before us. We also believe God's promise and oath and thus Christ's righteousness is counted as our righteousness. We repentant sinners are righteous by faith alone before God. We rest in the rest He has chosen for us.
"Therefore since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest."...but to those who walk by sight we are told "I swore in my wrath they shall not enter my rest, although the works were finished from the foundation of the world." Heb 10:1-3.
Those who seek to be justified by a righteousness that is on the earth and which resides "in us" are under the wrath of God. They are of those who do not rest in the work that has been finished "for us" in Christ.
"Let us be diligent therefore to enter that rest."..."for we have a High Priest...who was tempted in all points as we are yet without sin."
There in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ is where our righteousness is by which we are accepted before the Law of God! It is in Christ! It is in our High Priest. He alone is without sin. He is "holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens, who does not need someone to daily offer up sacrifices... for His own sins"! because again as Paul says, "he became sin (our sin was imputed to Him) who knew no sin (He is sinless!) that we (who continually fall short) might be made (declared) the righteousness of God in Him."
And so we see there are only two religions in the world.
There is the religion of Cain and there is the religion of Abel. The one seeks acceptance with God by works of righteousness which are "in us" and the other seeks acceptance with God by works of righteousness that are "in Christ" Those who follow after the religion of Cain "have no rest day or night." Rev 14:11. The torment of conscience will not allow them to rest. They look within their heart and see their incompleteness. No matter how hard they try to cease from sin to find peace with God, the more they see that it is not enough! Their conscience cannot rest!
On the other hand, those who follow after the religion of Abel find rest for their conscience because Christ has been trusted in as their "peace" for
"now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace...And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and to those who were near." Eph 2:13,14,17.
Those who are of the religion of Abel have peace, they rest. Their consciences do not torment them day and night. For
"how much more shall the blood of Christ...cleanse your conscience from dead works. He is the mediator of the new covenant by means of (His) death for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance." Heb 9:14-15.
Those who are of the faith of Abel rest in their assurance that their title to their eternal rest is in the blood of Christ.
Finally we must consider that both religions have their own distinctive mark and seal which separate them into two camps. The camp of works and the camp of faith.
Just as Cain came before God with an offering that was unacceptable because it was an offering of the fruit of his own labors (a thank offering like the thank offering of the Pharisee who was thankful that he was not a sinner like other men) so Cain today has a mark that is of his own making and an "illegal" or "outside of the covenant" mark. He has, like the foolish Uzzah reached out and dared to touch the Ark of the Covenant. He has tampered with the Law of God and removed the sign of the rest God's people have in Christ Jesus and replaced the seventh day Sabbath of the fourth commandment with a man-made sabbath on the first day of the week.
By this abomination "Cain" has defiled the temple of God and sought to destroy the basis of our acceptance with God, the perfect Law-keeping of our Lord Jesus Christ.
By destroying the Law, Cain seeks to rob Christ of the honor that is due Him for having died to fulfill the righteousness of the Law for us. And so Cain has set up his counterfeit law and forces all to obey his law which is the sign and mark of man and his own pitifully inadequate righteousness.
By obeying the false sabbath all the world joins forces in the worship of the Usurper. For in seeking to change God's Law, he is taking to himself the prerogative which only God has "To have the knowledge of good and evil". God alone can define sin and righteousness. And He has declared that "Sin is transgression of the Law". "By the Law is the knowledge of sin".
Cain is the man of Lawlessness. By removing the Sabbath from God's Law, Cain seeks to destroy the sign and seal of the rest which we have in Christ. The Sabbath is the visible sign of our joyful blessed rest in the finished work of Christ upon the cross. When our Lord bowed His head and declared "It is finished", he then rested in the grave having reconciled us who repent and believe to the Law of God through the offering of Himself. The Sabbath is the sign and the seal of the righteousness which is of faith. The false sabbath is the sign of the righteousness which is of man and his own works. So then, there will be a great test to all the inhabitants of the earth. Who will receive the mark of the righteousness which is of man's making, the mark of Cain? Who will receive the sign and seal of the righteousness which is by faith in the finished work in Christ Jesus?
Even so come Lord Jesus. We rest in your finished work. Amen.