“If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at the door; and its desire is for you, and you shall rule over it”, Gen 4:7 

Many people think that to rule over sin, I mean, to have a controlling attitude upon or towards it, is what holiness is all about. But we read here that it is a direct cause of not being able or willing to do as one ought. Sin is sin, and unless it is really dead and burned down to its remembrances even, it is disputing our soul, it is disgusting and remains unholy – whatever good it is able to perform and do or to think it does, it is not acceptable. A man is able to give a flower to commit adultery. Evil is able to perform goodness to be accepted too. To be able to rule over sin is a direct sign of not being accepted by God, even if one has accepted Christ or God according to modern doctrine and not to be accepting Him as He is and as He becomes real unto them right through.

And, the words “doing good”, do not mean to be able to pay attention towards the poor as Catholics might believe along with the world, for the world has a spirit of wanting to be thought of and to think of, to be accepted and accepting and be cared for and to care for so sin may be cared for all along. Sin is the pet of man’s actions even in disguise. Doing that kind of good is not goodness at all. When the Bible talks about doing good, it just means, mainly, to be free to be able to do and able to do what is right in the sight of God and not alone by ourselves, and according to the original constitution and creation of man – even if it means to go against whatever people may regard as goodness because they love themselves extremely and move along with the course of this present world. To go against the world is to do good and that unto the world. To stop pleasing it, is goodness in itself and it is being good unto the world one is unpleasant to. It is like what any correction or correcting attitude might feel like to a child. However unpleasant, it means good for the child and no good father ever regrets it being done. And even if that child is not corrected by such dealings in the overall end, one has still done the right thing and will gain the reward as if that child entered the Kingdom of God to remain there always.

Doing good or bad is a direct consequence of a right or wrong standing with God. Being at friendship or at enmity towards God or the world will determine whether we will be able to do according to our best mind and thought of things freely and without a second thought about any of it. Doing good is nothing unless God is in it with us. When sin crouched into man, there were things and attitudes which took hold of man’s actions because his heart had been changed by his separation from God. His separation did not come into existence because he felt like separating himself from God, but rather because God was not in him anymore. If it depended on man, he would want and wish to have and keep God for always, sinful or not, since he would wish to have such a powerful friend to bless him in sin still.

Every sinner wants God to be his personal friend and at his side always. That’s why most people believe God is with them: because it was God who separated Himself from people and not people who separated themselves from their thinking about God. God being absent from people, causes in people a greater craving to be with God without having been changed and reshaped from within. Their wishful thinking blows the winds which cause their boats to sail along the sea of life, believing God is with them. Man started acting because he had no real life in him anymore, and started doing things not because those things were real or his own, but rather due to the knowledge he carried within him about those things. Doing good was no more a consequence of his heart coming from the relationship he had with God, but rather something done and forced down and sustained through knowledge and remembrance. “Not by power, not by force but through My Spirit” is the strangest thing unto mankind if mankind is to think of being or becoming good after all and if one is to think correctly about it all. Man talks and sings about God and goodness even when he is extremely sinful and selfish and still relates it to his own ways of doings things falsely, wishing it to be God blessing his ways and his own ways of doing things - but not God's. He will rather take it for granted his ways are God's because He knows God's will alone is to be done.

There are direct consequences in man’s actions because God removed Himself in stillness from man. The very first thing man did was to hide away, to be ashamed and to hide his things (even if he knew not why it should happen or why shame was selecting him to be separated from God and holiness). Even when his things were good to an extent, he still had that sinful instinct to hide even when things were good ones. Doing good in this case would mean to expose things, doing the opposite deliberately since his instincts are to hide because of sins. There is great virtue in doing the opposite of what sin tells or constrains us to do. Every sinner who learns to do the opposite of whatever sin makes him feel like doing, is a blessed man and does what Christ said to be to deny himself. To be able to live for and with God afterwards, man has first to learn to do the opposite of whatever sin constrains him do or at least feel like doing.

The very first reaction in sinful Adam, just after he had sinned, was to hide himself and to hide something from himself and to think it is hidden from God that way. The very first action (and not reaction, since it must be deliberate in the beginning at least) must be to expose without having a good thought towards any of it at all, if one is to come to Christ ever. Because man is evil and has that knowledge of gone goodness in him, he still feels the urge to pass on as good before all and especially before himself and therefore pretends to hide rather than to be exposed. And man may do good to hide himself behind it. Because he knows there is a sure blame since he is sinful and loves to sin, he retreats himself by not coming to a real Christ Who, alone, exposes all there is. Man might come easily to a Christ who accepts his hiding, a Christ of his own mind and imaginations - but not the real One. Christ is the light of the world, let’s remember – and He is for real. Man instinctly assumes Christ will deny him and blame him if He is real. And Christ will not accept man’s sin in him by that kind of blackmail and instigation to be accepted. Christ will remove man from sin and sin from man, however. He is the Lamb of God who saves from sin, who is able to take the sin of the world away by shining upon the whole of it. But, let’s remember what Christ said about it all: “And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices truth comes to the Light so that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God”, John 3:19-21.

Man should learn from the start, just after he has come to Christ, how to get to it to be able to do the opposite and not merely to stop doing evil. To confess and to be exposed is not always the same thing and it should be. Man, quite often, confesses one thing to be thought of as repenting of all things, and especially of those things he is not repenting of and pretends to be hidden about. To confess one thing does not mean to be fully exposed before God and His kind of Light. To stop lying is not talking the truth or being truthful as yet; to stop stealing in not giving as yet and that’s why we read “Let him who stole steal no more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, so that he may have something to give to him who needs”, Eph.4:28; to stop cursing is not to be a blessing as yet; and to bless is not a real issue unless God does it too, as man is a sure blessing. Doing good is not acting. “If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at the door; and its desire is for you, and you shall rule over it”, Gen 4:7. And if you come to do well, may God be in all you do as you do still. Amen.

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José Mateus