“Guilty!” The gavel slammed, echoing through the hollow corridors of the court chamber. The case — and the defendant’s fate — was closed. Man stood guilty before God, the Righteous Judge. His well-ordered defense crumbled beneath the weight of evidence presented against him.

Under such a verdict, people respond in one of two ways: the way of Cain, or the way of Abel. Those who embrace the way of Cain deny God’s verdict concerning themselves. They continue striving to establish their own righteousness. Like Cain, they insist upon coming to God on their own terms. Such people are blinded to the reality of God’s holiness.

Those who choose the way of Abel understand the just demands of God’s holiness. They accept His “guilty” verdict and seek justification through Christ’s blood. These are the only terms God established for vindication from the penalty of sin. The way of Abel leads a person to acknowledge his utter inability to meet God’s standard. He desires the imputed righteousness of Christ.

Which path do you follow? Our reaction to chastening and reproof proves what manner of people we are. Suppose your parents punish you for irresponsibility, your pastor confronts you about your attitude, or your spouse chides your overindulgence. Will you harden your will against the truth, or will you submit in humility? Despite his best attempts, Cain was not able. Avoid his error, and embrace the truth today.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.