Bible and Theology
The Only Remedy for Guilt
Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Apr 24, 2022

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Adam and Eve owned up to their sin, and they regretted the break in their relationship with God. However, this was not true for their son Cain.

The story of Cain and Abel is familiar to us, as is the defiant question Cain asked God: "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9).

The way to deal with sin and guilt is through confession and repentance.


Cain's anger led him to murder his own brother. He was angry that God accepted Abel's offering while rejecting his own. Cain had brought an offering to the Lord from his harvest, and Abel had also brought an offering, the firstborn from his flock. The brothers' offerings were consistent with their occupations: Cain tilled the ground, and Abel raised sheep. Outwardly, both brothers seemed to be performing a righteous act. But Cain wanted to approach God on his own terms.

The Bible doesn't specify how either brother knew whether God accepted or rejected his offering, but it is clear that they understood the outcome: "The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast" (Genesis 4:4-5). God issued a stern warning, telling Cain that sin was lying in wait for him. But God also offered mercy, making it clear that if Cain did what was right, he would be accepted. Cain refused to heed God's warning. Instead, he enticed his younger brother into a field where he beat him to death.

Cain denied his sin. When God confronted him, Cain said he knew nothing about his brother's murder. As punishment, Cain had to leave the land of Eden and became "a restless wanderer on the earth" (Genesis 4:12).

Like Cain, many people today are running from God, but running from God will never alleviate the guilt of sin. Only one remedy exists, and that is found in facing up to our shortcomings. The way to deal with sin and guilt is through confession and repentance.

Prayer: Lord, there have been times when I have run from You. I have hidden from You because of my sin and guilt. I am tired of living apart from Your love and protection. Today, I choose to receive Your grace and live in Your love. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions" (Psalm 51:1).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon The Garden vs. the City, Part 2: LISTEN NOW