Devotionals by Stuart, Jill & Pete Briscoe

“You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it.” - Genesis 4:7

Man would like very much to be free to make his own choices and to be exempt from the consequences of his decisions. For instance, he likes sexual freedom but dislikes sexually transmitted diseases. So he seeks ways to engineer “safe sex.” Man wants freedom without consequences.

Adam, the first man, was free to obey or disobey God, but he was not free from the consequences of his decision. God had given him a lot of freedom in the garden—Adam could eat from any tree at all except for one. And he had been told that if he disobeyed, he would surely die (2:17). Instead of listening to God and staying within the limits of his God-given freedom, Adam listened to the voice of evil, embraced sin, and went ahead in disobeying God. Perhaps he assumed that God would not do what he said he would do. Or, maybe he thought that enjoying his “freedom” would be worth whatever sanctions came. He was wrong, though, because the consequence of his decision was death—spiritual death in his relationship with God and the death of his body. But the consequences did not end there.

In the next generation Adam’s son Cain also became alienated from God. He, too, ignored God’s warning, listened to the voice of evil, and embraced sin. Then he complained, “You have banished me from my land and from your presence; you have made me a wandering fugitive” (4:14). But why was he in this state and why was he complaining? Simply because he, too, had rebelled against God’s command and had chosen the pathway of “freedom.” Cain had been informed by God, “You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it” (4:7). He chose not to “watch out” but rather to plunge ahead. Committed as he was to his freedom of choice, Cain still had difficulty accepting that his sin had consequences. His complaint shows that he wanted not only the right to sin freely, but also the right to be free from responsibility and exempt from the fallout.

Man’s freedom to choose his actions is one side of the equation, and God’s freedom to choose the consequences is the other. We may be free to choose, but we are not free from the consequences. The sin may be over in a moment, but the consequences may last a lifetime—or even forever.

For Further Study: Genesis 4:1-16 

Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

For more from Stuart Briscoe, please visit tellingthetruth.org.

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About Telling the Truth

Telling the Truth exists to make available sound biblical teaching, practically applied, with a view to producing lives that glorify God and draw people to Christ. The whole of our ministry is to encourage, console, strengthen, teach, and train.

About Stuart, Jill & Pete Briscoe

Stuart Briscoe uses wit and intellect to target your heart, capture your attention and challenge you to grow! You will find his logic compelling as he brings a fresh, practical perspective to the Scriptures. Born in England, Stuart left a career in banking to enter the ministry full time. He has written more than 50 books, received three honorary doctorates and preached in more than one hundred countries. He was senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for thirty years, and currently serves as minister-at-large.

Jill Briscoe was born in England and found Christ when she was 18 years old. She never looked back. Upon graduating from Cambridge University, she began working as a teacher by day and had a vigorous street ministry to the youths of Liverpool by night.

She met Stuart at a youth conference and they married in 1958. In the 50 years since, Jill has become a highly sought-after Bible teacher and author who travels around the world ministering to under-resourced churches and speaking at international seminars and conferences. Since 2000, she and Stuart, who was formerly senior pastor of Elmbrook Church for 30 years, have had the joy of equipping and encouraging believers across the globe in their roles as ministers-at-large for Elmbrook.

Jill has authored more than 40 books including devotionals, study guides, poetry and children's books. Her vivid, relational teaching style touches the emotions and stirs the heart. She serves as Executive Editor of Just Between Us, a magazine of encouragement for ministry wives and women in leadership, and served on the board of World Relief and Christianity Today, Inc., for over 20 years.

Jill and Stuart call suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin their home. When they are not traveling, they spend time with their three children, David, Judy and Peter, and thirteen grandchildren.

Pete Briscoe, youngest son of Stuart and Jill, was also born in England but grew up under his father's ministry in Milwaukee. While getting his Masters of Divinity degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL, Pete had a professor tell him that it was "a sin to bore people with the Bible." He has taken that to heart as he has served since 1992 as senior pastor of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX. Pete and his wife, Libby, have three children.

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