November 10, 2021
Thank you for praying for our prodigals and for revival. As children of God, we approach Him with assurance that He both accepts and will respond to our prayers.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
May our faith be strong as we draw near to Him today!
“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks” (Heb. 11:4).
Abel’s actions revealed the character of his heart.
We are not told all the details, but at some point when Cain and Abel were old enough to make an altar and bring their sacrifice to God, Abel the shepherd brought an animal, and Cain the ground-worker brought from the fruit of the ground.
The actual account in Genesis 4 doesn’t talk about faith or its lack in the two brothers. It simply reveals the actions of both. The lesson often highlighted from the story is that God accepted Abel because the blood of an animal was shed. The shed blood is a picture of the final sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the grounds of our redemption. Cain, on the other hand, was refused because he brought the work of his hands.
While all this may be true, the emphasis of the passage in Hebrews is not on the type of sacrifice that Abel brought, but on the condition of his heart. Abel was a man of faith.
What Abel did was not a spontaneous act done randomly that was separate from his character. No, he had come to believe in God and was now responding to God’s desire. He was acting out his faith.
This is the argument that the apostle James makes in his book, that faith without accompanying works is dead (James 2:14-18). Our behavior and our actions are the outflow of our faith.
What evidence are we giving that we are men and women of faith? Are we loving our enemies? Are we reaching out to the poor? Are we seeking the welfare of our brothers and sisters? Are we showing love to our family members? Are we contributing to our local churches?
Faith that is not visible is not faith at all!
The next important factor is that Abel’s faith gave him right standing with God. God considered him righteous based upon his faith.
He heard God’s Word. He listened to God’s Word. He obeyed God’s Word. This is faith lived out.
God saw his faith and therefore declared him righteous. While the offering proved that his faith was genuine, it was because of his faith that he was righteous.
This is also true in the life of a believer today. We are declared righteous by God when we put faith in Him for salvation (Rom. 3:24-28). The term used in the New Testament for this is “justified.” It renders the believer judicially righteous before a holy God. How amazing is this!
It is interesting how the various versions put it. The ESV says that “God accepted his gifts.” The NKJV says, “God testifying of his gifts.” The NIV says, “God spoke well of his offerings,” and the NLT, “God showed his approval of his gifts.”
God affirmed that what He saw was acceptable. This offering, or sacrifice, or gift that Abel brought to God was an act of worship. It wasn’t for the eye of man but for God alone. And God approved!
All that we bring to God in faith from a genuine heart of love is worship. May our days be filled with such gifts that He approves of.
The last thought is that Abel’s faith did not die with him. It lives on. True faith will have an impact on the generation it is witnessed by and future ones as well. Abel lived a short life but his story of faith has been told over and over to many and has been the means of many trusting in Christ.
Your faith will impact others!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel