“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
We have talked before about Cain and Abel, and we have seen how Cain’s offering was rejected because it was his attempt to get right with God by his own power. We have also seen how Abel’s offering was acceptable because it was the necessary blood sacrifice to atone for sin.
But why was Abel to make such an offering? What was in him that made him more worthy than Cain? The truth is that there was nothing inherently righteous about Abel, in and of himself. Like Cain, he was a child of original sin. Like Cain, he inherited his father’s sin. So what prompted Abel to make the better offering?
We find the answer in Hebrews 11. “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.” The key to the acceptance of Abel’s offering was that it was given “by faith”. Hebrews 11 also tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews also talks about Noah receiving the righteousness that comes by faith. Abel also received the righteousness that comes by faith. For Abel, this was faith in a Messiah to come – the promised seed of the woman. That is why Abel “still speaks” to us, even though he died.
Help us, Father, to put our trust completely in You; to have the faith that we need, that saving faith, as we repent and put our trust in You.
Ref: Taylor, P.F. (2009), Cain and Abel: Worship and Sacrifice, (Toutle, WA: J6D Publications), pp. 36-39. Image: Ben Peter Scotton, commissioned by author for his use.