Summary: By faith Abel chose obedience and was accepted by God.
Series: Heroes of the Faith
ABEL: FAITH TO FOLLOW GOD’S WAY
I. ABEL’S FAITH PRODUCED A HEART PLEASING TO GOD
(Genesis 4:4c) “...And the Lord had respect unto Abel...”
Abel’s actions flowed from a Heart of Humility
Cain’s actions flowed from a Heart of Pride
(Psa 51:17) The sacrifices of God are a
broken spirit: a broken spirit and contrite
heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
II. ABEL’S FAITH PRODUCED A SACRIFICE PLEASING TO GOD
Hebrews 11:6 teaches us that without faith it is impossible to please God. Without faith we cannot please Him in our person nor in our works.
A. Abel gave based on his Faith
Cain gave based on his Works
B. Abel’s gave of His Very Best
Cain gave of His Abundance
In Gen. 4:3, Cain’’s sacrifice is described as "some of the fruit". But in v. 4, it says that "Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn." In Hebrew conjunction, "fat" is not talking about the physical fat, but it refers to the quality - the fattest portion, the best portion, etc. It involves deep committed effort. It also is the firstborn - "firstborn" refers to the source and ownership of the object - firstborn refers to the attitude of saying that all comes from God and all belongs to God..
C. Abel gave with the Desire of Forgiveness
Cain gave for the Desire of Fortune
(Heb 9:22) And almost all things are by the
law purged with blood; and without the
shedding of blood is no remission.
(Jude 11) Woe unto them! For they have gone
in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after
the error of Balaam for reward, and
perished in the gainsaying of Korah.
D. Abel gave in accordance to God’s Way (Obedience)
Cain gave in accordance to the World’s Way
(Prov 14:12) There is a way which seemeth
right unto a man, but the end thereof are
the ways of death.
(Matthew Henry’s Commentary)
There was a difference in the principle upon which they went. Abel offered with an eye to God’s will as his rule, and God’s glory as his end, and in dependence upon the promise of a Redeemer; but Cain did what he did only for company’s sake, or to save his credit, not in faith, and so it turned into sin to him. Abel was a penitent believer, like the publican that went away justified: Cain was unhumbled; his confidence was within himself; he was like the Pharisee who glorified himself, but was not so much as justified before God.
E. True Faith results in a Heart that desires what
(Heb 12:24) And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel
(1 John 3:12) Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
III. ABEL’S FAITH PRODUCED A RIGHTEOUSNESS PLEASING
“...by which he obtained witness that he was righteous...”
(Rom 1:17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
A. True Faith leads one to Positional righteousness:
(how we stand before God)
we are not really righteous perfectly yet, but God sees us united with Christ. Even though we do not live a righteous life, he sees us as righteous. The reason is because when God sees us, He sees Christ. He reckons us through Christ. We are under the wings of Christ, under the shadow of the Almighty. When God sees us, we have that position. We are righteous in this way.
B. True Faith leads one to Moral righteousness: (how we live).
More and more like Christ. This is the outworking of true positional righteousness. In one sense we are hypocrites, because we are in the process of being changed. But we are not hypocrites going backward, but forwards to be more and more like Christ. Unless we see him face to face we are never completely righteous. It is being worked out. Slowly we are being more righteous. Without righteousness our deeds are filthy and stained with sin. But faith unstains our Being, and the core of our Being is elevated to be worshippers.
IV. ABEL’S FAITH PRODUCED A TESTIMONY PLEASING TO GOD
“...and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
(James Moffatt) “Death is never the last word in the life of a righteous man. When a man leaves this world, be he righteous or unrighteous, he leave something in the world. He may leave something that will grow, and spread like cancer or a poison. or he may leave something like the fragrance of perfume or a blossom of beauty that permeates the atmosphere with blessing.”