Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Brief Note About Abel

Let's take a look at the beginning, back in the garden of Eden.  In Genesis 4:3, we read:  In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door.   Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it."

I always thought that Abel's offering was more pleasing to God because it was a blood sacrifice.  We know through the rest of the old Testament (beginning with Genesis 22), and Christ's coming in the New (Romans 3:25), that a blood sacrifice is necessary for Atonement*.   The text in Genesis doesn't say that a blood sacrifice was required, so what is the problem with Cain's?  We don't see any follow-up explanation until the book of Hebrews.

If you have done much studying at all, you know Hebrews 11 is referred to as the "Great Hall of Faith."  In it is listed many men of faith in the Bible.  This is how verse 4 reads regarding Abel.  "By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead."  So, we see here that it is not because Abel offered God a blood sacrifice, but that he possessed faith.  We see a couple of verses later, in Hebrews 11:6a, that "without faith it is impossible to please God."

And where does faith come from?  Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.  Rom. 10:17.  So faith is something that God gives through the hearing of the word of Christ.  It is not something we are able to conjure up within ourselves.
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.
 * the doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind, esp. as accomplished through the life, suffering, and death of Christ.

1 comment:

  1. It has always amazed me that a man could kill his own brother. That "without faith" may explain that. I so enjoy your writings.